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i'm having some issues with my Iedani. she's about 14 months old and she's been biting really hard. when i first got her she was a bit nippy, which was understandable with the previous lack of handling she had had. i worked with her a lot and she got loads better though she would still grab for your hand, it no longer hurt when she did it.

keep in mind however that at the time i didn't have as many rats as i do now. at the time i adopted her and her 4 week old daughter i only had 4 other rats and within the first month of having them i lost 3 of them do to various illnesses compounded by age. i did get 2 more but my point is i had less. when it was just the five of them she was a bit nippy (like i said above) but never drew blood.

then in the fall i started university and found a boyfriend and i had less time to spend with the rats. her temperment didn't seem to really change though.

at christmas i was given a hairless rat as a present. when they all started to live together i think was when iedani's temperment changed but i'm not completely sure. she was always bossy with the other rats but never hurt them and still hasn't. she just seems a bit MORE bossy with them. climbing on their heads more, stealing food more, kicking them out places she wants to be in (which was new, normally she just wiggled her way into the pile). but then she started to bite me and other people HARD. she has on serveral occasions drawn blood. she doesn't lunge for you. she just walks over or lifts her head and clamps down. you don't expect it as she acts like a normal rat going to give you a manicure but then CHOMP.

at first i thought it was just her being cranky cause she wasn't getting out enough. so i took her out more often. even if i was doing chores i would take out the rat pouch and let her ride in that or my shoulder. this seemed to help. after a good long (an hour or more) session of shoulder riding she bit less often though she still bit. which i think made her all the more dangerous as she was now even less predictable. you weren't sure at all now if she was raising her head to get a better look or to bite you.

i was still convinced though that all she needed was more handling. i figured she was just a bit more sensitive then the others rats about out of the cage time (their temperment has not changed since i had less time to spend with them) so i wasn't TOO worried. i'll be moving in a month and summer break is coming up fast all of which means in the end i'll have more time for the rats. i figured i'd just have to be careful when handling her and not let others put their hands in there until after we got all settled in the new place.

however, i now have a new theory. l recently i started to foster another rat and spider had to leave the big cage for a time for her operation and recovery. which means i had 3 cages and two rats that still needed a friend to hang out with. so i split up the rat amoung those 3 cages. which left iedani in the big cage with less rats. when it was down to just her and 2 others she stopped biting completely! not even a slightly firm nip. instead she would LICK my hand and in whole seemed happier. so i remeasured the cage and did the rat cage calculator again thinking that maybe i had accidently overcrowded the cage though the cage is rather big and the last time i had done the calculator it said i could fit 9 easily and there was only 6. perhaps i had measured wrong or typed in the wrong numbers by mistake. it came back saying the same thing though, that it could fit 9 rats comfortably.

i thought it was odd, her change in temperment but i was actually just thankful she had stopped biting. after spider recovered and introductions were finished with violet i remodeled the cage and put everyone in together. there has been no out of the ordinary fights or serious fights amoung the rats however iedani went back to biting and drawing blood.

so my new theory is that she doesn't like to have more then a couple rats with her in the cage. when there were less rats she didn't bite. when there was more she did. and the ammount of out time as stayed constant since my first few experiments with my stir-crazy theory.

but i've never heard of another rat doing something like this. none of the others act like this and the cage is definately not overcrowded. she doesn't show aggression towards the other rats but when there's more then just a couple in with her she goes for human blood.

though i have gone through quite a lot with my rats since i started keeping them 4 years ago i recognize there are MANY people who have had more experience. has anyone else come across something like this? if you have what did you do to cure it?

i can't have her biting like this. the rats will be in the living room in where my young son and or his friends could put their fingers in the bars. until iedani, fingers in bars has never been a problem. but more then that I don't want to get bit anymore. it bloody well HURTS.

i want to do what is best for iedani but i really won't have the room for 2 cages where i'm moving (its a very small apartment). but even if i was somehow able to find a space for a second cage i REALLY don't want to split up my colony. i don't want to rehome her to another home with less rats anymore then i want to split my colony either though. i love her despite her taste for blood. but i want her to be happy too. the only solutions i can think of though is either find her a home with less rats or somehow find a place for another cage and split up the colony.

but perhaps i'm wrong. maybe there's another reason that i haven't thought of for her biting? or a way to break her of it without having change the colony structure? any suggestions, thoughts, anticdotes or ideas would be very helpful and HIGHLY appricated.
 

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I'm not a rat expert but it sounds to me like she enjoys her space, meaning that you may have no choice but to split your "colony" up. If she bites less with more space to herself then that just may be the only cure. Its just like with people, if your stuck in a confined space, no matter how large, with the same people for a long time you tend to get a bit moody. Or at least this is my understanding of rat behavior, i don't have numerous rats, i only have one. So, i have never had the experience of dealing with more then one rat at a time. Well, i hope i was at least a little bit helpful, if i wasn't then i'm sure someone on here will be. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
if its just more room that she wants, do you think a cage expansion would fix it? i'm getting another hagen chinchilla cage to attach to the two i already have. i was planning to wait until after the move to add the cage but that's about a month away. do you think it would help?
 

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I'm not sure whether the space issue is even the problem, as i said I'm not very familiar with having multiple rats. I'm just giving my opinion on your problem, but it couldn't hurt to try it. If i were you id try the cage expansion, as you said, she stopped biting when there were less rats in the cage. So its either she likes the space or enjoys having less personalities to deal with. Its very possible that she may just want some space to herself to get away from the others for a little while. Again, just my opinion. If the cage expansion doesn't work then you might want to wait to see if a more experienced rat owner can help you. Again, i wish you the best of luck, i know how much those rat teeth can hurt!
 

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I don't really have any advice, other than if the separation thing is what works, that may have to be your way to go. I sympathize with you on the biting thing, though - it really does hurt, physically and emotionally.
 

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I just got bitten really badly just now, but it was all my fault. Rarely does a rat become an aggressive biter for no reason but most people don't understand their "language". Your girl is telling me that she gets very anxious when she is with more than a few rats. That translates into biting you. I have a girl who I bought as a baby as a companion to a timid girl. Didn't work out because Moth became first pushy and then a bully to her. She got put in with a group that were much more confident and she did better, but she then decided she hated 2 of the group of 5. :?
Then she got too aggressive and all the others were very scared of her. She was removed and kept on her own with a lot of attention for 4 months. Then I intro'd her to another group, and she was fine for another 4 months until they started to pass from old age and PT...back on her own again, and she is honestly much happier. Other rats made her feel that she had to compete and be dominant all the time, and she was rather anxious. Now she is relaxed and happy on her own. She is a girl who I am surprised never bit me, but I guess I lucked out where you did not.
Your only choices I think are, separating your colony for a short time (she is 14 months and most likely will only live another year or so) or rehoming her. I think adding an addition won't change one thing in her behaviour.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
yeah, that's pretty much what i figured was going on but i was hoping i was wrong and just not seeing something. i've been looking at the new apartment and trying to figure out a place to put another cage (so far without luck) and i've talked to a friend of mine who i know would take good care of her and only has two rats of her own. hopefully i'll find out what's going on with that soon.

it just really sucks you know? i love my Iedani but i really can't find a place to put another cage in the apartment i'm moving into. but at least with the friend i've been talking to i know she will be well spoiled and never be wanting for anything and she's close by that i could go visit every now and then too. i know this is what's best for her but its still hard to do... its why every time i'm in the new place i keep scanning it for place where another cage could fit though i've done it all about half a dozen times by now.....
 

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I am also curious about my female Lucy... she is only 2 months but she has started to nibble a bit. At first it felt like she was just licking my fingers and she recently just started to barely chew at my fingernails. She also likes to nibble at my dreads from time to time and last night decided my ear lobe smelled like a snack. Is she just curious and tasting or does this sound like the beginning of a biting issue.

The sisters will fight sometimes at night too (I have heard a squeek or too as well.. but no bite marks or blood), but to me it seems more like play when I have seen it... they get along great, share food now, and cuddle up together when they're sleeping. Sorry to hijack your thread :roll:
 

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dreadhead said:
I am also curious about my female Lucy... she is only 2 months but she has started to nibble a bit. At first it felt like she was just licking my fingers and she recently just started to barely chew at my fingernails. She also likes to nibble at my dreads from time to time and last night decided my ear lobe smelled like a snack. Is she just curious and tasting or does this sound like the beginning of a biting issue.

The sisters will fight sometimes at night too (I have heard a squeek or too as well.. but no bite marks or blood), but to me it seems more like play when I have seen it... they get along great, share food now, and cuddle up together when they're sleeping. Sorry to hijack your thread :roll:
[hijack for dreadhead] Its normal for young rats to taste their world...they don't have hands, so they use their mouths. They may even get nippy and thats when you start corrective behaviour (eeping at them to tell them in rat language to stop). At this point they are discovering you in a ratty way and until the chewing becomes a nip I wouldn't worry in the least. Nails are a fav thing to chew on, feet with socks on them must be nipped (owww), watch your eyes though, they really believe eyelashes are feathers and can hurt you by mistake. They sound like a lovely pair. :D
[/end hijack]
 
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