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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So two nigts ago I was sitting on the floor with my boys when Blaise ran up to my left shoulder and with no hesitation, bit my ear. It bled a fair bit. I grabbed him and scolded him and he ran off and hid briefly. He was soon back out playing as if nothing happened. Then last night, I was laying on my belly with my hoodie pulled up. The rats have always loved exploring me while I am lying down. Anyway, I no sooned lay down when Blaise scoots in and bites my right ear causing it to bleed. Now I am pissed! I have battle wounds on both ears now. WTH is the problem with Blaise?
 

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Most of the time I like to study and understand rat behavior... but sometimes I just stop it! And biting is one of those times. Sure afterwards I'll sit down and hypothesize what went wrong or what the rat was thinking... but that's after I address the behavior...

Some years ago my part wild girl was hanging out on my shoulder, when I picked up a white mouse... she spotted the tasty mouse in my hand and darted down my arm like Cloud after a snickers bar.... Tail flying in the breeze and all wild eyed and drooling... I turned my wrist to block her attack... and she bit me in the palm! I mean deep and she twisted to tear flesh... By reflex, I tossed her... and somewhere between hitting the far wall and sliding down to the floor, she understood that biting daddy is a really bad idea... she came right back to me and apologized. She was licking my ear as I was washing out the wound with iodine.... And she never bit me again....

Was she really that mad that I blocked her from killing that mouse? Was she thinking she was striking the mouse a killing bite, but I turned my hand too late? Was it some kind of instinctive behavior to fight for her kill? Who knows... it makes an for interesting discussion now, but at the time the biting was the issue and I stopped it... Yes it was unintentional, I really would not have tossed her if I had thought about it. It was a reflex, something I do when something bites down on my hand... but she got the message and it worked a treat.

I'm not promoting or advocating rat abuse... just making the point that sometimes you just need to address the problem directly and then figure out the madness behind the methods later.

Make yourself perfectly clear that biting is NOT allowed... NEVER and NOT EVER... Once your rat understands the rules you can resume your friendship.

Best luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply. He has not munched on me since....then again, I have not let him on my shoulder either. I am hoping for the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Have had Blaise on my shoulders twice since his second bite on me. He did not even give my ear any notice at all on either occassion. Then last night, I was just laying on my tummy to play with the boys when Blaise made an attack run on my ear again. It bled a great deal. I was furious. It was safe to say that if I had gotten my hands on Blaise at the moment he attacked me, he would indeed be dead now. I tried to get him but he flew away from me like an arrow. I was in persuit tossing furniture aside in my vengeful persuit. After a few minutes I finally cornered him and it was obvious he was terrified and he **** himself profusely. I grabbed him and scolded him, then put him back in the cage. I can't recall being as mad as that in a few years. This entire fiasco with him made for bad work day with my frame of mind out of wack. Just now I put the boys back in their cage for the night. The other 3 boys are proceeding as expected. A bit more friendly every day I play with them. But I am on edge when any of them want onto my shoulder now. Not sure if one of them will decide to munch on my now VERY sore ears.
I should point out that Blaise behaves like any ordinary rat when he is not in attack range of my ears. He licks my fingers, plays around with my hands, everything about him seems normal with this one obvious problem.*sigh*
 

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We had this exact thing happen with one of our girls.

Parker is such a sweet girl, happy to sit on your lap and be petted, and we've never had a problem with her until she did this to my other half. She bit one ear then a couple of minutes later she ran up onto his other shoulder and bit his other ear. He told her off and put her back in her cage and all seemed fine. Then, about a week later she did it again whilst out for free time. And just like yours these were not gentle little nibbles, they bled profusely!

We haven't figured it out either so if you have ANY clue what caused it (or a solution!) then please share. Until then I'm going with RDs advice and letting her know that it's not on. Grrrrr!
 

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Having flung a rat attached to the palm of my hand into the far wall (by reflex action)... I can relate. She never did it again, and as much as I'm against rat abuse I found it surprising how fast rats can learn.... Somewhere between hitting the wall and sliding down to the floor she realized the full folly of her offense...

She was back on my shoulder licking my ear as I was frantically trying to stem flow of blood gushing from my hand... She actually took no offense... she realized what she did wrong and apologized. And being I knew she was part wild and had a vicious streak she always worked hard to control otherwise, I had to forgive her.

Most of all I realized that when we react honestly rats tend to understand us best. I hope your rat got the message... The more we moderate and sugar coat our reactions the harder we are for rats to understand. And like everything else it's all about communication and understanding....

Humans are not chew toys, and pet rats don't bite... never and not ever. It's about the only inflexible law our rats live by.
 

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I have an issue with my manx girl constantly biting. She doesn't do it out of aggression as far as I can tell, but it's getting on my nerves.
To me, it's always on a clothed area of me. If I were wearing a long sleeved shirt and she came up to me, she bites me. She will bite my legs if I'm wearing pants, and my socked feet. It's obviously not about the clothing, though, because she doesn't bother clothing when it's not on my body.
These aren't little nibbles, either. She's not drawing blood, but it's a pinch and it does still hurt.

This may be strange, and weird to say, but when I'm just in a tank top without any sort of bra on, she will specifically bite my nipple! That is not cool at all, and my boyfriend said that when he was sleeping once, she crawled into his boxers and bit his nether regions... doesn't feel good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Three times last night I had Blaise on my shoulder. He ignored my ear all three times. Then on the 4th time, he sat there for a few seconds and then bit me. I grabbed him and shook him and scolded him. He scampered off and hid in the cage for the rest of free range time. I am hopeful that he will come around sooner than later.
Score so far:
Blaise-- 4
Joe-- 0
 

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Blaise is going to get it.... I've never met a rat that can't learn. It becomes a pretty simple equation... "I bite Joe's ear, Joe gets mad and bad things happen to me... so I won't bite Joe again." Understanding based on communication.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Tonight Blaise looked up at my shoulder a couple of times like he was about ready to hop up. He thought the better of it and of his own choice, did not venture up. Better than getting bit I suppose, lol.
 

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This is really interesting. I had a theory that Parker was biting Colin's earlobes because it was a soft, tender spot and she understood that it would hurt, even though I still had no idea WHY she wanted to inflict pain in the first place.

Fraido's story of being bitten on the nipple, and her poor bf getting bitten in the unmentionables, seems to suggest the same thing. These rats seem to be trying to inflict maximum pain for minimum injury.

My suspicion is that it's a slight dominance issue, a bit like dogs nipping your heels, and like Rat Daddy said, should not be tolerated. If they ARE trying to communicate something then I'm sure they'll soon try a different method once they figure out this one doesn't work, lol. ;)
 

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I try and encourage all kinds of communication with rats, Misty is almost a year old and she still hand wrestles sometimes and she likes to play tug of war with toilet paper and she loves to win and bound off with the paper. Cloud likes to be picked up and carried wherever she wants to go, she points and expects to be brought to her destination without delay and Max was the queen of the snarky tail flip and stomp away... But when it comes to biting or even hard nipping I absolutely draw the line. That's when I communicate "NO WAY - NO HOW!"

Simply put, rats that bite are dangerous. You can get infected or a little kid can get hurt or even blinded. I learned this the hard way when our part wild rat tore up my neighbor's hand... he was x special forces and opted not to go to the emergency room.. he didn't like hospitals, but he also didn't have a job nor insurance and I could have seen where the ER visit could have cost me big bucks for stitches etc.... I suppose you have to make certain allowances with wild or part wild rats but not with domestic rats. But when you think about how fast you could be out a couple of thousand bucks, biting rats become business serious fast.

Even wild rats don't bite randomly, certain things tend to set them off and they can be safely handled so as to avoid setting them off. But they are a special risk that certain people are willing to take, kind of like certain people keep pet wolves or pet tigers. But most people that keep domestic rats shouldn't be afraid of their rats or risking their health or financial well being. Domestic rats can be trained never to bite. And this must be priority number one. For the most part biting rats aren't pets, they are liabilities. You can't keep them in a cage, because sooner or later they might get out, you can't safely handle them and sooner or later they are going to hurt you or someone else.

I know some folks consider extreme immersion a bit on the harsh side, but in my opinion it's a matter of saving a rat's life. If a rat can't be trained not to bite, most likely it's best to put it to sleep. It's an extreme solution to an extreme problem because the price for failure is very high, almost unthinkable. It's still all about communication, not punishment or revenge, but there really is no good alternative.

Having personally seen how quickly things can go bad, I take the issue of biting rats very seriously. I know how easily our love for our furry friends can cloud our judgment, but there is nothing more important that you can ever do for your rats or yourselves than teach your rats not to bite... Never an Not Ever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Tonight I had the boys out playing. Blaise climbed onto the couch with me and lay down next to my hand. He then turned and bit into my finger. I now have an inch long slice in my finger. Tomorrow, I am having this rat put down. I feel no love for this animal, just great mistrust. As I reflect back on my first rats, if Blaise had been one of those two that I first owned, I would never have owned rats again after the first 2.
To think of all the times in the past when my girls would rush up to my head when I was laying down. And they would remove my glasses and fuss with my hair, and try and squeeze inside my nose and mouth. It gives me shivers to imagine Blaise anywhere near my face or near any of my friends who visit.
I ran this situation over with my vet and he was surprised at this behavior. He too owns a mischief of rats and can't understand what the problem is with Blaise. He told me that there can be a mean or dangerous animal in any species and I apparantly have one. I know there are those of you who think that my decision to pts is wrong. But I can't give away a dangerous animal and there is no way I am keeping him. *sigh*
 

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I tend to agree, that a rat that can't be fixed has to be put down. I suppose that's my major defense of extreme immersion. Extreme immersion is no picnic, but if it works it saves a rat's life. And yes, some rats do have actual brain disorders or tumors that make them bite which nothing is going to fix. And dumping a troubled rat on some unsuspecting child via craig's list, even with a free cage is a cruel Christmas gift.

If you've exhausted your other reasonable options, and this rat just can't learn, then you don't have any choice.

Sorry to see it end this way... but not every rat can be fixed.
 

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I know that this is a very difficult decision to come to. A dangerous animal is not a pet or companion but a menace to you and yours. Sometimes it happens this way. I'm sorry, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The deed is done. Now I am sad :(
 

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I got my wake up call a long time ago, our first rat was part wild, but we didn't know it when we adopted her from a pet shop feeder bin as a pup where she had been dumped, likely by someone that was breeding her line on purpose... She had been handled from birth so except for certain "quirks" she was very sweet. Then my daughter, who was only 5 at the time "lost" her outdoors... 5 months later she turned up across the street in my neighbors second floor apartment. When he tried to grab her she tore his hand to pieces. When I got there, he had a white bath towel wrapped around his hand and arm and it was completely soaked blood red. She was in the wall when I got there, so I brought over a live trap, but in the mean time the fellow called over one of his 'special forces' buddies and they were about to set to take down the wall to catch her. He had a wife, three kids and two dogs living there and I could understand how he felt about going them sleeping around a dangerous animal in his walls.

So despite my better judgment, I lay down on the floor in front of the rat hole behind the baseboard and coaxed her out to me... And after quite a bit of coaxing she came out and I quick dropped her into a cage and got her home where I let her out and she napped on me for a few hours. She was actually a very sweet rat and she loved us, I never figured out why she never came home on her own... I mean she was roaming in our yard... I suppose she enjoyed her life in the wild.

But I did offer to take my neighbor to the hospital and I realized that emergency room visit was going to cost me some big money. This guy was really hurt. But he was x-special forces and he didn't like hospitals and I think he was just too proud to admit he got bested by a furry little animal. Maybe he REALLY didn't like hospitals... who knows. But that day, I realized that rats weren't just cute fur-balls. They could be extremely dangerous. It could have been one of his kids that grabbed her, and when we would play fight when she was a pup, she always jumped for my face.... She could have easily blinded a child.

Again, our part wild child was sweet and generally predictable, and mostly she was a very nice rat that loved my daughter. But she was never the less dangerous to strangers. After that day, I've always taken rats very seriously. I've written numerous times that biting rats are not pets nor should they be kept as exhibit animals in a human home. And some folks have accused me of being cruel when I write that biting rats need to be put to sleep to protect their humans and other animals if they can't be fixed. And this was never something I wrote lightly. I actually love rats and believe that most can be saved.

I know how sad you must feel, and maybe there's a certain sense of relief and the guilt that comes with feeling relieved but it was the right thing to do. You see there's a really sweet and gentle rat that's going to be fed to a snake somewhere that really needs a good home and now, when you are ready, you can provide it for him or her. It's so hard to give up on a rat that can't be a saved, but in the long run it really is better to give a mentally healthy friendly rat a chance at a good life.

Luckily most people never meet a vicious or biting pet rat and maybe they won't understand until they do, but rats can be dangerous and the responsibility of owning them needs to be taken very seriously, even when doing the right thing hurts.

I hope you feel better soon.
 

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I'm sorry to hear that you had to go this route, but I also understand why. I have scars on my hands and wrist from when our boy Roland became dominant and tore me up, the one on my wrist was particularly deep. We couldn't risk letting him near one of our kids if that had continued. We got a pair of leather gauntlets and did the extreme immersion technique and thankfully he's now absolutely fine.

I'll have to keep an eye on Parker and see what develops there. Hopefully it will work out ok.
 
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