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Hi folks, I've two boy rats (Richard and Robert) aged around six months. One of the boys, Richard, is nice as pie - very friendly and affectionate. The other, Robert, can be friendly enough, but he can also be very aggressive.

While playing out of the cage he bit me unprovoked, drawing blood. I thought this was a one off, so I decided to handle him as much as possible to get him used to me again and thought maybe it was just a reaction. However, while on holiday I left him in the care of my friend, and he bit her as well.

Also, he seems to bully Richard, his cage mate, as well. They fight a lot in the cage, and when let out he tends to push Richard around and aggressively bully him. I've also noticed bite marks on Richards tail on a number of occasions, but thought it was maybe just cause they were young and fighting, but the behaviour has persisted. He also seems to hoard all the food and try to keep it away from Richard.

It's not really a fear thing, as Robert will come out of his cage to play any time I open the door. The problem is that now I'm wary of taking him out, in case he bites again. He has bit down on my hand without drawing blood a few times too. Also, i'm concerned that Richard is having a bad time being bullied, and he has became almost clingy when let out.

I've read that the behaviour might be cause by too much testosterone, and that neutering can alleviate the behaviour. Does anyone know any more about this? Would both rats need to be neutered? It seems a shame to snip a healthy rat because the other is aggressive. I don't think extra handling will make a difference - he's been handled every day since he was very young, and I've spent a lot of time with them both.

Are there any other alternatives? I don't really want to have hm put to sleep, but he is making Richards life very difficult, as well as attacking people too.

Any advice and help anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated, I really like my pets and just want what is best for them.

Thanks,
Jonny.
 

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This is the exact problem I came to this site to find out about! I had the same experience. I have two males (Webster and Corbin) and the are around 6 months of age as well. Corbin just started biting humans unprovoked two days ago. First he bit my boyfriend (whom he doesn't know real well, so I assumed it was because of that), and right afterward started hunching over and his hair was standing up and he was clicking/grinding his teeth. I touched him and was talking to him and he was very jumpy and defensive. So I stopped touching him and he came over to me and calmed right down. Everytime he came near my boyfriend, he started getting upset (ginding teeth, hunching over) so my boyfriend moved away so he couldn't get to him. Then later (about 15 minutes or so) he came up to me and bit and drew blood on my hand and was doing the same defensive postures. After a minute or so, he calmed down and let me put him back in his cage.

The next day, I got him back out and he seemed fine, no agression at all. He is definetly the dominant one between the two, but has never drawn blood or caused injury to my other rat.

I had 6 rats a few years ago (a friend gave me one, then I got another from a pet store to keep her company, well, the pet store one was pregnant and couldn't find homes for them all, so I ended up with 6), and one was male, so instead of keep him in solitary confinement (to prevent more litters), I had him neutered so he could socialize. I never experienced any agression behaviors from him (or any of the others for that matter).

I was wondering if neutering the two would help out with this, or is he just testing the boundaries because he is reaching sexual maturity? Any help would be most appreciated!
 

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Rats have this thing they do, where they form an alpha rat, and the rats that follow. They think they are keeping order and what not. I have three rats who are fighting for dominance now. They have a tendency to bite me too. They aren't completely use to me yet, let alone anyone else. Rats have a problem adjusting to people if they aren't natuarally social. So fighting for dominance (even protection) they may bite and be agressive toward people, and inside their cages. In time it dies down between the rats once they are adjusted, but to make them less agressive outside the cage, you need to train them for so. Taking baby steps and giving rewards to train them. Neutering really isn't needed. I've had about 9 rats myself and deal with lab rats all the time, none of which were ever neutered, just in need of attention and training. Once you get past that, their personalities shine, and they are simply wonderful.
 

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Castrate him! (don't know if thats the right word for it, but you know..chop his balls) And if he stills fighting for dominance and biting humans, you really should put him to sleep. It's ok for male rats to fight with eichother, alongs they don't bite so hard they starts bleeding. And they should never, never(!) bite humans without a reason! Such as if the human is messing with the rat. If the rats only nibbles and tasting on there human, thats ok. But if they bites through the skin and you starts bleedning.. then you should try to chop his balls and if it's not getting better..Youshould put the rat to sleep
 

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Some of the replies make me twitch, so I need to add my own input.

He sounds like he is hormonally agressive; six months is the age a lot of that starts to show up and be a problem. The fluffing and hunching is an agression thing, a threat. He wants to seem bigger. One way to fix this is to neuter, and this is really the only way. The only rat who would need to be fixed is the agressive one. This should solve the problem. Eut to solve it. euthanasia is a last resort for sure, and one I would never consider for an agressive rat that had no other problems.

I have an agressive rat, who is only mildly agressive. I have not had him neutered. The behavior will not change or go away unless they are neutered, and it has not with my boy. He is usually very good though, just occasional outbursts..I didn't think it nesecary for him. Yours sounds like he could use it.

Good luck!
 

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kinsey, this thread is from 2006. :p the rat in question is long gone by now.
 

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lol, it ended up on the front page somehow, not sure how, so I replied.. o_O I'm confused.
 

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It does that sometimes.

I usually get confused because of the unfamiler SNs, and how fast it obtained replies without me noticing xD
 
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