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Discussion Starter #1
So, I have a bit of a question. Lately, my Link, who I got in January and is...about 5 months now, has been SUPER jumpy. He's been a cautious rattie since I got him, but this is kind of getting worse so I thought I'd ask about it.

Earlier today, he bit me for the first time. It wasn't aggressiveness, but more like a "leave me alone" bite. Before that, he'd never bitten before. I might have been too grabby with him, and I take the blame for that. I was trying to get him out of my closet because he's not allowed in there. I reached in (he was buried under some clothes) and tried to scoop him up but he squeaked at me and bit me. It didn't really hurt. I just kept my hand there while he held on to show him I wasn't going anywhere and I wasn't going to hurt him. He didn't bite hard enough to draw blood and he licked me after; to say sorry I presume. He let me pick him up after, but I kind of felt guilty about it (kind of backwards considering he's the one that bit me). I just put him back in the cage for a little bit for him to calm down.

Well, a little while after, I took him back out. I held him for a little bit, but some hair was in my face so I shook it out and some of it hit the portable fan I have. He freaked out and jumped out of my arms and landed on the floor. He ran under the bed after that. I got a hold of him to look at him and he's fine. But jeez...that hair hitting the fan barely made a noise and he freaks out about it like that? I know he's the uptight one of my two, but that's a little extreme.

Anyway, I just want to know if this is something I should worry about? I understand being cautious to an extent since they are prey animals and it's only instinct, but this reaction to something so little has made me wonder. I do have dogs, one in particular has a very high prey drive. She is not allowed in my room without me though, and I always keep my door closed. However, I do have my curtains open and my window faces the backyard. Harley (the high prey driven dog) sees them from the window and barks at them from there. Could that be what's bothering Link? I only keep my curtains open to avoid them being chewed on anymore because will pull them inside the cage and shred them up like a cat has gotten a hold of it (I don't have cats). Seriously. It's nearly cut in half. I might as well just take them down, but if Harley is bothering them from the window I don't have any other choice but to close them. Also, I don't have anywhere in my room to move them to. In front of my window is the only option.

Do ya'll think it could be the dog or could it be something else?
 

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Was this a one day thing or quickly/slowly escalating over a week?

Sometimes rats just have bad days. One time my rat DJ freaked out when the dog (he'd jump on its back and ride around any other day) came into the room, turned into a rat slinky and wiggle-wormed away to bolt into the closet. That whole day he was jumpy, but he was back to normal after that.

I've also noticed that around 5 or 6 months rats go into a teenager phase, where they act more hyper and grabby. They'll jump at sounds that previously never phased them, clang around the cage all night, ignore "no", and snatch treats violently from hands. Sometimes they'll wrestle more with cage mates. Basically try and push the boundaries you set. You know, teenager stuff.

I'd say closely watch his behaviour with his cage mates and with you, it can say a lot.
For a month with DJ it got so bad I thought he had a pituitary tumor (random turn around in behaviour is a symptom) but he evened out in temperament as he got older.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hmm, I'd say it's more like some days he'll be more jumpy than the day before, but it was this one particular day he was WAY more jumpy than he'd ever been. Now that I think about it, it seems like it's been building up. He hasn't had any more incidents and carries on like usual. He hasn't seemed stressed out or anything, and continues about his rat business when he calms down.

That might be it, the teenager phase. Remy (Link's cagemate) is certainly being the rebellious one >.> I have to say "no" to him every 5 seconds for chewing something he's not supposed to be chewing on. He'll run away and come back in a circle, thinking he's being slick, and going back to doing whatever he's not supposed to be doing xD Remy is over 6 months now.

Their little dominance spats have been slowly getting more heated for the past couple of months. No blood, but there has been a few times when one of them hisses at the other. I'll just usually yell out a "Hey!" and they usually stop. It hasn't really gotten any worse than that, but I'll keep an eye out. Maybe everything will pass when they get older.

Thank you for the reply!
 

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Yeah, that sounds like hormones kickin' in! And the jumpiness doesn't seem to be any worse than any other rat I've had. If he didn't break the skin when he bit you, and licked right after, that IS an apology of sorts. I would take that to mean he just got startled.

My girls and boys both go through jumpier days.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah, I took it as an apology. I think it was my fault, really, that he did bite me. I was too grabby ;w;

I think ya'll are right with it being hormones. My babies are growing up ;w;
 

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Learn to enjoy the teenager phase, it can be really fun! Rats that never really played before will love playing and running. Just letting them zoom around is hilarious, they have so much energy that they'll run head first into the side of their boxes, bounce off, and continue like nothing happened.

Try giving them as much free range time as possible to give them a chance to get their energy out. It usually last until 7 or 8 months. During this time William (he never chewed wires before or after) chomped through my DS charger because I wasn't playing with him -cries- and he never liked to play!
 
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