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My rat Button is about 1 1/2 years old and for most of his life has been living with just one eye. The eye was surgically removed after an injury. One of the vets we visited claimed that if he removed the eye he would then cause brain damage to Button, but the next vet we saw explained that the eye actually sits in a cup shaped socket and in order to give Button brain damage the surgery would have to go horribly wrong. The reason that I begin with this is because I've heard that tail chasing can indicate a neurological problem! :(

It started a few months ago now. Initially he did it just once a day, maybe, and now he does it multiple times a day! I've tried all kinds of toys to entertain him and he lives with his friend Tofu, so he's never alone. Tofu is older and is far more keen on long naps and lounging about on the couch than Button is, though. Button doesn't seem to care about any of the toys I've given him and seems to keep himself busy reorganizing the cage, flipping over the igloo, pushing and pulling on their blankets, ect. But when he's not working on his interior design skills, sleeping, or eating he is chasing his tail!

It's quite an aggressive chase, he nips at the tip of his tail when he catches it, and sometimes almost flips over as he runs in circles. I've noticed he always circles towards the side without the eye. I've been so afraid of him being stressed during these tail chasing moments that I immediately take him out of the cage and play with him. He never chases his tail outside the cage.

Could anyone give me some advice please? Is Button stressed out? Is there not enough for him to do in the cage? Could it be a neurological issue such as his senses being irritated by the lack of vision on that side? Or has Button just trained ME to take him out when he circles like that? Also, he went to the vet a few months ago and apart from the vet noting he was a little fat he said otherwise Button looks fine and the surgery site healed very nicely.
 

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Sounds like he's somehow seeing his tail out of his peripheral vision in his one eye. Maybe he doesn't realize it's his own tail? Try taking him out of the cage and just holding him and petting him to calm him down. I've never had a one eyed rat before so I'm not sure if it's a common habit they form. However him biting his own tail is concerning.

I don't know if it poses as an illness, or if perhaps (I do not know your situation) he's a bit bored. Maybe try enticing him with one of those feather chasers that you can give cats? If it's not a health thing maybe he feels the need to chase?

I hope you can find out what's happening with him.
 
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