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We have to rats, one around 6/7 months and one around 5/6 months. Both so sweet, very cuddly, just total love bugs. Until yesterday…yesterday, the older one bit me for the first time. We were playing and I was wrestling/tickling him with my hands, nothing out of the norm, but all of a sudden he bit me HARD.

Our last pair of rats were females so we did not have this issue of hormonal biting. However one of our females had been through a lot of trauma and bit if you invaded her cage space. She would bite pretty hard but it was absolutely nothing compared to this. I squeaked several times to try and show I was in pain before he let go.

So I assumed he just got too riled up because he’s never shown aggression before (besides lightly bullying his little brother). But later, it happened again. And tonight, he came after me totally unprovoked and began scratching my hand. I wasn’t even touching him, just sitting there, but he bit me again very hard and left a gash on my hand, which he did the night before as well. I grabbed him and firmly told him no, but he was still going after me. I put him away early. My hand is still in a lot of pain. He bit me very deep. I can’t be mad at him, I only emphasize how bad it was because he was holding nothing back. I’ve never had my previous rats bite me like this, or any animal for that matter.

We are reading about this and it seems like it might be a hormonal thing. He is a very, uh, manly rat. Massive balls, thick wirey coat, very musky and oily. His brother is quite the opposite, he’s small and very gentle and quiet. I just don’t know what to do, I feel like I’m failing him. I love him with my whole heart, so so so much. I want to be able to play with him, but I’m scared to even touch him right now…

Another issue: he harasses his poor brother so much. There has been a dominance struggle since the beginning, but they never hurt each other beyond some scratches and occasional bites during play or when things get too heated. The younger one just seems so stressed, he hates going back in the cage at night. I mean he really really hates it. I have to force him in there and he tries desperately to escape. I feel horrible. We have several extra cages and tomorrow we’re going to set one up and try to make it so only the younger one can go in, but I’m wondering when it’s time to separate them. I really do not want to but I feel like I have to protect the younger one even if he’s not being physically hurt, he seems very unhappy and stressed in the cage they share.

The thought of that breaks my heart. They used to cuddle and sleep with each other but they don’t recently because of the conflict. The baby just seems so stressed and while I really don’t want to separate them I feel like I have to…

Tomorrow I will be calling around to see if anyone neuters. I really don’t like the idea of that either. His balls are his manhood, he worked hard to grow them I’m sure, but most importantly I don’t want to put him in pain! Especially if it might not even help. I’m also worried it will take away his personality and spunk. I don’t want to change who he is. But at the same time, we are reading if you don’t stop the aggression early it might never stop. We live in a small town with few vets, and last time I tried to get him an appointment in January, no one was available and no one was neutering, so it might not even be an option.

So I guess I just really need advice. Please. Anything you can give me I will be so thankful for. Do you have experience with this? What helped you? Did neutering work? What can I do?

My heart is absolutely breaking. I hate this. I love my boys so much, more than anything. I’m so scared I won’t be able to fix this. I don’t know what to do.

Thank you so much if you read all of this, it means a lot. ❤ also posting this to the rat subreddit to see if anyone over there has advice. Again thank you.
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