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I have a lot of experience with rats but I've never encountered a problem like this before. Here it is. I brought another rat home about 3 weeks ago. She is female and she's an adult. I knew when I got her that "she wasn't very nice" (that's what the girl helping me told me) and they were adamant that she be a "feeder". But having the big heart that I have I couldn't imagine the beauty being devoured and so...I brought her home. We've tried handling her but she is very aggressive. She lunges at your hand and bites very hard. She even jumps/lunges at the side of the cage when you walk by trying to get at you. I really don't know her past or if she's been previously mistreated. Like I said before, I've never seen a rat this aggressive so if anybody has any ideas as to how I can even attempt to handle her - or even touch her- I'm very open! Thanks!
 

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I am having the same problem with a boy of mine I got him from a breeder and she says that there is no history of aggression in the past. My only advice is wear heavy gloves when you do try and handle her, squeak at her every time she tries to bite. This is a prettyy good website i found on aggression http://www.ratbehavior.org/Aggression.htm
 

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that's scary. :p rats like that may honestly never be really tamed again, especially if she's already an adult. see if you can drop nice yummy things into her cage and speak to her constantly in a low soft voice. throw towels or stuff in there that smell like you (sleep with it for a night, etc). i know that petting satanic cats with gloves can often aggravate them more and they can develop an irrational fear of the gloves themselves, which spurs them on to be even more aggresive, especially when you don THE GLOVES. not sure if this is true for rats, but i'm not sure why it couldn't be.

i dunno, ha, i'm not much help here. it might be that she's ridiculously territorial, and you might be better off trying to handle her somewhere far from her cage? i had a particularly devilish dwarf hamster that could be rather sweet out of his cage (of course by the time i figured that out i was terrified of the tiny little thing...) like that.
 

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oh she is precious! also you can try something i did with all of my boys when i first brought them home. I would set up my dining table full of toys, hidey places, and lots of towels(protect the table from pee) and i would put their cage on it and sit there with the door open reading a book and talking to them. It worked for everyone but the one i am having a problem with now.
 

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If they were adamant she become a feeder, there are probably a great deal of problems that are causing her to be as aggressive as she is.

She has probably been kept under very poor conditions with a huge amount of other rats, from which she has had to defend herself. I doubt very much that she has ever been handled for any length of time by a human being.

Genetics may also play a part. She has not been bred for her temperament, she has been bred to become snake food. You will probably run into problems with her in the future when it comes to her physical health. Buying from a pet store is already an unwise decision (one I have made myself), buying feeder rats is a worse one.

What's done is done, however, and you are stuck with her.

A breeder or someone who owns a rescue can probably help you better with this than I can, but when I first introduce myself to any rat I hold my hand next to the cage at a distance where I cannot be bitten, but I can be sniffed. You could do this every day for a certain amount of time, letting her get to know your smell. After that you could drop some treats into her cage to show her that hands bring good things, not bad things. Do not push treats in through the bars. If she gets the idea that things coming at the bars could be treats, she will be more likely to snap at fingers near the bars.

Keep her away from your other rats. She should be in a completely different air space (a different house, in your garage, a different room will not suffice), and do not come in contact with your rats for two to two and a half hours after you have been around her.

Whatever her temperament, she still needs exercise and care. You're going to have to find an open, rat-proofed place for her to run and jump around just like your other rats. Keeping her locked up is only going to make her angrier. An hour a day is the absolute minimum amount of freedom she should have.

It is going to take a long time. There are no short cuts for introductions between rats and other rats, or rats and humans. I have recently obtained a rat who is not aggressive, but simply nervous. She still cannot share a cage with my other rat. Don't get ahead of yourself. Take it slow and have patience, you can mess things up quickly by trying to rush.
 

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Spaying/neutering helps a great deal with aggressive rats. While it usually COMPLETELY tames males, it doesn't do the same amount of good with females. But, it still does take quite a bit of the "edge" off and it might help her some.

Like Wench said, she needs to be away from your other rats, and always wash your hands/change your clothes before handling her or being around her.

P.S. - what on earth is that gray stuff in her cage? :p It looks like dryer lint!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
First of all, the gray linty-looking stuff is faux fur fabric that she has spread out on the bottom of the cage. :D

Secondly, she isn't- wasn't when I got her- with other rats. I don't ever plan on putting her with other rats since a majority of my rats are males (and that would fail to be a good choice).

Concerning the fact that she's from a pet shop and a "feeder" - I knew she was a feeder when I got her so I'm really not stuck with her and I prefer not to be involved in the pet store versus breeder controversy. I know that health issues are a concern as is lack of socialization but I feel that she should be given an equal opportunity to prosper. I know it will take alot of time and effort but I'm willing to give it a chance.

As for exercise and care, she definitely doesn't lack either. I have a separate pack and play just for her with toys and such.

I'd like to say thanks to everyone for the ideas. I know that everyone may not agree on certain rat topics but I think we can all agree that no matter who the rat is or where it came from we all just want to give them the best care possible. That is why I joined this community and I appreciate everyone's ideas and contributions.
 

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Hey, I have two feeders as well. I say if you know what you are getting into and don't breed them it's really not that bad. Yeah you will have tons of vet bills and possibly some heartbreak but in the end, you have a rat that appreciates the chance of living you gave them. People will always continue to feed them to snakes, the rat community occasionally purchasing one probably isn't affecting their sales that drastically *shrugs* I know I hate makeing their sales on feeders go up as well but considering the majority of rats sold as feeders are still made into snake food I doubt it's a huge percentage of feeder rat sales.

If you can care for them and are prepared for health problems or heart break and have properly quaranteened them from your other rats I see no harm. I wish you and your new baby lots of good luck. She looks very scared and that's probably the case. I agree with Night on the spaying, that would be wonderful for her. Other than that just keep at what you are doing.
 
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