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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So lately my two girls have been very nippy with my boyfriend and I. We took them out the other day and placed them on the bed like always. My boyfriend was playing his Xbox and I on my computer on the forums. My boyfriend then told me that he was just bitten on the hand by one of them. A little while later I was nipped on the ear and again a short while after.

I'm not sure where this behavior came from, because neither one of them used to nip this much. I've always known that they get nippy in their cage when they are hungry, but we fed them not too long ago before taking them out and they had finished their food. I really don't know how to stop them either. Any help is appreciated! Thanks.
 

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This is relevant to me as well. My nippy girl is a bit more inconsistent. She nips my wife but not me. In fact, she'll sometimes sit on my shoulder and groom my ear, for which I'm really glad she didn't nip.

My wife hasn't done anything different. She'll sit on the couch with our girls, and sometimes Penumbra will spontaneously nip her on the hip or the thigh. Last night it was the back of her neck. None of it has broken the skin, so we know she's not seriously trying to hurt my wife. My wife startles easily, so she's screamed or shrieked when it happened. I may suggest to her a bop on the nose. She's always been so shocked by it that I don't think she considers disciplining her at the time.

So I'll be watching this thread with interest.
 

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Chaolithe, how old are your rats? Are they just going through a teethy/nippy stage?

Kuildeous, I wonder if maybe your rat is nipping your wife just for the reaction she gives? For some reason, she may think it's a fun game to nip her and make her shriek. The best way to stop nipping in most animals that I've read about is to not give any negative reactions when bitten. Don't pull back, don't flinch, and don't make loud noises. But I can't say how this will work out, since your wife startles easily...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sabatea, my two girls are about a year and a half to two years old now. That's my guess anyway, because they were my first rats and I got them from Petsmart, not knowing that they were most likely from a rat mill. I'm mostly guessing that they were a few months old, maybe 4 months, when I got them around March 2014.
 

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Petey mouths me every time we have play time. He doesn't really bite, he just gently mouths my fingers. I tried tapping his nose and saying "No." but it just didn't seem to work. Now, when he mouths me I grab him and give him belly kisses. He must hate it, because he mouths me 3 - 5 times every play session. Sometimes he ducks his head and waits for the consequences, sometimes he tries to dodge or run from me, but since he never actually escapes, he always pays the consequences. Since rats have other mouthing behaviors like grooming, it can be difficult to determine whether biting is what they have in mind at all.
 

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I'm not really sure then... Maybe it's just a phase? I know my girls went through a quick nippy phase where they wanted to bite the callouses on my feet. They also have a thing for eyelashes. Are they really sensitive to scents? Maybe you or your boyfriend is wearing some new deodorant/perfume/different laundry detergent? My girls get a little bit finicky about new scents, especially those of another animal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Are they really sensitive to scents? Maybe you or your boyfriend is wearing some new deodorant/perfume/different laundry detergent? My girls get a little bit finicky about new scents, especially those of another animal.
I'm not sure about their sensitivity to scents. I don't think it is anything like perfume or deodorant, but it may be another animal. We got two new male babies the other day and I'm now wondering if that might be it.
 

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Kuildeous, I wonder if maybe your rat is nipping your wife just for the reaction she gives? For some reason, she may think it's a fun game to nip her and make her shriek. The best way to stop nipping in most animals that I've read about is to not give any negative reactions when bitten. Don't pull back, don't flinch, and don't make loud noises. But I can't say how this will work out, since your wife startles easily...
That's an interesting speculation about my Penumbra just getting a reaction from my wife. You raise a good point that my wife might not be able to not react. I'll suggest not reacting at all, but if she can't help it, then negative bop on the nose may need to be the answer.

But I'm wondering if it really is a nip. She likes to headbutt when she's exploring. I had her under a blanket on the couch, and I often put my hand down there to skritch while she explores. She butts her head against my hand, and I noticed a couple of times that her mouth was open. So maybe it's more of her pushing her teeth forward into skin rather than actively biting. Of course, I can't say what my wife is experiencing. I've only heard about it, but I can see where such a behavior can feel like a bite.
 
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