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aggressive rat

June 18th, 2004, 10:24 PM
I have a 8 month old female rat, and the passed two weeks she's been really agressive. I'd put my hand in to pet her, or give her food and water, and she'd charge at me.. like she was defending something. When you go near the cage she stands right up.. on all fours.. if u understand what I mean. lol. Before she started being agressive, I noticed that she was in heat.. could she think that she has babies.. or have a false pregnancy? She's the only rat I have, so she couldn't be pregnant. I got her in november, and she hasn't had any contact with a male after that. Her sister comes sometimes to visit her. Could she be sick in anyway.. could this be early signs of a disease?

Lucky Rescue
June 19th, 2004, 09:18 AM
I've had quite a few rats, and this kind of aggression is very very unusual! Has she actually bitten you? Do you handle her a lot, and is she usually tame and sweet (as most rats are)?

Rats are very social animals, and hate living alone. It can also make them insecure and therefore defensive.

June 21st, 2004, 09:34 PM
she was very calm and loving before. I use to take her outside and she'd sit on my shoulder and lick my neck and stuff while we were walking. She'd sit at her cage door when I get home from school and wait for me to take her out. She was out of the cage most of her life. Only in there while I eat, and sleep. Being handled was her fave past time.. now it's like she doesn't even want to be touched, or no one to go near her cage. I had a male rat turn agressive once, but it was only temporary. Prior to this, she's never biten anyone. Except the ocassional nibble when she was licking your hand.

I gave her some fresh water and food this morning, and she didn't seem to mind me being in her cage. I tried to pet her and let her sniff me before I did so, and she turned her head really quickly to where I pet her.. like she was gunna bite. Should I act as if she were new to me, and approach things slowly? Before she started biting, I noticed that whenever I'd try and pick her up she'd squeek whenever I put my hands under her, or whenever I touched her hind area.. could she have growing pains in her muscles..? I had her in a 20 gallon tank, then moved her to a ferret cage. So she has alot more room, and a new exercise wheel... so is that a possibility?

Lucky Rescue
June 22nd, 2004, 12:30 AM
The bars and equipment for ferrets can be too big for small female rats, and it's possible she has injured herself, maybe on the wheel. If the wheel is not solid, but bars, she could have hurt her tail.

Since she used to be sweet and now is not, pain is the most likely cause.

If I were you, I would take her to an exotic vet, or even a regular vet to check for leg or tail injuries.

June 23rd, 2004, 10:07 PM
I never thought of that.. she's been in the cage for about a month prior to her agression. But she may have hurt herself.. I'll take her to her vet's first thing in the morning. I have a checkup appointment made for my doggies, and am bringing my cat there, too. Looks like I'll need to get my friend to drive me :p

June 25th, 2004, 12:26 AM
the vet said she's fine with her phsyical condition.. but I mentioned that when I picked her up she let out a really loud horrifying screech.. then started breathing heavily. Do you think that she may be stressed about a new cat in the house? I know it was happening before I got Buffy, but I was also gone for acouple days..

Lucky Rescue
June 25th, 2004, 10:11 AM
I'm kind of stumped. :confused:

Are any of the cats allowed to get on top of the cage, or harass the rat in any way?
I had two rats in one cage. The female would become enraged if the cats or dog stuck their noses near the cage bars. She would puff up, hiss and try to attack. The male was more docile.

As I said, rats kept alone often do get very nervous and defensive. They can also get territorial about their cages.

I would try starting over with her. Get some treats she really loves. Hold them near the cage door and see if you can lure her out with them. Hopefully, once outside the cage she will calm down.

Oh, and only the very most trusting and tame rats will allow themselves to be grabbed inside their cages and brought out.

You're a wonderful pet owner!!!! :D

June 27th, 2004, 07:14 PM
thanks, that means alot to hear :D

I've been trying the treat at the door thing, and when I open the cage she runs from the top, to the bottom of her cage, sits and stares a bit, then runs in her home.. She has begun letting me pet her in her cage tho :D Sometimes she'll turn around really fast as if she was going to bite, and has nibbled on me a few times when she did that. I know that pulling away quickly will only scare her more.

Her cage is on top of my dresser, so none of the dogs or cats can go near it.

I hear cheese is bad for rodents, is this true? What's the best treat to use? She likes bread, but I'm not sure if it's the same with dogs.. how it doesn't digest properly and can go moldy in their stomachs.. Right now I'm using those chocolate treats for rodents.. I forget what they're called... I think Chocolate Drops.. or something like that.

Lucky Rescue
June 27th, 2004, 07:36 PM
You can give a bit of cheese as a treat, even though my rats didn't particularly like it. Bread is not very nourishing, but if you spread it with a THIN layer of peanut butter, she will love that and it's good for her.:)

Basically feed her anything healthy that you eat - veggies, chicken, cereal, fruit, rice etc. She also needs hard things to wear her front teeth down as well. I used to crack a walnut a bit and give to my rats. They loved getting it open! Do not feed her hamster food, as that is full of alfafa that rats cannot digest or use.

Put something really good, like small pieces of banana,(or the bread with peanut butter) in the palm of your hand, then put your hand in the cage and let it lie on the cage bottom. She should come to get it and learn that your hands mean good things.

June 27th, 2004, 08:02 PM
I read somewhere that meat wasn't good to give to rats :confused:
I dont give my rat or mice store bought food.. I follow a recipe I got from my vet.. it has rice, and sometimes pastas, veggies, fruits, honey nut cerios, and some nuts :p
I'll try the bread and peanut butter thing now. I'm eating a toasted peanut butter sandwhich :p

Lucky Rescue
June 27th, 2004, 10:39 PM
Chicken is fine for rats, and in fact they love gnawing on cooked chicken bones!

If you ever want to give a really special treat, try turkey and veggie baby food.:) Even sick rats will eat this.

June 27th, 2004, 10:51 PM
ooo, I never thought of baby food. I'll buy some tomorrow :) how much should I give her? I'm making chicken for dinner tomorrow, so I'll give her a bone. I so want her to be happy, and I dont know how to make her happy :confused: :(

Lucky Rescue
June 27th, 2004, 11:43 PM
Well, if you want to make her happy, antoher rat would be the best way, but you would need another cage in order to introduce them slowly.

June 30th, 2004, 12:58 AM
I dont have another cage.. I had alot of them. but my friend got two rats, and they didn't get along so I had to give him two of them, and my brother just got a dagu.

But, I have good news! I tried the peanut butter and bread thing, and she was eating some on my hand, and I went to get her a little bit more to see if she'd take it with my hand outside of the cage, and she walked right onto my hand and let me hold her while she ate it. All she really needed was time :) Thanks so much for the suggestion. :D I'm going to keep working with chicken and peanut butter till she gets more use to being handled again. I had her out for two hours, I dont want to rush her into staying outside of her cage again, I want to take things slowly. Is this a bad idea? Or should I just hold her alot when I get the chance?

Lucky Rescue
June 30th, 2004, 11:32 AM
Just keep on with what you are doing. The more rats are handled, the tamer they become. Rats who are rarely taken out of the cage end up not wanting to ever leave it. Handle and keep her out of the cage as much as you can.

When I was younger than you, I had a rat who I took everywhere with me - shopping, to the park, bike riding, to my friend's houses, etc. She was the most tame and trusting rat you ever saw. I'll never forget little Auggie.:)

July 8th, 2004, 06:37 PM
Is she your only rat? I NEVER EVER reccomend having a single rat. They are so extremely social and need companionship. I always rescue them in 2's or more....usually siblings. If this is suden behavior it may be due to lonliness, it could also beinjury or she's nots feeling well. It could the heat also and yes, like rabbits they have had false pregnancies. 8 months old......If she is your only rat.....I'd get another. Introduce them on neutral ground like your bathtub. (I'm presuming its female?????) Get another female as well. There may be a little scrapping but should be ok. DONT leave them alone while introducing though.Meanwhile , wash the cage from scent of the one rat so it will aslo be neutral once they have met. They LOVE toys. Mine like mini rawhides to gnaw on and toss about the cage. I've made them a hammock and a tightrope to walk on across the cage as well as a homemade slide which they love! I have them in a huge rabbit cage so they get tons of exercise and have put in my kids old barney schoolhouse which they hide inand climbup top and ring the schoolbell. They also have their fav. mini ball they roll around. Ok, so maybe I over do it? But hey, they are the happiest active little girl ratties I know! And of course, lots of tlc. Remember also....female rat are prone to tumors,ets....something to watch for

dj mirage
September 12th, 2004, 03:07 PM
hi!! just wanted to let u know we had the same problem with the female rat we bought a few months back... we had a male before we bought her, but he had passed due to tumors. we had no problems with aggression at first, but after about 2 weeks of having her, she started to nip and scratch a lot... well.. we let her alone and tried to avoid too much disturbance around the cage, because we were worried it might be due to the fact we also have three cats. none of that seemed to make a difference. then about 4 weeks later she gave birth to 11 little ones... she was already pregnant when we purchased her apparantly and she did not appear to be pregnant to the naked eye.... after the birth and since we've found homes for all of her offspring she is a very social little thing and even sits on the cats and sleeps... don't know if that helps at all, but i thought i'd share!!

good luck!! :D

September 12th, 2004, 09:31 PM
DJ, she wouldn't be pregnant....the post was made June 18th

Cactus Flower
September 13th, 2004, 01:29 AM
I know this post is a few months old, but are you still tuning in? How are things with your rat?

If you are petting the cat, then later trying to pet the rat, you'll still smell like cat! (This sounds SO Dr. Seuss). That could cause some aggression.

March 2nd, 2006, 03:46 PM
I think your girl is hurting hence the horrific screech and heavy breathing after you picked her up. She is defensive because every time you pick her up she hurts. I would bite too if everytime your hands touched her it hurt her. She was just warning you not to touch her. These are all classic signs of rat pain.
I know this is an old post but I am hoping that she is better now. I don't believe a lovely lil rat you have had that was sweet as could be would change that severely if she wasn't ailing.

**Ooops thought it was Sept. 2005 not 2004 *blush*