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Hi everyone! So, I've had my two boys since last September. They were fully grown or near fully grown when I adopted them.

Recently, my biggest male, Gilligan, has begun biting me. This was very sudden. The only time that he has bitten me before was a few months ago, when I was tickling his back. He drew blood and I still have a prominent scar. I have not played with him like this since then, as I am worried that he saw it as aggression :(

However, this has suddenly become frequent. Yesterday, as I was breaking up a fight, he bit me again, very badly. He clung to me and ripped an inch-and-a-half long slit into my wrist!! I bled a lot, and it was very scary. The biting has continued today, and this time it is for trivial things, such as me pulling him away from a dish of popcorn seeds. He always goes for the same place, my wrist. I'm almost afraid to touch him now...

My question is, why is this happening, and how can I stop it? I am sure that he has not just hit rat puberty, where I have heard that they become more aggressive. I am also reluctant to get him neutered for several reasons, mostly $.

All responses are appreciated! :-[
 

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I'll be following this thread as the part about hitting puberty may show more signs of aggression. :( Makes me a bit nervous.
 

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From what I've read from other posts, you have to show him that kind of behavior is NOT okay. Perhaps wear thick long sleeves that will cover your wrist, and if he lunges for you, bop him on the nose and very firmly say "NO!". My babies don't really bite (they nibble) but when they do get too toothy, I give them a bop on their nose with my finger and if they're being really naughty (mostly with each other) I'll power groom them. The clap of doom might help with breaking up fights too. I do it with my kids when they get too aggressive with each other. Sometimes though, an aggressive male rat just really does need to be neutered, as it looks like they might be overwhelmed with the hormones.
 

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Use a squirt bottle? I've heard this works well with fights and probably would for the biting. Of course, use a verbal command, like NO. As for protection, try sweatbands. Those should be thick and flexible.
Also try not to be afraid. I don't have rat experience, but have dealt with bitey snakes of various sizes. IMO/IME rats are muuuuuch more intelligent than snakes and I've been pretty surprised how much just confidence and good protection can work with frequent handling to tame down a biter. And remember in rat eyes you should be the alpha. Show confidence and keep him around you as much as possible.
 

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I have read that if you retract your hand quickly when they bite (which is natural and instinctive!), the message they will receive is "biting = getting my way". I like Elliot's idea of a sweatband.

Bopping gently with a loud "NO!" should also get the point across.
 

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Forget a sweat band. For a while, you need to wear long heavy duty work gloves that cover your wrists.
 

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Forget a sweat band. For a while, you need to wear long heavy duty work gloves that cover your wrists. I had a rat that bit--I still have a scar and nerve damage. His aggression too only increased with time, despite about two months of work with him in various different ways.

When we took him to the vet, he bit my husband so hard through the leather gloves that he left a bruise. it turned out that he had a brain tumor. Likely that was what was causing the aggression. I'm certainly unable to diagnose your own little guy, but a trip to the vet might not be out of the question. I know it is expensive. I'm just saying it might not be anything you are doing.

Confidence was great, but our little nipper took it as a challenge to his status. I would toss him into the immersion zone, and power groom him, till he would settle and not do it for maybe a day, but it never lasted long.

Whatever the cause of the aggression, it might not be solved with simple alpha behavior on your part. And that's not your fault.

Gloves. Thick, heavy gloves, and a vet visit.
 

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Forget a sweat band. For a while, you need to wear long heavy duty work gloves that cover your wrists. I had a rat that bit--I still have a scar and nerve damage. His aggression too only increased with time, despite about two months of work with him in various different ways.

When we took him to the vet, he bit my husband so hard through the leather gloves that he left a bruise. it turned out that he had a brain tumor. Likely that was what was causing the aggression. I'm certainly unable to diagnose your own little guy, but a trip to the vet might not be out of the question. I know it is expensive. I'm just saying it might not be anything you are doing.

Confidence was great, but our little nipper took it as a challenge to his status. I would toss him into the immersion zone, and power groom him, till he would settle and not do it for maybe a day, but it never lasted long.

Whatever the cause of the aggression, it might not be solved with simple alpha behavior on your part. And that's not your fault.

Gloves. Thick, heavy gloves, and a vet visit.
 

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GAH! It double submitted for some dumb reason. Sorry bout that.
 
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