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So I'm determined for my ratties to trust me and I'm not 100% sure if this is progress. They love to climb over me and they find trying to de-tangle my hair quite the challenge. During our play time session Eddie started to nibble on my fingers and may have licked me too. It was hard to tell, it kinda tickled :p And then Alfie started nibbling on my lips. He was obsessed with them! They weren't biting hard, so I'm guessing it is them grooming me? I'm not sure and just wanted clarification from you experts ;)

Also Alfie comes up to me when I sit by the cage, and tries to sniff/bite me through the bars and the more he does it, the harder his bite is getting. Not sure if I should let him do this as I think he might just be playing but I'm not sure. Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance guys, you have all been great support for me and my ratties since I've posted here :)
 

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The lips and licking are grooming, ain't it cute!? As far as the finger through the bar thing....make some noise if it hurts! They don't know until you tell them. Mort was second hand and you couldn't do that with him as his old owners had fed him scraps through the bars so he was all FOOD!?
 

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What you are describing in the first paragraph sounds like grooming.

With Alfie, is he trying to pull you into the cage? I have not had a rat who bites hard as of yet, however I've had quite a few if I stick my finger into their cage they will lightly grab it with their mouth and hands and try and pull. If they seem really desperate to get my hand in there, I just open the door and put my hand in.

My rule of thumb on biting pets in general-if there is any biting going on that I am not comfortable with, regardless of how gentle it is I don't let them do it.
 

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i have 3 rats, one i just got recently and is still a young baby so she's learning from my older boys. But my one boy bites through the cage. So in general I wouldn't necessarily trust your rat doing it through the cage bars because it may get harder and harder...until he bites you very hard. I feel like it tends to be more playful than grooming when it's through the bars and my new baby does it too so I'd be careful with that. But yes, licking your hand is grooming. I even allow my rats to gently nibble my fingers for fun cuz they never bite hard. It's definitely also grooming when they lick/gently bite your lips. If you've ever watched a rat or any animal groom themself or each other they will lick as well as nibble to get clean so when u think they are biting you that is just how they groom. It is a great sign of progress and trust that they are grooming you so that's exciting. Congratulations! I was so happy when my daisy started doing that and now he never stops lol. They will do that on your eyebrows, lips, nose, eyelashes, ears, hair, neck, basically anywhere so it will probably progress from here. Just make sure that if they bite too hard while they are grooming you let him know by making a noise or saying oww and telling him to be gentle because our skin is more fragile than they are. I notice that they need to be especially careful when grooming the top of my ears cuz the cartilage is so thin. All 3 of my rats have drawn blood cuz they didn't realize how gentle they need to be and nibbled too hard. But after the first time that daisy drew blood he was always gentle after that. Rosie is taking a little longer to learn on the other hand cuz she is a little more rough...lol make sure you give them plenty of kisses and affection back so they know you appreciation it!
 

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My oldest boy, Tempy, just groomed me for the first time yesterday and we've had him for 4 months. He's always been super skittish and not a big fan of any sort of affection, but he was laying in his hammock and I was petting him and he started licking my hand. I was so excited. It really feels like a breakthrough. By stark contrast Buddy sat on my lap for like 15 minutes this morning just licking me while I petted him. At one point he started to brux really loud and I even saw him do that weird boggle thing with his eyes. My other two boys are friendly but hyper. They will groom me occasionally but most of the time they just want to sniff around or play fight with each other.
 

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This was a helpful post for me! I've had my girls for a couple weeks now, they've just started bruxing loudly and grooming in the last couple days. Immersion only took maybe a half hour for us. Glad to hear that I'm on the right track as a new rat mommy!
 
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