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Discussion Starter #1
this is my first rat and i've had her for about 3 days. she's still very young and about 4 inches long and she won't stop biting me. earlier today i put my hand down in her cage with my palm up and she walked toward me like she was gonna sniff my finger and just bit it and drew blood. she has bit me about 3 other times but never this hard. she didn't seem to be acting aggressive and i'm also worried about her being always hunched up and how many times is it normal for a rat to sneeze? sometimes she sneezes a lot and sometimes not at all. she's still and calm most of the time but sometimes she'll run around like crazy for no reason







 

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1. Your rat sneezes could very well be the new home sneezes that many rats go through when introduced to a new enviroment... they tend to sniff a lot to take in all the new smells and sneeze because of it. If this doesn't stop within another week you should take her to the vet.

2. You are very early in your socialization of your new rat, and it would seem that she probably wasn't socialized much before you got her. One of my girls nipped me a bit the first two weeks I had her, and I can't even remember when it stopped, it just did, because she learned to trust me. She never nips now, not even when search my hand for food. You need to continue to hold her, but if you're scared you can use a pair of gardening gloves. Also bribe her with lots of treats, and do some research on trust training, etc.

3. Your rat needs a friend. She is probably hunched because she is scared and lonely. Go get her a buddy, and her confidence will most likely double.

4. Girls are hyper rats. More so than guys, and much more so when they're young. She will calm down as she gets older, and even though she may still be quite hyper in a couple months, she will be much better about bonding with you.

Ultimately, you need to giver her time, patience, and understanding love, and she will come around. :D
 

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Make sure you wash you hands before reaching in to her. She could think you're food. Wear gloves if necessary and handle her a lot.

That said, my biter still has his bad days *eyes the teeth marks in her pinky nail*, but mostly he's a sweetie, and he's getting better every day. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #4
i haven't tried to pick her up yet but she seems to trust me more now but the biting continues she bit me a few minutes ago just not as hard. i wash my hands everytime i try to play with her, so that's not the problem. she will walk up to me and then bite me. i did feed her food with my fingers the first two days to gain her trust. could that be causing her to bite me? how can i tell if a rat is being aggressive?
 

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It could just be that she's frightened and has decided to become protective of her cage, or that she associates you reaching in with food, hence the 'testing' bites.

It doesn't sound like she's savaged your hand, so I don't know how aggressive she is. I would definitely try some forced socialization with her, with lots of treats and love.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
what's forced socialization? no, she didn't savage my finger it was pretty painless and cut through me like a razor and left two small incision marks that have already healed in less than a day but it did bleed for a couple of minutes. she also makes a lot of sudden jumpy movements like when she's laying down and sometimes she's scared of me and sometimes she isn't. like a few minutes ago i called her name and she darted into her nest very quick, she doesn't usually do that.
 

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i got her to stop biting by hitting the cage and making a loud noise everytime she bit me and did this for about 30 minutes then left her alone for awhile. now she started back biting again. i don't even want to handle her anymore i've been bit so many times now even though most of them didn't pierce skin. is there something wrong with my rat and there's some kind of genetic of mental defect that's causing her to be like this? it's strange how she behaves it's not aggressive at all but she's made me scared of her from all the biting i don't let my fingers get anywhere near her mouth anymore. i can pick her up and she won't bite she comes at my fingers slow like she's sniffing and bites or she will bite my finger if it gets close to her. i would get another rat but right now the cage i have isn't big enough for two.
 

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banging on the cage is only going to scare her. it won't help the biting at all but could very easily make it worse. she could easily take it that when you come near really loud scary nosies follow which would lead her to bite more.

until recently i would have said there is always a reason for a rat to bite. that they aren't wired to bite. i have recently been proven wrong in a rat i had to rehome. she was very territorial and bit randomly when someone put their fingers or hands in the cage. however it took me over 9 months to figure out that this was exactly what it was. and over the 4 years and through 42 rats only one has been that way. many of the people here, even ones with more experience, thought Iedani's manner was very odd. from that i would think that territory issues like that to be rather rare. don't give up on your rat too soon.

get the gloves. wearing them will put your nerves on ease a bit and that in and of itself will greatly help matters. she'll be sensing your nerves and get nervous in return. once you've used the gloves a few times and find that her bites no longer hurt you'll get your confidence back. this will also absolutely rule out mistaking your hand for food. perhaps spray the glove with bitter apple or smear with tobasico sauce to deter further biting incase her biting has become habit. every time she does bite use her language to tell her it hurts. squeak really high pitched and loud. this is rat speak for "ow! that hurts, Stop!". probably the most important is DO NOT flinch or draw back your hand if its in her mouth. flinching will startle her and make her flinch resulting in a harder bite then she intended.

having said all that keep in mind that not all bites are meant to hurt. i have a rat now and have had quite a few of them in the past that will hold my hand/finger in their mouths. they seem to do this most often when they really want your attention and love. it feels werid but doesn't hurt so long as i don't flinch my hand away and startle them. they may even pull your hand further into the cage, if so let themand no harm will be done. what they're saying by this behavior really is "hey! look at me! look at me!"

then of course there are also mistake bites, where they mean to only be gentle but either because they get startled or they never learned how sensitive human skin is they bite harder then they should. this is when you squeak at them to tell them different. if your rat is a pet store rat it was probably never properly socailized and probably doesn't know that human skin is so sensitive. when using the squeaking method of training remember that it will take time. you may not notice any difference in pressure until after 5-10 sessions though i have seen them get the drift just after 1 session. but there are the more dense or forgetful ones.

then finally there are the excited bites. this normally happens more often in young babies or under socailized rats that are just learning the joys of play. like any kid sometimes they get caught up in the game and instead of mouthing you gently like they have been doing the bite a bit harder and it can sometimes hurt or even bleed a bit. if this happens squeak and stop play. this is how other rats would tell them that they're playing too rough.

but certainly you will want those gloves. whether she's just afraid of you, getting startled or doesn't understand the niceties wearing a good set of thick gloves for the time being at least will help keep you from being afraid and she in turn.

on another note what size cage do you have? and do you have any pictures of it? perhaps we can help you modify/expand it cheaply so you can get her another rat friend to be with as not being alone will greatly help the situation.
 

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i'd def try to find a way to get her a friend. rats can be kept alone, but only if you have LOTS of time to devote to her. a ratty friend can keep her company when you're not there, and the two of them can give each other confidence when it comes to playtime with the big hands from the sky.

also, like most animals, rats can tell you're nervous, and it makes them nervous too. you being too scared to touch her could be making her more twitchy and bitey. with the gloves, you can leave them in her cage for a while so that she can see that they aren't scary, and they start to smell like her. then you can stick your hand in one and just move it around. don't even try to pick her up or touch her. this sort of shows her that you're not always trying to get her, you're just *there*. when she stops being flighty about the squiggly gloves, you can poke her or pet her or whatnot, and see if it scares her, etc. anything you try sounds like it's going to take a long time with this rat, so it's really just about being consistent. i'm sorry you got a biter of a rat, but she should not be like this for the rest of her life as long as you keep at it. good luck!
 

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Don't hit her cage D: If you really decide you can't handle the challenge I think you should look into rehomeing her. Better that then a poor ratty not getting the attention she deserves. But if you think you are up to the challenge, try Twitch's techniques.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
it's a standard wire cage that's completely square one ft on all sides and she won't bite me when i have gloves on but she will when i don't. she seems to like me more now she doesn't run from me and she gets excited when i come home
 

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she thinks you are food *nods* try squeaking at her when she bites at you. How old is she? How often do you try and play with her?
 

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from the pictures that you posted wouldn't peg her past 5-6 weeks at the very utmost, and she's probably younger. this leads me ot believe that she's mistaking you for food or getting too anxious to be let out to play, she can also just be frightened. there's no where in the cage for her to hide in or nice spot to cuddle up on. some very cheap ways to remedy this is to get some safty pins and clean rags or old facecloths and pin those up for hammocks in the cage and give her an old kleenx box or pringles container to hide in. visiting pet shops, yard sales and dollar stores will give you lots mor toys for her to play and hide in. having them will help make her feel more secure and so less afraid when you reach in there for her.

as for the cage size itself, you're right, it really can't fit more then one rat. however you may be able to find a bigger cage for cheap by looking on classifieds in the paper or online. kijiji.com is an excellent place to look. i've gotten cages worth at least $100 for $40 and tons of toys for next to nothing. or, if you can afford it you can out nad buy the same cage again and zip tie it on top after cutting a hole to get through in the bottom cage. or you cna make a topper like the one jennielove made. http://ratforum.com/Forums/viewtopic/t=892.html you can see how much more space she was able to give and the hammocks she knitted.
http://ratforum.com/Forums/viewtopic/t=710.html this is when she was building it. hopefully she'll come by here and she can give you some tips on how to adjust her design to yours but i don;t think it would be that hard, just different measurements.
 

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She probably also needs some ramps and a hidely hole in that cage. It looks all open and she would feel safer with an igloo of something I would imagine.

Also newspaper isn't very good to use cause of the inks. If you think she likes the paper try getting a ream of newspaper at an art store. It has no inks that way and is fairly inexpensive. But I would recomend carefresh bedding or the wood pellet bedding personally. No cedar of pine XD

I don't think that has anything to do with her biteing, just wanted to add so she doesn't get sick from the inks.

And with that cage design, it looks like it would be easy to just buy another JUST like it and put them together. That should be large enough for two rats XD
 

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Discussion Starter #19
i made a hammock for her out of a rag she gets scared on it and has a hard time finding her way down
 

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That's all right. Trust me. It takes them a while to get used to it, especially when they're little. :)
 
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