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Discussion Starter #1
Ok so i am not new to rats but i am new to this situation. I got 3 new rat boys last Saturday(March 21st) From a specialty pet store. The rats come from one of there personal breeders(they say) but they are originally designated as feeders. they are 6-8weeks old which is the youngest i have ever had rats(Normally i adopted older feeders or un-bought store pets that were at least 8 months-1 year)

So three boys named Necco, Butterscotch and Toffee. Currently Butterscotch is sick but i have him taken care of with the vet and under control. Necco is still a bit shy but takes treats from my hand. Then Toffee. Now he shows no signs of aggression but i did notice out of all of them hes more hyper and exploring and more to instigate play fights(no rat has been harmed)

So sunday after getting them i do some little trust treating and he loved the banana mush on a spoon. Later that day i had my hand in layed down for them to sniff. Necco sniffed and went off. Butterscotch sniffed and test nibbled but nothing hard at all just normal stuff, didnt alarm me. Then Toffee is sniffing and test nibbling when he bites! Now it wasn't a deep bite but just barley enough to break the skin and make it bleed a little(about a nice little blood bubble) This has never happened to me with a rat. I've become a bit scared of him exploring my fingers.

I've had 3 of these bites so far, just enough to break the skin and bleed a bubble. Whenever i put my hand in to give treats(never through the bars not even once of course) Necco and Butterscotch sniff, test nibble, have there treat. But Toffee Always test nibbles a bit harder then the other and has made me a bit jumpy. Sometimes he will test nibble and sniff properly but then out of no where a little nip.

I have started squeaking and pulling my fingers away when he nibbling me kinda firm(or bites). And if my hand is in there and i'm paying attention to another rat he goes to my fingers too. i've put my hand in as a balled up fist and he sniffs and test nibbles but no real bite attempt.

I've checked to make sure my hands don't smell of food. Toffee is the only one who approaches me and often comes when i make clicking call sounds(like you do with cats or dogs) But these little bites have made me very jumpy, cautious, and discouraged as this has never happened. I'm hoping it;s because hes such a young boy full of energy and testosterone and is not due to anger towards me. I understand i'm still new to them but i just feel thrown for a loop as this hasn't happened to me before.

Any advice or even just similar stories and having them grown out of it would be great. And sorry this is so long i wanted to cover every detail.
 

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When I was young and first learning about interacting with animals (1950s-1960s) I was taught not to let a biting animal know that you were in any way intimidated by their biting. That is: do not pull away from the bite, do not drop an animal that has bitten you. Do not let them think that biting you will result in something they might want like scaring you or being freed. So, when he bites you, tell him "NO", perhaps even tapping on his nose to let him know you will not put up with his behavior. Rats are smart and just a few decisive "NOs" should do it. Just don't let him know you are afraid. You are boss. If he thinks he can scare you, he will keep doing it and trying to be boss. Not good for either of you.
 

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My part wild bit me once, I reacted out of sheer reflex... somewhere between where I launched her and her hitting the distant wall, sliding down it to the floor and coming back to apologize to me she had an Epiphany and never tried it again.

And yes, I had the same rat that bit me on my shoulder licking my ear as I was working to stem the blood flow from my palm...

I've never intentionally flung a rat and I'm not recommending rat abuse, but if you make it clear you aren't a chew toy they will get it pretty quickly.

If you feel your rats biting is part of an aggressive behavior pattern, check out my immersion thread for more help.
 

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+1 Rat Daddy. I think if you get a hard bite you react fast. One of mine recently bit my finger and started pulling backwards. So naturally I pulled forward and ended up sorta flinging her to the side a little bit. Bled a bit, looks more like a deepish cat scratch than a bite. But she got the memo for the most part. If one gets too rough, I'll flip them on their back and keep them down for a couple seconds. That's what works best for me.
 

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My part wild rat was charging down my arm at a white mouse I was holding in my hand, in the very last second I turned my hand and I got the kill bite intended for the mouse... Full force deep, twist and rip. I don't know if she realized she was biting me or not, most likely she was mad at me for blocking her charge and kill, so it might have been an accident or it might not have been... but she got flung...

Oddly rats understand human reactions better than we think, they get when we are mad or sad or happy, if you respond like your instincts tell you your rats will get it.... Every now and then I read where someone thinks it's better to be calm and reassuring to their rat while they are being bitten.... I can't fathom what the rat is thinking.. something like "cool chew toy seems to enjoy being bitten.... lets try one more time".

I don't think that's the message I would like to send given a choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you everyone for the advice. As a little update i've been saying the NO while tapping his nose. I've noticed he's the only one who will go to the second level of there cage and he will huddle himself in a corner all alone.(he did this since the first day) and would only go on the bottom level(where the food and water is) if i put him there. When he is nibbling my fingers and i feel it should i do the nose tap and say 'NO' then leave him alone or give him the chance to try again?

And because of Butterscotch having a URI all the boys or being given medicine which of course is badly timed since i haven't had them but a few days so i'm trying to make up for the bad with extra good. Lots of loves and treats and one on one time with each of them.
 

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The one rat bite I got. I had taken three boys I had been fostering to a rat adoption event. Just as this was happening one of the three started to become aggressive toward the other two. For the event we were keeping the aggressive one separate, but in the cage all three had been living in. One of the other two had been meeting and greeting people and was getting tired. I guess I was tired too, because I accidentally put him in his usual cage, and grabbed the aggressive one for meet and greet. Well he vented his aggression on me for a few seconds. I held on til he was finished, shook him and told him that was not acceptable. When he licked my hand apologetically, I popped him into an empty cage and cleaned up the damage. I had one bad rat bite on a finger. Calm? Well, I tried to be. Reassuring? Not so much. After that, though the three got neuters and came back home to my mixed (all spayed/neutered) mischief.
 

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I knew rats in the wild were omnivores but I didn't realize how vicious ours are until I got a feather cat toy on a wand for the rats, they pounce, find the "head" (right below the plastic that keeps the feathers together) and start a frantic gnawing attack at the "neck" kinda scary to be honest.
 

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We introduced our part wild to Fuzzy Rat and everything went well for a few weeks but Fuzzy Rat tried to exert dominance and power groomed some of the hair off out part wild rats rump, then one night she nipped our part wild rat in the thigh... The next morning we found two neatly punched holes around Fuzzy Rat's trachea.... Dispute over, they never fought again... Fuzzy Rat was anything but stupid... thankfully our part wild rat let her live...

And yes, when our part wild was a pup, she would jump at my face and lay a dozen mock bites on my nose and face and around my eyes before I could swat her off... they were only mock bites, she never broke the skin or hurt, but she could reach my face by jumping from my desk and to be honest, she could be terrifying.... When she was living outside, no cats came on our property, she was stealing food from pitbulls and she tore up my neighbor's hand so badly he had it wrapped in a bath towel soaked in blood...

She was a very sweet rat and we loved her... but when she attacked she was stone cold vicious, she bit fast, she bit hard and she didn't stop until she was sure whatever bothered her was backed down. I once grabbed her out of a stack of towels and she flung herself up off my hand into a ball of fangs, claws and flying fur, she looked like that Tasmanian devil cartoon... should have seen how fast she got dropped onto the floor.

Wild rats can be very sweet pets... they are so sharp and quick to learn and they can be so loyal but there's a reason these critters survive in the wild.... they can take on animals many times their size and win... No an adult rat isn't likely to kill a cat or a dog or a human, but it will sure mess one up to the point of not being worth messing with again.

Actually, our wild child would look so sweet people would really line up to pet her... Which was doable by the speak, sniff and pet method.... and only if I was holding her... and even then it was risky... What I loved was when people would ask "Does she bite?" and I would truthfully answer "YES, she does." and they would pet her anyway.... I even added "She's actually quite vicious" once just to see how someone would respond... and they replied... after petting her anyway... "See see she likes me!" Really, humans are way stranger than rats...


Seriously be careful. Wild rats don't often like strangers no matter how sweet they can be to you.
 

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I guess I have been lucky so far. I am on my 6th rat and have yet to be bitten. (Knock on wood)
 

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In re-reading my last post, I think I got sidetracked, as I was also thinking about another thread I was commenting on that involved wild rats biting... but yes even domestic rats can get a bit too aggressive although they aren't nearly as hazardous as their wild or part wild counterparts... Playfighting can and should be encouraged right up to the point your rats actually hurt you... then you have to put your foot down and say enough is enough. There's a big difference between aggressive play and out right aggression. One is to be encouraged, the other can't be tolerated.
 

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Lol. Rat Daddy, how did you get a half wild rat? It only ever sounds like you mention 1 so I've mentally ruled out one of your rats having a litter.But I could obviously be very off about that
 

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Honestly Fluffy (my daughter named her) is a bit of a mystery to me too. She was actually a bareback rat, so I prefer the term part wild over half wild as she was more than likely at least a second generation cross, but with rat genetics it's hard to prove either way....

We were looking for a pet for my then 5 year old daughter and when I showed my daughter the feeder rat pups... she fell in love with Fluffy right from the start... I was less than convinced, but the sales girl insisted that that pup had been brought in by a customer and had been hand raised from birth and she would make a fine pet... To be honest, it was quite a sales job... I checked out the little pup and in fact she looked like she had been handled, in fact she was really sharp looking. She wasn't square and pudgy like the other feeder rat pups, she looked very much on point with excellent proportions and sleek fur. Her eyes were bright and she was noticeably more active than most of the other rats... So I fell for the sales job, hand raised and in great health and slick looking was a pretty good deal... so I really didn't ask why this rat was in the feeder bin... or why the sales girl was so insistant that we take that rat home.

In any event after we got her home, things go weird... she could run like the wind, and when she would playfight she could jump from my desk all the way to my face and she had a spooky way of disappearing. Several weeks later my daughter took her to the neighbor's house and her friends older brother scared her off... The stray cats in the yard disappeared and my wife insisted she saw a "headless" white animal in the yard one evening... But honestly we didn't believe she was still alive... Five months later we got her back... full grown and after fending for herself all summer long. She was spotless and in perfect condition, fast strong and smart, but she remembered us and came to me when I called her... She napped on me for several hours when we got her back... she was every bit wild, but just the same every bit our sweet little pup...

On valentines day, her birthday, she died in a tragic car door accident. She was under my jacket when I closed the door... then she was gone... then she was dead... it all took less than one tenth of a second.. and just one unfortunate jump by a rat that could move like a squirrel.

I later came to find out that a local breeder was dropping off culls at that pet shop, that's where my high white came from so now I suspect that for whatever reason someone intentionally did an outcross to a wild rat, perhaps to improve the genetics of their high whites and our part wild was a cull too.

The pet shop is closed so the mystery of where the part wild rat came from is likely never to be answered... whether she was the product of an accidental crossing or a breeding program... we will never know...

Now to explain one more confusion... my neighbor grabbed Fluffy and got his hand torn up, one might wonder why anyone would grab a rat. You see he knew Fuzzy Rat... everyone knew Fuzzy Rat and he thought it was Fuzzy Rat in his living room stealing food from his pitbulls...

Here's are two photos of Fluffy and Fuzzy Rat together:

IMAG0050.jpg IMAG0052.jpg

One rat is the sweet and charming true shoulder rat Fuzzy Rat, the other is a stone cold killer... You would never confuse them, would you?
 

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Actually for fun... and without cheating and looking at the avatar photo... Fluffy is about 2-3 months older than Fuzzy Rat but Fuzzy Rat is a bred for meat rat while Fluffy still has all of the physical characteristics of a wild rat (which should be a dead give away)...

How many folks here can tell who's who? If you look closely, it's actually pretty easy.
 

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Yup, Fuzzy Rat has the blaze and was always 50% heavier than Fluffy. She's on the left in both photos. Fluffy once reached 12 oz but then dieted herself back to 10... Fuzzy Rat grew up to 21 oz, 28 with tumors. Fuzzy Rat was always a little more black while Fluffy was more of a very dark agouti although in photos they look very similar. Fuzzy Rat always had an off center black spot on her back while Fluffy's markings were absolutely perfect.

I often use the term, bred for meat rats, which may confuse some people, but if you look at a rat with a normal body shape next to a bred for meat rat you can see several subtle differences that allow one rat to grow so much heavier.

Good call raindear!
 

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Subtle? I have a potato with a tail and an incredibly svelte rat that could be a Victoria Secret Angel. XD Got them from the same exact store, couple months apart but I saw a jumbo male about a year after I got Tilly (the potato) so much bigger than any other rat in with him. Crazy how different they can be
 

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The breeder that used to drop her culls off in the local feeder bin actually bred some HUGE high white for a while... Then suspiciously they seemed to get a lot smaller... I'm thinking she was having too many megacolon issues and started outbreeding to another strain. But none of those ever really looked like meat rats... Generally meat rats are wider, and even as pups have wide shoulders and heads... I can't tell if the width of the head makes their noses look shorter, or their noses really are shorter. I'd sort of say that normal rats are more pie wedge shaped, while meat rats are more square or rectangular... But many pet shops order rats from whoever is cheapest at the time or whatever their wholesaler has in stock.

But your right a good meat rat grows amazingly fast and can really pack on the weight.
 
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