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...through the cage? My rats never EVER bite me when I hold them or when I reach in the cage. However even my sweetest rat will nip at me through the cage if I were to try and touch their paws or tail or what not. In fact it caused bit of trouble when I told my mom that they don't bite and she immediately sticks her finger in the cage to pet one and she gets bit. Now she doesn't like them and its been two months since then.

Is there a way to stop this behavior or is it something in their instinct?
 

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None of mine do it (I have 15), and none I've had in the past did. I'm terrible too and do all the things they warn you not to, feed through bars, stick my fingers in every time I walk past. shrug I even have a one who is cage defensive and will really bite, yet doesnt when I pet him through the bars.

However, I've heard a lot of folks on this board with the same issue. I wonder if they are just excited and hoping to grab whatever it is coming in without realizing what it is first.

Do they let go as soon as they realize they got a finger? Or are they drawing blood and biting really hard? I'd say if it's a quick nip and no blood probably just an oppsie on their part.

The only way I know to stop it, is don't stick your fingers in the cage. ;)
 

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Yeah, I was going to ask if you feed through the bars. Friend of mine has rats, and one of them really likes to bite when fingers are put through. His wife routinely gives them snacks through the bars.

I frequently stick my finger in the cage. I'll rub their bellies when they're hanging on the door. They usually lick me or just sniff and ignore, but they don't bite. I always open the doors when feeding them snacks.
 

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No, it's not normal. Whether you feed them through the bars or not... Rats should NEVER and NOT EVER bite....

With two very special exceptions... wild rats/part wild rats that can be a bit tweaky and may require special handling and blind rats where they may not realize it's a human finger touching them. And by the way, most wild rats and blind rats don't bite either, just to be fair.
 

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Nope. Never fed them through the bars. I've fed them through the cage door but never bars. I got them as adults and they were only semi-tame when I got them. I haven't ever gotten bit hard enough to bleed but they don't show any signs of "not biting" once they realize its me.
 

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The rats that I owned never bit in or out of the cage.

However the first time I've ever gotten bitten by a rat was by someone else's rat through the bars of the cage. I thought it was just a nip (I honestly didn't feel it too much) but my finger started bleeding. I didn't even stick my finger in the cage! It just brushed up against it and the rat bit it. The owner of the rat picked her up and power groomed her. I'm assuming that it was either that this rat was always misbehaving or that the owner fed their rats through the cage bars. Either way rats should not bite.

If one of your rats is already a bit nippy with you, maybe they amp it up with biting when it comes to other people. Make sure you aren't promoting the nipping. Try making a hurt animal noise if they nip at you or a "squeak". I'm not sure how well power grooming works, but perhaps look into what it is and if it's suitable.
 

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Some rats will "tooth test" through the bars to see if it is food. Some will do it very firmly till they realize it isn't food. But if they don't draw blood, it probably means they're just checking out the object that is sticking into their cage, in case it is food they can drag inside. : )
 

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About an hour before Fuzzy Rat crossed over the rainbow bridge she asked to be lifted to my face where she preened my lips for the last time... I suppose she noticed that there was work she had left undone... and yes, it actually hurt a little bit, but my lips didn't bleed. In fact she could chew the dead skin off my arm without scratching the live skin below... My current girls will dive for food I'm holding between my fingers and sometimes they get my fingers instead of the food... but it doesn't hurt and again I don't bleed.... Rats have incredible control of their razor sharp teeth... they can handle fragile tissue paper and play tug of war without puncturing the tissue paper... Their bite is more delicate than anything we can do with our fingers and they also have the jaw strength to easily puncture straight through to the bone. Somewhere there is very likely the least coordinated rat, or perhaps the stupidest one... but with that exception when a rat bites you, you can assume it's intentional. I don't squeak, I yell and sometimes bop and my rats know they did wrong... Misty attacked my orchids again today and I was shouting at her... naturally she was all apologetic and trying to get me to calm down, even Cloud came out to run interference and was doing her best to get my attention... Yes, my rats know when they did something wrong... I'm not sure why they aren't smart enough to run, but it's hard to stay mad at a rat that's hugging on your leg and licking on you....

If your rat bites you, make sure they know it's wrong... It's absolutely nothing to make excuses for or tolerate. Rats are agile, fast and can really hurt people or other animals... They have to know that they can't bite... never and not ever... Killing my orchids one by one is upsetting, biting me or someone else is a deal breaker. That means in the cage, around the house or through the bars... it's unthinkable for me and for them... and it's the thing that just doesn't happen...
 

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One of my girls will nip me through the bars. She's the most territorial of my rats, so I figured that was why. She will also bite if I reach into her nest while she's in it, but outside of it she is much sweeter. She's also a wild rat, and of my 3 the least comfortable with people. So take that for what it's worth.
 

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Yes, with wild rats you sometimes have to be a little forgiving... when they lose self control bad things can happen... so yes, you sort of have to make certain allowances, which isn't too bad because wild rats are actually pretty predictable... They have their own rules they live by which you sort of have to accommodate.

On the other hand our part wild rat bit me once... somewhere between hitting the far wall and sliding down to the floor she rethought the whole biting daddy thing and came right back to me to apologize, she was preening my face as I was attempting furiously to stop the bleeding. And the rat toss was just my reflex at getting rat bit in the palm of my hand, it wasn't done with forethought of malice.

But on the other hand she never bit anyone again.... so I think she got the message.
 

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^ Paula bites (she was the one I was referring to) and Gus will nip if I wake him up or reach in his nest, but never hard (I think when he realizes it's just me bothering him he calms down).

Claudia has never bit me, never shown any kind of aggression towards me at all. I grab her, pick her up, do whatever, she's so chill. But has bitten other people! I was shocked when I saw her do it, just latched onto my friends arm when he was holding her. She's attacked my mom (chased her around the room!) and bloodied her hand when she was watching them while I was away.

But you're right, once I realized she would be aggressive towards other people it is pretty predictable. And you're right about having their own rules.

And yeah, I don't really scold them. They still have their wild instincts so it doesn't seem fair to punish them for that. And to be honest I'm usually asking for it :p
 

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My part wild rat tore up my neighbor's hand and arm when he tried to grab her... She had been living outdoors for about 5 months and was stealing food from his pit bull terriers. He thought she was our other rat Fuzzy Rat... they looked surprisingly alike...

When I got to his second floor apartment, I called her out of his wall and she came right up on my hand... She also loved my daughter. But that's when I realized that wild rats don't trust or even like people... instead they bond with only certain people. Wild rats live in a pack or you might call it extended family and they fiercely defend their family from other rats... Wild rats in fact don't even like all rats... they instinctively hate rats that aren't part of their group. So why should we be surprised if they don't like strange humans?

I could however introduce my part wild rat to strangers, but only on her terms. First they had to talk, for some reason she had to hear their voice, then she had to sniff them, then she would lower her head and the stranger could pet her as long as I was holding her. She might even give them a little kiss... but after what I saw her do to my neighbor's hand and arm there was no way I would let anyone else hold her... He was special forces, just back from Iraq and he was too tough to go to the emergency room and admit he got bested by a rat.. his arm was wrapped in a red blood soaked bath towel... If he were a normal human being, I would have been out big bucks for a major emergency room visit and stitches. Wild rats aren't like domestic rats... they bite fast, often and they tear flesh. They may not be big enough to kill most large predators, but they sure know how to make anyone or anything sorry they messed with them. But they absolutely live by rules, in certain ways they are almost OCD about their rules. And ours was, hear, sniff and touch... to be honest, I would always announce myself, then let her climb on my hand, even I wasn't stupid enough to grab her...

On the other hand when I called, she was the first one to come, she never did any damage or ate wires and she moved around the house like a ghost... If she didn't come when called, we would never know she was living with us. Strangely, I think that was how she survived outside on her own for 5 months... most likely stealing food from peoples houses as well as catching and killing mice and small animals she came across. I got bit because I was holding a mouse and she attacked it, I turned my hand and blocked her attack and took the kill bite... So I don't know if that bite was meant for the mouse or me for blocking her attack... I'd like to think she was just meaning to kill the mouse, but I tend to know better, either way she never did it again.

If you keep wild rats... you have to make certain exceptions and accommodations, they can be very sweet and they are smart, but they are tiny wolves and need to be handled as their needs dictate. In the end, we really loved our wild child... she was two parts sweet and one part scary... I'm not sure I'd adopt another one, but I definitely can't say I wouldn't.
 

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Only one of mine nips me. She hasn't drawn blood and she hadn't done it in a while (i assume its because i've been playing with her more) although last night i had them on the bed and my legs were under the covers and she decided to try every one of my toes to see if they were food. I think it just depends on the rat and their personality. I know when she bites, thanks to other people commenting, she is bored and wants attention. And she is the only one out of my two who will make happy noises when shes out.
 
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