Monthly Archive for July, 2006

Memorial

FRC has a brand new memorial, where you can post a tribute to your ratties who have passed away, and read about how to cope with your loss.

New Memorial

Hi Rat Lovers!

Recently a girl named Sarah wrote in and asked if I could put a little tribute on FRC to her rat, Hugs, who passed away about a month ago. Sarah made me realize that it’s high time FRC have its own memorial. You can find it here–feel free to post your own tribute!

I have also included an article on how to cope with the loss of your pet, and information about the Rainbow Bridge.  There’s more to come.

Sara

My rat bites!

It is very rare for pet rats to aggressively bite, but they can and will bite for several reasons. Figuring out what that problem is may be difficult, but it might put an end to the biting (hopefully it will).

The primary cause of any bite is fear.  If you haven’t had your rat for very long, he may be anxious about his new environment; he may also have been handled badly or not socialized as a baby. If your rat has started biting out of the blue, try to think about what has changed in the environment to make him feel anxious.

If you think your rat may be fearful, you must be patient and understanding, giving him time to settle into his new environment and introducing yourself to him slowly and carefully. Start off by just resting your hand in the cage or putting an old t-shirt that you’ve recently worn in their cage; this will help him get used to your smell.  You can also try slowly feeding him treats, and letting him lick something tasty from your fingers.  When holdling your rat, don’t take him too far from his cage; being able to smell it may decrease his anxiety. Also, try to interact with your rat about 20-30 minutes a day. These are trust-building exercises that may help him adjust better.  Is he a nervous rat?

A nervous rat will run away from you, and if you try to pick it up, it may be so fearful that it feels the only option is to bite.  Thus, it is important to consider how you are handling the rat.  When picking rats up, you must always support their feet, because they get very anxious if they don’t have their back feet on something solid.  Some people think picking a rat up by the base of its tail is a good way to handle them, but it’s terrifying and painful for the rat.  Make sure you’re handling your rat in the least stressful way possible.

Older rats that bite are more of a problem, because the reasons behind their biting can be more complex and may require more patience.  It’s rare for a rat to be aggressive by nature; generally the rat was mistreated or not socialized as a baby.  Many people believe that a biting rat needs to be put down immediately.  In certain cases, this may be true–if a rat is severely aggressive or it is exposed to children.  However, it is my opinion that rats are naturally sociable animals, and it is very rare for a rat to be aggressive and unhandleable for no reason.  I think there is hope, it’s just a matter of figuring out what the reason is and handling it properly.

Good luck!

Why do rats grind their teeth?

Rats grind their teeth for two reasons:

First, a rat’s teeth never stop growing; they keep the length under control by constantly grinding their teeth and gnawing on hard objects (this is why your rat may keep you awake at night chewing on the bars of his cage).  Second, rats often grind their teeth when they’re happy!  It’s called “bruxing.”  You may also notice their eyes bugging out while they do this…it’s called “eye boggling,” and if you’d like to see a video of this phenomenon, click here!