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My rats just came back from the pet store I bought them from (as they were sick with URI's) and are doing way better now. I'm excited. However, one of my rats, Dexter, seems to be different. When I'm in the cage fixing things or when I get anywhere near him, he lunges and bites me. Hard. He even latches on and sometimes it's difficult to get him off. I read somewhere that if they do this, you should squeak like a rat and they'll get the point and stop biting you. I have been doing this but he still doesn't stop. He also seems to be a bit aggressive with his cage mates, Heisenberg and Dixon. He will try to pin them and at first I thought they were playing but now I'm not so sure. I'm confused. He's been staying in his tube a lot and not socializing. Is it because of the medicine, perhaps? Or because I was told to switch heir food? What can I do? I want him to love me. Not bite me. :confused:
 

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Personally, I don't think that squeaking when he bites will do much in this situation. It's more for when you want to communicate that they are nibbling a little too hard during play or grooming, this sounds more like he is deliberately biting you and trying to dominate his cagemates. He could be unsettled by the RI, the meds, going back to the shop etc. Or it could be hormonal aggression. Have you read the sticky on Immersion Training (at the top of the Rat Behaviour page)? I used that technique on our boy who started getting aggressive and it worked, we now have a very happy, friendly rat again.
 

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Seriously... I think the only people that advocate the squeaking thing when a rat bites are people that have never been bitten or people who are still getting bitten... (insert appropriate smiley face here)

Rats bite defensively out of fear, usually after running away and being cornered... or they bite out of aggression, by this I mean they attack you. If your rat is running away in terror and biting when cornered, you really have to be patient and work with him or her to get over their terror and not overwhelm them.

Squeaking in submission when a rat attacks you is only going to embolden a rat to do it again. When a rat attacks you, you shout, scream and bop or swat (with love in your heart) until your rat gets that you aren't a snack or a subordinate. You are the parent or pack leader (alpha) and you never let your rats bite you... ever and never!

Our rats walk all over me, literally and figuratively... I'm a soft touch and let them get away with more than any sane rat owner should... but they NEVER bite and I've taught them not to eat wires or damage the expensive stuff... They know there are rules, and they will push their limits but when I get mad I let them know it and they understand me. Misty even stopped attacking my answering machine and orchids after a couple meaningful conversations. She still digs in the ficus tree pot, but no longer throws the dirt on the ground and back fills her holes so I'm not supposed to notice... which is good enough for me...

But back to my point... rats that bite aren't pets, they're health hazards and you have to take the steps necessary to stop it immediately, before someone gets hurt.... I do cover how to deal with an aggressive rat in my immersion thread... right up to and including 'extreme immersion', which should ONLY be used on an aggressively biting rat when normal immersion doesn't work.

Best luck.
 

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How old is he out of interest? Does he act like this only in the cage or out as well? Does he fluff up, sidle or look like he's anry prior to biting, or does he just run up and do it with no warnings?

I'm not a big fan of squeaking at rats either, I know full well my grasp of ratty vocalisations will probably sounds like some garbled form of Chinese to them, if they even recognise it as a squeak. A firm tone of voice saying No accompanied by picking them up quickly and firmly works a lot better to tell them that I'm boss and that's not acceptable.
 
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