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My rats are still really new, they've been eating and exploring their cage and letting my pet them, but today I noticed something.

One of my girls put her teeth around the tip of my finger, as if she was just feeling me with her teeth? I wasn't holding her and she wasn't showing signs of distress. It wasn't an actual bite, it didn't hurt, but she's done it more than once! She's done it when I stick my hand down to let her sniff.

Does this mean I'm annoying her? Will it turn into biting if I don't do something?
 

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Depends on why she is doing it. Youngsters can be pretty toothy, just getting a feel about their world. My older rats it really is different-my only one who did that who I knew was annoyed was Goose when she had babies, luckily she wasn't an overly aggressive Mom, but there was no doubt she was putting her teeth on me as a strong suggestion I get my fingers the heck away from her babies. She never bit down, but you could tell by body language that I was upsetting her. Body language gives away if they are upset or being a bully.

On the other hand I have Buttercup, who's an almost blind albino, she puts teeth on me all the time. She's not annoyed, just testing to see if I've eaten something yummy recently and if I need further investigation.

My youngsers are all a little over 7 weeks now and when they were younger were very toothy for awhile. They never hurt me or left any kind of mark, but it was a bit more than I was really comfy with. However they all outgrew it on their own, with me doing nothing on my side but ignoring the behavior.

Lastly-grooming- some of mine feel the need to groom me. They will try and trim my nails, they will nibble off hang nails if I don't stop them. Nail polish makes them crazy and they really feel it should be removed.

So I would try and figure out why she is being toothy. If she is being bossy I would not allow it. If she is just doing baby toothy stuff I'd ignore it.
 

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Mine both do this gently and it's never an actual bite either. I've never feared to put my fingers in the cage for fear of a bite. I'm a new rat owner and have been extremely surprised at how gentle they both are. Don't know if that is a testement to their previous owners or if it's just their personalities.

In my case I think it's what mimsy was talking about and they are exploring my fingers and/or trying to groom me. Both have groomed the base of my neck while sitting on my shoulders. If they get a little rough I say "No" firmly and pull my finger away. Then wait a bit and try again. If they continue to be gentle I allow it but if it becomes rough again I repeat the process. They seem to be learning when it's too much by this method and the rough stuff is less frequent than when I first got them.
 

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Young rats will even play fight and attack your hand viciously... but they don't bite or draw blood, if it's a game play along and have fun.... roll them over and skritch their bellies to reward them for the play and to stop the game.

Mostly when rats bite you they mean to bite you and you know it.
 

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My Nibbler used to be like that (three guesses how she got her name). But she's never actually bitten in a way you'd say is a bite. More like exploring with her teeth, and she's grown out of it.
We have a boy named Nibbles with the same story. I think it's normal for young rats to gently feel things with their teeth. They'll know pretty quick that your finger isn't food. I was nervous about feeding them food from my finger but they know the difference and will gently lick food off your skin without hurting you. At worst if its something irresistible like meat they might accidentally brush their teeth against you but it's nothing like a bite. I would save finger-feeding meat until they're older, though.
 

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My girl Peanut does this, usually associated with her licking my fingers. It seems like she is only wondering if I have a treat or just ate something. I can feed my girls treats through the bars and they are always delicate until they are sure it's only a treat. I've never once felt it was a warning not have they ever bitten me or anyone that's handled them. I may be wrong but it seems like they are just giving a curious feel with their teeth.
 

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My two younger boys do this. They do it when I reach my hand in and they're looking for me to give them treats. Ive even had them mistake the tips of my fingers as treats and they'll gently grab my fingers and try to pull my fingers across the cage. They've never bit. Just gentle nibbling and licking.
 

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One of mine does this and he also grips my nail and pulls. If I tell him stop he does. Hes done it for weeks now and it hasn't turned into biting and it never gets any worse. He seems to be being playful and exploring...
 
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