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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had rats for years and had a lovely pair, one of which unfortunately passed away suddenly last week. With the remaining rat only being 1 and a half I decided to get a pair with hopes of introducing them as companions (I got them from a breeder who I trust and they're also about a year and a half) biting in this rat has never been an issue before. I've done everything I can think of to get the new boys used to us before attempting intros. I've left them to settle into their new cage before trying to introduce myself to them, I started feeding them treats from my hands but one rat keeps biting me and drawing blood, I've been EEPing and stopped hand feeding in case he was just associating me with food but just now he has come out of the cage onto my lap, I didn't move my hands so as not to startle him and he has lunged and bit the back of my hand 馃様 it's really upsetting because I don't want to be fearful of him and I can't get bonding with the other boy because I keep getting bit. I've tried feeding them from a spoon, I'm not putting my hand into the cage in case it's fear or territory related, it's breaking my heart 馃様 if anyone has any suggestions please share them
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm really sorry to hear about your problem child! I've never had an experience like this, and really wish I could help you. Great Ones of the Forum, we are in need of assistance!!
I read online this evening about putting an old t-shirt in to get them used to my stank 馃槀 so I'll try that this evening. It's been rough, I've never experienced this myself in all my years of owning rats and it's so upsetting because try as I might.. Im a little fearful of him because of all the nasty bites and I'm sure he can sense this too.
 

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Oh dear, it sounds like the move to a new home has stressed this rat out greatly if it's caused him to become a biter when he wasn't one before. How long have you had him now? It may just take some time for him to adjust.
Do you have a cat or anything? Haha just wondering if there is something in your house that is causing him to be more fearful..
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh dear, it sounds like the move to a new home has stressed this rat out greatly if it's caused him to become a biter when he wasn't one before. How long have you had him now? It may just take some time for him to adjust.
Do you have a cat or anything? Haha just wondering if there is something in your house that is causing him to be more fearful..
I have only had him for 3 days now so I know its early days, it's just not something I've ever experienced before. His brother was coming out last night and allowing me to handle him so he's coming on greatly. I did notice a nasty bite on his tail that i believe was caused by Mr bitey. I have no cat or anything, my other rat is in the same room as them because as I said I have hopes of introducing them, he goes over to the side of the cage to say hello to this other rat and doesn't seem to show any signs of fear of him馃 thanks for all your replies, I really appreciate the help
 

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Oliver Bean, Phyllis, Waffle, Taco, Atlas, Cirrus, Orion
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Are these two new boys brothers or cage mates previously? Just wondering if they are also getting used to each other as well as you. There is so much adjusting for them when they come to a new home...new smells, new sounds, new people, new cage, etc. I would give him a week to settle in and make his new cage "his" home. I think the biting is out of self-defense and suspicion. Some rats just need to come to their own conclusion that they are safe and they can relax. So, continue to interact with the other one, and ignore Mr. Bitey for now. He'll finally get curious and come to you. Trust me, he just needs more time. Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Are these two new boys brothers or cage mates previously? Just wondering if they are also getting used to each other as well as you. There is so much adjusting for them when they come to a new home...new smells, new sounds, new people, new cage, etc. I would give him a week to settle in and make his new cage "his" home. I think the biting is out of self-defense and suspicion. Some rats just need to come to their own conclusion that they are safe and they can relax. So, continue to interact with the other one, and ignore Mr. Bitey for now. He'll finally get curious and come to you. Trust me, he just needs more time. Good luck!!
Thank you for your reply :) I actually took this approach last night because the other boy seems very sweet and wants to come out to me to be handled etc. While he was doing this the other boy just stayed in his bed and glared at me :( I'm hopeful that with some time to adjust he will settle. They were cage mates before and are very close. I also put an old t-shirt of mine in last night after reading somewhere that that night help and when I checked on them this morning they had brought it into their bed and were sleeping in it so hopefully these are positive signs :)
 

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That's good they are already cage mates, makes it easier for you. The 'glaring' is him sussing you out, and making it clear he is not ready for socializing yet. I found this method worked great with horses...if I had a new skittish horse, I would ignore him/her and pay lots of attention to the others, eventually curiosity got the better of them and they would come to me. Totally different if they feel they made the decision themselves lol. I think they'll be great once they settle in!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That's good they are already cage mates, makes it easier for you. The 'glaring' is him sussing you out, and making it clear he is not ready for socializing yet. I found this method worked great with horses...if I had a new skittish horse, I would ignore him/her and pay lots of attention to the others, eventually curiosity got the better of them and they would come to me. Totally different if they feel they made the decision themselves lol. I think they'll be great once they settle in!
Great advice thank you :) I hope you're right. It seemed like he wasn't afraid because he would come right out of the cage to me and then bite me but he could still just be cautious. I'm not willing to write him off as simply aggressive because I know the girl I got them from said he wasn't like this, poor guy is probably just stressed out but I would like to have no more bites because they're sore and they're making me wary of him. I'm sure in time he'll be a great little companion. Meanwhile my poor lonely boy just wants to meet them haha! But I wouldn't risk Intros at this stage because I'm not confident about it especially as Mr bitey and I are still trying to build a trust
 

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They all have their own personalities, and change can bring out the best/worst in them. Your patience will be rewarded 馃槉

And yes those bites do hurt! First time I got bitten by a rescue, it bled for hours. Took weeks to heal. It felt like he threw all his weight into that chomp, and I swear his teeth went to the bone on the back of my hand. Fettucine ended up being a very sweet boy, but he never wanted cuddles and I respected that.
 

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If all else fails, I'd just force it. Toughen out through the biting and show him it won't scare you off, then take him with you in your hoodie all the time.
Forcing an animal to do something isn't going to change their mind... You'll either make it worse or simply mask the behavior, which could revert at any time.

I'd contact your breeder about this aggressive rat and see if they will take him back, honestly. A breeder should be producing rats that don't bite. It shouldn't be your problem to deal with a rat that's drawing blood, and there's a risk that he may bite the other rats in time as well.

Keep the one who isn't biting, introduce him to your lone guy, and see how that works out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Forcing an animal to do something isn't going to change their mind... You'll either make it worse or simply mask the behavior, which could revert at any time.

I'd contact your breeder about this aggressive rat and see if they will take him back, honestly. A breeder should be producing rats that don't bite. It shouldn't be your problem to deal with a rat that's drawing blood, and there's a risk that he may bite the other rats in time as well.

Keep the one who isn't biting, introduce him to your lone guy, and see how that works out.
It would break my heart to have to do this but honestly I'm massively running out of options :( I've been spending an hour every night with them to build some routine, he's more relaxed and doesn't seem fearful of me at all but he has once again just walked towards me and bit the back of my hand. I've put him back in the cage and am spending time with the other boy. I've had them over a week now and I really want to start Intros soon. I feel so gutted
 

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Please continue to share this with us, as difficult as it is. You are awesome for hanging in there and trying to make this work! So sorry to hear it's still a problem. Edited to say, oh, not yet together, so intros have not happened. What are their names? It's always nice to know who's who in our bizarre little rat world lol.

Rats bite for a reason, and that's what you need to figure out. Why? What is the reason for biting? Is he trying to tell you that these new living arrangements are upsetting him? Or is he just being a jerk? If, in your experience with him, he is not fearful, not territorial, not suspicious, and not defensive, then you may have a rat who is just not accepting his situation and making his displeasure known in a violent manner. I do know that you can't 'punish' them by swatting, spanking or pushing them, that just makes it worse. A rat with a grudge can be a scary thing. My scars will testify to this painful lesson lol.

If it were me, I wouldn't give up just yet. I would give him several weeks, even a month. Learn the warning signs, his "MO" if you will. Be one step ahead of him. Like a kid who hits other kids, watch for the pattern that leads up to his misbehaving. It really takes dedication to do this, so if you are not in a position to do this, then please contact the breeder and see what they can do to help you and him. I may be more forgiving than most with a biting rat. I have learned so much from observation, and I have the luxury of time which not everyone does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Please continue to share this with us, as difficult as it is. You are awesome for hanging in there and trying to make this work! So sorry to hear it's still a problem. Are they all together now? Do the rats seem to be getting along in their new mischief?

Rats bite for a reason, and that's what you need to figure out. Why? What is the reason for biting? Is he trying to tell you that these new living arrangements are upsetting him? Or is he just being a jerk? If, in your experience with him, he is not fearful, not territorial, not suspicious, and not defensive, then you may have a rat who is just not accepting his situation and making his displeasure known in a violent manner. I do know that you can't 'punish' them by swatting, spanking or pushing them, that just makes it worse. A rat with a grudge can be a scary thing. My scars will testify to this painful lesson lol.

If it were me, I wouldn't give up just yet. I would give him several weeks, even a month. Learn the warning signs, his "MO" if you will. Be one step ahead of him. Like a kid who hits other kids, watch for the pattern that leads up to his misbehaving. It really takes dedication to do this, so if you are not in a position to do this, then please contact the breeder and see what they can do to help you and him. I may be more forgiving than most with a biting rat. I have learned so much from observation, and I have the luxury of time which not everyone does.
A little update, after my last update I was absolutely broken. I cried a bunch because I've never dealt with a biting rat before and I really don't want to give up on him. I haven't intro-d the boys yet so I have my previous rat on his own and the two new boys as cage mates but I had them in the same room and when out for a roam around, they were on the sofa and could smell the other boy. As a last ditch effort, I have taken him upstairs for a roam around on the bed with only me as any sort of familiarity.. He has had one nibble but no bites! Could it have been the smell of my lonely boy making him territorial and frightened? If so, will it still be possible to intro them if I just do this very gradually? The plan is to move both new boys to this upstairs bedroom while I work on my relationship with them and hopefully try to do some gradual intros in a few days.. I really hope this works
 

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Yes, yes!! I think you have it figured out! You are being cautious, but I would throw them all into the mix, cuz even when they hate each other, misery loves company. See how they settle in with each other. You can be the glue that binds them!
 

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It's always a gamble, but if it works you have saved yourself and your lonely boy a lot of time. The few times I've done this, it was amazing!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It's always a gamble, but if it works you have saved yourself and your lonely boy a lot of time. The few times I've done this, it was amazing!
I am probably being over cautious but I've never attempted Intros before and I want it to go as well as it can. I'm going to give them a few days as I want to build a relationship with this rat and am scared that the intro to my big lad will just have him revert back to biting me. Any tips on Intros are greatly appreciated too, I'll need all the help I can get! I was going to try the carrier method. So glad with tonight's progress with Mr bitey though :D and so thankful to have you all on this very painful journey with me :LOL:
 

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You are doing great! Take this at your own pace so you aren't too stressed out. Sometimes being able to smell the other male rats but not interact with them puts them on the defense. Could be what you have going on. For intros, start by swapping bedding between the cages, sharing toys, etc. There are so many methods, all are good but it's hard to tell which one is right for your situation. You could start with the more tame male with your lonely boy and see how they react in a carrier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
A little update for you all 馃槉 after a rocky few days of Intros (nothing too horrific just lots of boxing and wrestling) I finally moved them into half of the big cage and we have a little cuddle pile 馃槉 so far so good with Mr bitey, he hasn't attempted to bite me again, I think he'll be one I just have to warn visitors about because he does nibble fingers but not in the aggressive way that he did before. I've included a picture of the little mischief, here we have Geralt, Vesemir and Eskel
Wood Mesh Rectangle Line Fawn
Photograph Wood Pet supply Mesh Line
 
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