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Something new that I’m not much liking…...help!

I just experienced something with my little fellas that I really didn’t care for …at all.
However, I DO want to understand it and its meaning (if it does in fact have one), as well as find out if it is a behavior I can discourage….and if it IS, I realllllllly need some direction on HOW to discourage it!

Everyday we free-range our ratties in a safe area. I took the advice from the dapper rat on how to create a ‘free-ranging ratty run’ out of large moving boxes and it really does works well. I kept it kinda small at first, due to the fact that:
#1 – I didn’t have an larger boxes
#2 – my ratties are all still very young and little, so even a small free range area probably looked to be the size of the grand canyon to them!

Well, today I got a LOT of really large tri-fold project boards (like students use for science projects, and by the way, which work even BETTER than large moving boxes due to the size and the fold!), and I put together a HUGE play area. It took up my entire kitchen – there literally wasn’t more than 2 inches of kitchen that was not enclosed.

After I finished making sure it was rattie safe and rattie secure, I got out their free ranging toys, their fishing for peas bowl, their digging box (fabric, paper, gnawables, hidden yogis, etc) and their fruit and veggie plates (I give them some fresh stuff from the farmer’s market while they are in free-range and its so funny to watch them go after it!).

Once I was all set up, I brought ‘my boys’ to their new play area. Well, I didnt put all of them in... I only put Wombat, Boggles, and Squish in because Nicodemus is still healing from his leg fracture and the other boys get so excited in their play that they end up getting a bit rough for him yet.

Well, everything started out GREAT! The little meepers went nuts and it was SO much fun to watch! I literally laughed out loud probably 20 different times in less than the first 5 minutes. Once they realized that there was WAY more room than before, they began playing like I’ve never seen before! I never realized that a ratty hops more than runs. It was HYSTERICAL! They chased each other, jumped in the air, wrestled, hoarded peas and kiwi, played ‘hide and seek’….I was simply amazed watching their play…and thoroughly entertained!

After a while I couldn’t stand only being a voyeur any longer, so I climbed in with them and everything was wonderful…for a while. I was in ratty heaven at first, as well as at the bottom of a soft squishy ratty pile! They ran all over me, we played ‘hand tag’, hide n seek, they groomed me and gave me kisses and there was much bruxing all the way around :)

Then the nipping started. Not hard enough to break the skin, but hard enough to smart pretty **** well. It was primarily focused on my feet. (I wasn’t barefoot – I was wearing sock – but no shoes). I’m mortified to admit this, but I actually got a bit nerved out after a few minutes of the 3 of them nipping me all at once (actually it was more like those little buggers were taking turns doing it!) I couldn’t seem to get them to stop – they were too wound up and having fun. Now don’t get me wrong, I WANT them to have fun – I just would prefer NOT to get nipped/bit as part of their game. Not to sound like a whiner, but dangit, it HURTS!

OK, so has anyone else experienced this?
What does it mean?
Why are they doing it?
Is it a behavior that I can ‘un-train’?

ANY advice whatsoever would be so appreciated!

Thanks :) :)
 

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Re: Something new that I’m not much liking…...help!

Ummm...rats have a thing for socked feet just like feathers and eyelashes. I call it "Conquering the Sock Monster"...a lot of rats will nip/bite the Sock Monster. Some grow out of it. Try "eeping" when they nip, just like you would discourage a regular nip. Or you can wear slippers, barefeet, etc. Just remember if you wear shoes/slippers, you won't feel a little tail under your foot until the ratty screeches. 8O

I had a corplast Rat Corral, I should make another one because I miss climbing in with them :D
 

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Re: Something new that I’m not much liking…...help!

Squeak and eep when they nip at you to let them know 1) that's you and 2) that hurts.

They're probably just being playful. Lots of people call them 'carpet sharks'. :lol:
 

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Re: Something new that I’m not much liking…...help!

Sometimes rats can get a little over excited. They can be more rough with eachother than humans, so it's good to tell them when it hurts with a eep. They will go after sock feet for some reason, so try barefeet or shoes. Yeah, pretty much what everyone else said.
 

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Re: Something new that I’m not much liking…...help!

Some of mine will nip at bare toes as well as socked feet, no matter how much I squeak. And that's one place (along with my lips -.-) that I just can't stand even the smallest nibble. So now when I'm on the bed (our free-range area) with them, I either keep my feet covered with a pillow, sit on the edge with my feet on the floor (well, dangling near the floor... I'm kinda short :lol:) or yesterday I put on my fuzzy slippers and the rats had fun "attacking" them, pouncing and trying to wrestle with them, which was fine with me since they're thick enough so none of them could bite through. I'm not sure why they like to bite feet so much, but it's not too hard to get around that ^_^
 

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Re: Something new that I’m not much liking…...help!

i purposely dont wear socks around a few of my rats for that reason...
 

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Re: Something new that I’m not much liking…...help!

yeah i've noticed a love of socked feet from my ratties too. i'd try barefoot (which they might lick but they don't nibble) and maybe the eeping, but i've never eeped at my girls, it just seem silly. :D
 

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Re: Something new that I’m not much liking…...help!

Lol my rats have this problem with my finger nails, but from what I've read here A LOT of rats do this, I think it may be their way of playing or maybe even grooming because i've noticed my ratties bite each other every now and then throughout the grooming session as if to say "don't move i'm not done yet" lol :p
 

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Re: Something new that I’m not much liking…...help!

Poppyseed said:
Sometimes rats can get a little over excited. They can be more rough with eachother than humans, so it's good to tell them when it hurts with a eep. They will go after sock feet for some reason, so try barefeet or shoes. Yeah, pretty much what everyone else said.
I have the same Problem. They ALWAYS go after my feet.
A few times they got me, but it wasnt like a bite...it was more of a....
Your coming in the cage with us...type thing.
 

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Re: Something new that I’m not much liking…...help!

my girls only ever bite my feet when i have socks on... they really dont like those evil sock monsters much at all!
 
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