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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I have a very possessive rat when it comes to food. I got him from the petstore near the beginning of the year and he's now grown into a big boy.

In his previous cage, I leaned over his cage and he grabbed my shirt and violently twisted around with enough force that it popped his cage door open! I am afraid to give him food out of my hand so I just quickly open his cage and drop his food in. A few minutes ago I opened his cage to give him on yogurt on a spoon and he just tried to rip the spoon from my hand.

Even when I take him out, I usually wrap him up in a towel and put him in the bathtub when I play with him. I never put my hand by his face in fear that he'll bite me.

How can I stop this? I don't believe he was ever starved. Could it be because he's a lone rat? I had a rat that he would play in the bathtub only because they never got along for a long period of time, but he died recently. And I have two younger male rats that I'm still trying to introduce each other, and then hoping to introduce the two to Winston(my problem rat). But I'm also afraid if he is this violent when it comes to food, he may react violently to the other rats come time feeding time.
 

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Keep doing the spoon trick. He needs to learn not to snatch and grab.

Is he neutered? That could help aggression?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So I should just keep putting food on the spoon, and if he doesn't grab it, don't give it to him? Is that right?

And no, he's not. He's not really aggressive to anything but food.
 

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Put the food on the spoon, something like applesauce or baby food, and make him lick it inside of biting at it. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Alright. I'll try.
I'm still a little afraid that since he isn't going to be able to pull away from the spoon, he'll go after my hand instead. He's a good rattie but just needs some table manners. Haha.
 

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Just my opinion and first thoughts: I'm no expert - I simply try to see things through my pet's eyes.

I wonder if your rat has been denied the nutritional foods he needs in the past at the pet store, and constant, free access to them. Food should always be available. If he feels like he doesn't have to 'fight' to get the food he needs he may calm down.

Also (and please feel free to disagree), I think I would handle the spoon grabbing directly by feeding him all he can eat of whatever food is being offered from a plastic spoon. This way, he will learn that food isn't something that is rationed or hard to find, but free and easy to get.

I think your rat may be a little insecure. Animals sense our feelings toward them and react accordingly. Try approching a strange dog like you are scared of it and watch it take control. Next, walk up to one like you are in charge - not aggressively, just confidently- and it will listen and look up to you as a leader.


It's hard to not be scared of our pets sometimes. We know they have big, sharp teeth and we can't read their little minds.

Try to remember, though, that even a rat that has issues with food doesn't want to hurt you. Rats are smart, and he knows food comes only from your hand. He won't want to mess that up.

I have had (and have) many types of pets, most exotic, and find that if you are firm like the boss, but kind like a friend when handling an animal, they feel secure.

Pick him up like you are picking up an egg. Firmly so as not to drop him, but gentle enough to make him feel secure. Cradle his legs as soon as you can. I would feel insecure if picked up around my middle with my legs dangling below.

One last thought, all of God's creatures seem to be able to sense fear. If some big animal were to pick me up in any way other than firmly and with authority, I would try to escape for fear of being dropped or attacked.

Good luck with your baby. His insecurities could turn him into the most affectionate and close rattie yet!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Update on Winston.

Well. He sent my mother to the hospital yesterday. I got called to the office during 7th period and she told me that she was bitten by one of my rats. Apparently she saw that he had no food in his bowl(mind you, i fed him before i went to school) and figured she should feed him. So she was petting him through the bars of the cage to 'distract him while she opened the cage door' and he got a hold of her finger and made a pretty big gash.By the time she got to the hospital it already closed up so she didn't need stitches, but I think she got a shot or something.

She doesn't hold it against him, though. No one does. Though she'll probably be reluctant to hold him ever again.

The spoon trick is sorta working, but not.
Like eventually if I do it for a little while, he gets it. But when I have to do it all over again the next day, as if he doesn't remember. I'll still keep doing it though.
I think maybe he was like a runt in his litter, or was taken away from his mother too early. Thats my best guest because I have never starved him and he was around 6 weeks when I got him.
 

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Six weeks is old enough, unless he'd been away from her for a while prior.

I'm sorry your mother got hurt. :(
 
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