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Discussion Starter #1
A coworker's friend found an albino rat yesterday. It wandered up to him while he was on his porch. She suggested he give it to me. So I took the little guy in to find him a home... I stupidly tried to pet him while he was eating, just like I do with me own, and he gnawed into my flesh. Real bad. He didn't nip, or bite hard, he dug his teeth in and GNAWED! It bled sooo much. I feel so stupid for touching a rat I don't know while he ate. STUPID!!

Then this morning, I walked to the cage he was in and he put his paws on the bars and sniffed at me. There were no signs (that I noticed anyway...). I went to pet him because that's what it looked like he wanted... before the cage door was even open, he lunged at my (other) hand and went at it. I am pretty sure he nicked a tendon because when I flex my fingers, pain shoots alone the tendon.

I took him to the SPCA where I volunteer. I am not experienced enough to handle rehabbing a cage aggressive rat. He looks like he's about 4-6months old so I'm guessing it's hormonal, he bit somebody, and they dumped him outside. I'm hoping this will subside once they neuter him. They have him quarantined for two weeks because he broke the skin and I sought medical treatment. I got a tetanus shot and some antibiotics. I opted out of the rabies vaccine since it's so unlikely that a rat would carry rabies and he's clearly domesticated and well fed. I doubt he was outside for more than a day or two.

Puncture wounds sure bleed heavy.....

ANYWAY: The point of this post is to pick your brains and get your opinion on his behavior. I'm not experienced with cage aggression. He was the sweetest thing when I picked him up to carry him inside but once he was in there... oh god... Any thoughts on whether a neuter would make him adoptable? We usually just get rabbits and guinea pigs. It's rare that we get rats. If a neuter is likely to help, they will definitely try it.
 

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With an albino rat, you always have the possibility that he's blind or near blind... still that may or may not cause biting... He should be handled with gloves or oven mitts and personally I'd bring him into an immersion as much for diagnosis as treatment. We don't know how long he's been on his own and he just might not be into the cage thing anymore, I mean if he's been on his own and fending for himself a cage is a pretty small and scary place, whether he still likes people or not.

In immersion, I'd try and get a baseline on his behavior and try to see if some basic trust can be re-established, try to see when he attacks and when he doesn't, see if it's a matter of eyesight, aggression or fear. And once I diagnose the condition, then I'd decide what the correct treatment is.... Very likely he needs to be re-socialized and re-accustomed to human interaction, perhaps he has never had a good human relationship, and maybe he's been mistreated... If his problems are emotional or due to mistreatment, neutering won't help.

Hormonal aggression is usually diagnosed by a friendly well adjusted rat going anti-social for no good reason, it involves bullying and has an onset and a certain progression... and yes neutering can help... But as you have no history on this rat it's impossible to say what the problem is so it's impossible to come up with a proper treatment plan...

Part of immersion is an approach to establish communication and understanding and respond to what your rat is telling you... call it therapy for rats or just call it diagnostics and treatment. Usually I prefer someone with lots of rat experience to work with biting rats... they can be tricky and hazardous, but some new to rat owners have done extreme immersion and fixed some pretty screwed up rats.

Lastly, I don't think this rat is a proper rat for a new to rats owner, he should be homed with someone with lots of experience, willing to invest the time to straighten him out. Even if you fix him... dumping him on some unsuspecting family where he has to start all over again making friends and building a relationship is likely to open emotional wounds again.

He is likely adoptable to the right person, but is not likely to ever be a good candidate for adoption in general, neutering or not.

With love, tlc and patience this might become a great furry friend, or he's going to really hurt some little child that just wants a fluffy pet and has parents that don't know better.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well I took him to the SPCA where I volunteer and we are in contact with a woman who runs a rat rescue in a neighboring state. She typically takes all of the rats who aren't incredibly friendly from the get-go. She has experienced foster who work with her and they rehabilitate them for adoption if possible. I don't feel comfortable working with him on my own (and my boyfriend wasn't too thrilled that I took him in for the night!). Thank you for the awesome advice! You always have great advice and information. Just when I think I know everything about rats... something new pops up somewhere, somehow!
 
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