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Hello Rat Forum!
So I have this in tact male rat (aprox 9-12 months old) I adopted after someone surrendered him to my local PetCo. When I first met him in the cage, he was stick-thin, shy, timid, submissive even, and totally fearful of being picked up or held but allowed you to pet him. Because I recently lost my little girl in October, I couldn't resist and took him home; I wanted to give this poor little guy love. His new name is Beau. He has a wonderful 4 level rat mansion, all to himself at the moment. I do plan on eventually getting him a friend, but a very big issue came up that I have to focus on first.
Now, I've never owned an Alpha male rat before, and when I first saw him rubbing his back against the walls and noticed the grease on his fur, I thought he might have mites. Thank god he doesn't, but when I first took him out on the bed to play with me, he got very... strange. Hyper, excited, anxious and completely hormonal. When I blocked him with my hand at a certain part of the bed, he charged and bit me. I thought maybe he was just not used to being touched. It hurt more emotionally than physically. After reading stuff, now his Alpha personality is clear. And he's challenging me, which is not okay.
Inside the cage, he's still slightly shy and timid, and although he doesn't seem to like being pet (he hasn't learned that petting is a good thing) and is only really interested in me for food. He does not like being picked up, and mildly freaks out when taking him from the cage (grabs at the bars, eyes wide, tail spinning, etc) and won't try to chill on my shoulder, which is new to me. My guess he was either dropped, grabbed too hard/tight, or otherwise mishandled and neglected before.
Anyway. I tried some aspects of the immersion training with him and the day after he bit me, took him out (with a struggle), plopped him on the bed, and got my best thick gloves on. I cooed and tried to pet him, but once I started noticing him being territorial and aggressive, I put them on and tried to teach him a little about who he's messing with. Mostly pushing him back from where I didn't want him, saying 'No' in a stern voice, etc. When he started challenging me I 'fought' him, and boy did he put some good holes in my gloves. Getting him back in the cage once he's 'given up' or become exhausted in a pain because, again, he's afraid of being picked up, and in his hyper-aggressive state, freaks out even more.
Oh, and he acts aggressive over food, too. Inside OR outside the cage. If he sees me eating something and he doesn't get any, he chutters and bristles at me from within the cage. Otherwise, in the cage he's fine.

Anyway... I guess I'm just a little frustrated on what to do with him. His aggression is hard to deal with without giving him more reasons to dislike humans, and I can't address his fear with love if he doesn't want it. I've considered getting him neutered and my other question was a basic price range (in California) for that in case it comes down to that. Also, I can't get him a buddy if he's going to be his aggressive with me, let alone a newcomer. I think he's been solitary his whole life. Any help at all would be seriously appreciated, and thanks for reading!
 

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If he was solitary his whole life my guess that is more of a probablem than feeling as if he is the alpha. It's important for rats in their youth to learn ratty manners from each other. If you look there have been several studies on isolation and male rat behavior.

A rat with normal social background when introduced to new rats should behave in a dominant fashion until they can figure out everyone's roles. This means posturing aggressive grooming, ect. It is normal for this to take several hours to a day.

A rat who has not been taught when young will act in an aggressive submissive way and will bite to hurt. They are going to be wary and scared of new rats and will act out by attacking and biting. It can take weeks before they are able to interact with other rats.

These unsocialized rats after being introduced and accepting of their new rat cagemates will still have issues if introduced to yet another new rat. The introductions will usually go smoother, but most are never completely able to be rehabilitated so they behave completely like a socialized from youth rat.

Sorry so long winded there to get to my point-

I would expect that an unsocialized rat would have inappropriate behavior with a new human as well. So Beau, probably has no idea of what acceptable behavior is. You are probably right thinking he is scared. I'll bet his aggression is due to a mixture of being scared and not knowing how to communicate with you his wants. You are slowly helping him. But it will probably take a lot of patience on your part. You also will have to accept him for who he is, which may not be a model rat, however I'm sure it can be a friendly non aggressive one who may just have some unique quirkiness.

Getting him neutered may mellow him as well. He probably will still not know how to communicate properly, but it may take the edge off a bit.

Getting him friends could also help, they could help teach him how a rat is supposed to behave. I would not get him one friend though, because I think it will take time to get him safely into a cage with another rat and it would be unfair to the other rat to be alone. So I would suggest if you do get a friend..to get 2. If you get him neutered, perhaps a couple females may work out well.

Hope you and Beau work it all out.
 

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If I can get to the point where I can safely pick him up without fear of getting bitten, and being able to just chill with him on the bed with me, I'd be happy. It's kind of disheartening because my last girl adored me, and vice versa. I really hope I can get through to him! I'm deffinetly considering getting a pair of girls for if/when I neuter him and if that all works out, but that'll have to be down the line.

Sometimes I can't even tell if he's scared. He's kind of jumpy, but extremely curious. He wants to keep running around without stopping, and gets so 'pumped up' that he starts bristling and chuttering. He'll walk all over me, but doesn't seem interested in me.
 

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Sorry for double post -- but does anyone else have any advice? I called my local animal services and I can get him neutered next week for $75, and I honestly may go ahead and do that.
 
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