Rat Forum banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All!
I have two girls, ones about 9 mo and the other around 6 mo. The baby rattie plays, licks and hangs around me when I take them out but the older one is more skiddish. She is always hesitant to come out although I take the baby out first so she knows where she's going. But I also know that the older one nibbles/bites all the time. She's nipped me a few times and my roommate/friends. They have plenty of chew toys in their cage and they have a rope, latter, hammock (2 different kinds) and levels they play on. The older one also nibbles at the cage and I can hear her at night and I just saw her. I take them out daily, normally in the evening for an hour or so. Any tips/insights on why she nibble/bites all the time?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,871 Posts
When you say nibbles/bites how hard is she doing this? Does it hurt? Does it leave a mark or blood?

If not...then it is just nibbling. Rats use their mouth/teeth as a way to test and grab things. She is likely just like omg food give me & then seeing that you have just fingers and no food much to her disappointment. It can be helpful to make sure you wash your hands really well before handling the rats so u do not smell like food. Besides that u just have to try and train her not to do that. Making a squeeking sound or saying no over time will help her stop. Giving her treats when she has calmed down. I have found some rats just get a bit too excited when they think about treats and it can make them a bit nippy as they are just focused on grabbing the treat and not stopping to see if there is actually a treat there lol

If she is biting- leaving marks or blood. Then she is likely hurt or scared. If you can rule out any health issues. You will just have to slowly work with her to have her trust you. Be slow, patient. Let her come to you. Never corner or chase her.

Biting on the bars is caused by boredom. They want out. Some rats are alot smarter and need ALOT of mental stimulation and being in a boring cage sucks. Having a large cage filled with alot of entertainment can help somewhat. Switch up the cage decor often, make treat puzzles, etc... Also letting her out more often helps alot. That isn't always possible... but it can help alot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She's not drawing blood on me and I haven't seen any inside the cage since she does nibble clean the little one(I hear squeaks). When she does bite me I say ow! Or no! And sometimes I tap her head. And I move her. She'll bite me randomly. I normally sit in bed with them while watching tv and/or playing with them. She'll be running around (I'll have no treats at all in bed and clean hands) and she'll nibble me. She's bit me on my sides (hips) and my thighs. I'll try to get new toys and we which she goes for. But yea I don't see them using the hanging cute you'd but the wooden blocks are nibbled on and the ladder although I fiber it with fleece and she also tips that apart do I change it as it hryrvteallybbaf. I don't believe it's health reasons. And I noticed with their food they leave the pellet boring looking ones and eat all the corn seeds and peanuts. Thank you for your advice!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,871 Posts
Yeah she is just testing stuff out then. Exploring you, seeing what you are all about and testing. They get a good amount of info from little nips. I highly suggest not tapping her head though- even very lightly. You do not want negative experience as that will likely backfire and make her fearful of your hands leading to actual biting.

Do you wear any scented lotion or strong bodywash? Once my SIL came over and had a new really amazing smelling lavender & honey lotion on and all the rats swarmed her!

Since she is doing it randomly like that, I would try to redirect her focus. Treats or toys- newspaper strips or bits of ribbon work well. When she starts coming to you (before she nips) get her attention on the toy or treat instead. You can try to make her work for the treat- standing up or doing a spin. This will be very helpful but it will take some patience and focus on watching her on your part.

IMO you may want to switch your food. Mixes are in general not great. They are often filled with alot of junk, chemicals and bits that shouldnt really be a part of their daily diet. Seeds and nuts are quite fattening. And corn is pretty much cheap filler, very carby, & does run some risk of mold. Also you have the huge issue of rats only eating the bits they like and ignoring the rest- so they do not get a balanced diet and it is wasteful food & money wise. It can also cause fighting over the yummy bits.
I highly suggest a labblock/kibble the 3 really good brands are oxbow, mazuri or native earth. I prefer oxbow myself.

The cheapest place to get oxbow is online, get the 20lb bags. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=16965
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That makes sense. I don't do the tapping often but I'll make sure not to do that.
No, not really. But ill try switching to a more plain hand soap and see if i noticed anything different. Haha I could imagine!
What do you mean by ribbon? I have been meaning to try to train them for tricks and what not-I just haven't had time due to work and school this semester and getting them right before school started. I'll try doing that. I actually need to get more treats i'm running low and I need to get some with low calorie.
I was worried that the nipping could be due to their food since I noticed them not eating but with Oxbow, i've heard some ratties don't like it if they aren't introduced early on. Any suggestions to that?
Any tips on training them as well for tricks?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
I just switched mine over to the oxbow kibble. I transitioned them over to it a little at a time. They may prefer the fatty, carby food, but they won't starve themselves either. I save the fatty, carby foods for occasional treats.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,244 Posts
I've been rat bitten by our part wild rat once and she ripped a nice chunk out of my palm... Mostly I think she was trying to kill the mouse in my hand and I blocked her, but a rat bite is nasty and deep and it bleeds profusely.

Your rat is trying to get your attention. My daughter brings the rats out into her bedroom and then starts playing on her tablet... that's not necessarily what the rats want to do, they want to play chase games and interact with my daughter, not watch as she chooses new clothes for her blockheads in some online world. We do discourage nipping and biting, but for the most part think about what you are doing when your rat nips you... were you paying attention to her? Or were you killing zombies on your tablet when she got bored and wanted some skritches or to be chased around the room?

Rats are interactive and they do communicate with you, when they nibble the cage bars in front of you, they are asking to be let out, not sharpening their teeth. These are very smart animals and they realize that you can understand them so they "talk" to you. This is a good thing. I know it's important to rid your tablet of zombies, or to do your income taxes, or build a new virtual world or even to post a reply on rat forum, but mostly your rats don't get it... they nibble to ask to be taken out of the cage and to get your attention to play rat games.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,871 Posts
I have found that rats love oxbow. In the past they had a formula that I guess was not as tasty & some rats did not like it, but they have since changed it and all of my rats even adult rats I bring in go crazy for it. Make sure to get adult oxbow- the young formula is not as tasty and is not as good quality either.

Some rats that are more used to a richer diet may be snubby at first. Because if u only fed a child cake and then tried making them eat normal food they would be like no way lol but they won't let themselves starve.

Some tricks are easier then others. Getting them to stand up- just put the treat above their head and give it to them once they are standing on their back legs. When I was teaching my girl this trick she learned it super fast & then kept running to me and standing up waiting. It was adorable :) Spin have them follow the treat in a circle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I don't recall what I was doing exactly when she nipped me but its funny because when I do take her out, she runs and hides under the bed whereas the younger one comes to me and I play with her. So it's odd if you say she's trying to get my attention since for the most part she doesn't like to play with me. But I'll try to figure out different things to do with them when I take them out. No, I'm not doing things on my computer for the most part when I'm on the bed with them. Sure, I have the TV on but when they come to me I do play with them. Yea, when she nibbled at the cage I had put them up because I was getting ready for bed after playing with them for a while. Does the nibbling still count when they like to eat through my quilt on the bed? Or is that just them exploring?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Okay, I'll start using that as food instead and hopefully they'll like it and eat it all up! I'll maybe add a few and over time take away the older food and use the other goodies as treats, like rat-alive-at-55 said. I was trying to get them to spin but it was hard having both out trying cuz I would be doing the trick with one and the other came and tried getting the treat from me haha.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,244 Posts
Chewing through stuff like quilts is just something rats like to do... It might be exploring but mostly it's just rats being rats unless they know it gets your attention and then it might be similar to a kid bouncing a ball that drives you crazy to get your attention.

My rats don't bother me when I watch TV, they wait for the TV to get quiet and then they come to climb on me... It's not that I push them away when I watch TV, it's just that I give them more attention if I'm not doing anything else, I suppose.

Obviously I've never seen your actual dynamic, I was just guessing about what's going on based on what lots of folks do when their rats are out of the cage... even what I do, as our rats are always out of the cage. Naturally, I don't play with the rats all day and night long, I do my thing and they do theirs and several times a day we play for a little while as our paths cross in the house or they want to play or I want to play with them... but like I said, our rats are out all of the time...
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top