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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
And here I am with yet another post about Nibbles. Sorry, I'm sure everyone is sick of them. X(

I have really been struggling to understand Nibbles lately. Sometimes when I approach the cage he seems extremely confused. I'll start talking to him and hold out treats and he'll slowly stick his head into the air and cautiously sniff in a different direction; he seems like he is dimly aware of my presence but is unable to see me, not looking at me or reacting if I wave my hand near him. At one point I was worried he had lost his vision, but when he's out of the cage and active he accomplish plenty of acrobatics that would be impossible if he was blind.

Out of the cage is the next problem. When my girlfriend got a cat, Nibbles was completely terrified. He used to always freeze and shake in terror when he sensed the cat. He still sometimes reacts in terror to her presence, but other times he runs to the edge of the cage in curiosity, or even ignores her completely. For a while it was impossible to get him out of the cage at all. We haven't let her near them in weeks because she literally spends all of her time trying to watch or climb the cage if she isn't locked out of the room.

Normally when I pull Nibbles out of the cage, he won't make eye contact with me (he always tries to face directly away from me) and struggles frantically to get out of my grip (I don't grip him hard or anything). Sometimes he'll take a risky jump from my hand to get away. If I set him down on the floor, he usually freezes, cautiously creeps towards the cage, then runs inside the door, turns around, and stands on the bottom of the doorway. He'll lean as far out of the cage as he can for a while and eventually either come out and roam around, or run back to the top level. He almost never comes out of the cage on his own if I leave the door open.

When he does come out of the cage, sometimes he just climbs to the top of the cage and stays up there grooming himself for a while, then goes back inside. Other times he'll roam all over the place, even going out into the bedroom and climbing all over everything, going under desks, in drawers, up the furniture, and generally seeming to have a good time romping around. If I'm within reach he'll climb all over me and dive down my shirt.


It's been weeks and I can't find any pattern at all to his behavior. Sometimes he'll happily roam all over the place like he used to before the cat, other days he seems terrified of everything including me unless he's safe in the cage. It's honestly like he's a completely different rat. Has anyone else experienced major mood swings/behavior changes like this? I've read rats are susceptible to some of the same mental disorders as humans but don't know if that's the issue here or what. Maybe the fear just comes and goes.

He's out right now, thankfully, and jumped on my keyboard while I was writing this; Nibbles says mh8888888888888888888888888888888l,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,ff
 

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Sounds like my blind rat. The acrobats are thanks to whiskers.
 

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Nanashi7 Is right. Rat's can sense their way around even when they can't see, thanks to nose, ears, and whiskers. My rat once seemed to be terrified of me and just sat in his nesting box, not coming out and only accepting food if it was right outside the entrance. We think it might have been the sound of a vacuum running. He was rather new and had never heard the sound before, so it must have terrified him. Has there been any new sounds or smells or objects around his cage? Good Luck!
 

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Does he have red eyes? red eyed rats don't tend to see well and can be blind. Rats in general do not have great eye sight and do relay on sound, smell, and touch.
 

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Do you have other animals as well? I have cats, and if the cats get into my room before I let the rats out the cats scent is still in my room and the rats are very cautious after they are gone and hide in their cage with the door wide open.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
He doesn't have red eyes. Sometimes he'll jump up to 18 inches and land perfectly on a tiny perch; could he do that if he was blind?

Do you have other animals as well?
Er... did you only read the first paragraph?
 

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It's been weeks and I can't find any pattern at all to his behavior.
That's not unusual for a healthy, young rat at all to me. I see nothing really wrong with his behavior. Rats, especially young ones, can vary with their behaviors. Just like people: I have days where I just want to sit on the couch and do nothing; I have days when I feel anxious and every noise scares me; I have days where I am happy and want everyone to be my friend.

He is young, right? I'm guessing this based on your avatar. I really see nothing weird about this at all. My rats ignore me / don't look at me sometimes. They just feel like looking at something else. You might not be as interesting as other things in the room. Or maybe he just woke up from a nap when he's intentionally "dimly aware" of you?
 
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