Is your rat aggressive?
Do your rats often start fighting with other rats? Does it bite or scratch you, or the other rats? If he does, I may be able to help you. Whether he is aggressive towards you or other rats, it is important to take steps to prevent anyone from being injured.
Why is your rat aggressive?
There are a number of reasons why your rat may be aggressive. It could be due to hormones. All rats go through an “adolescent” phase around the age of 6 months to a year. At this point, your rat hormones can literally overwhelm it and this can lead to aggression. It can also be due to stress, maybe he lost a friend or he had a change of environment. It can also be caused by an illness. If your rat is suffering or is suffering, it can become aggressive. It can also be caused by your rat’s past experiences. If he has been abused by people before, or perhaps not manipulated enough to know that we will not hurt him, he can bite as a defense mechanism. Some rats are genetically more sensitive to aggression.
All rats release pheromones in their urine and these pheromones in males mark their territory and can cause aggression in other rats. Male and female rats can suffer from aggression, but males tend to do so more often.
What can you do there?
Fortunately, there are several things you can try to deal with your rat’s aggression.
My secret weapon
Vanilla flavoring. If your rats are fighting or have trouble presenting them, this is the way to go. You can buy vanilla essence online or at the local supermarket. Simply rub a few drops at the base of the tail of the two rats and along their back. It won’t hurt them if they lick it, in fact they will probably like the taste.
The smell of vanilla essence (which is very pleasant) will cover their own natural smell, which can be offensive to the other rat (because rats use the smell as a means of communication). The taste can encourage rats to lick and grooming will begin the natural bonding process. That’s all I need to do to stop any attack on my rats.
If your rat is aggressive towards you, rub the vanilla essence on your rat and a little on your wrist. That way you will both smell the same and be less scary and offensive to your rat.
Secret Weapon 2
The essence of vanilla was a temporary solution to keep my boys from fighting, but when I finally figured out what was causing the fighting, it was easy to resolve definitively:
I gave them 2 separate food bowls!
Yes, it was really that simple. I placed 2 bowls of food at opposite ends of the rat cage and placed one rat per each bowl of food. They no longer needed to share and all fighting stopped after that. It was incredibly simple. They fought even when it was not mealed time, but it all stopped.
When you face aggression or other negative behavior from your pet, you need to be very patient and understanding. Changing behaviors takes time and even if the essence of vanilla will help you, you must solve the problem at the source. If your rat bites out of fear, your main task will be to build a relationship of trust. Sit by the open cage while relaxing or reading a book and let your rat come to you and sniff you. Give it a treat when it comes to your lap. Building a relationship of trust can take time, but it is worth it in the end. To deal with fights between your rats, have a water sprayer on hand. Spray your rats if they are fighting and if that doesn’t work, throw a towel over them.
A homeopathy is a wonderful tool for treating behavioral and health problems in your rats. It’s all-natural, so there are no side effects, but it really works.
PetAlive’s aggression formula is the best to use for rats. It comes in the form of granules, so you can dissolve it in soy milk, yogurt or your rat’s favorite drink and they will read it. The product is marketed in cats and dogs but has worked wonders for rats.
The granules have an immediate calming effect and will generally help to stop the aggression in a few days. The formula will not change the personality of your pets but could change their lives, if it means spending time outside the cage, enjoying the company of other rats and people.
Is your rat stressed or sick? Please check your rat for signs of poor health. Your rat may be aggressive because it feels bad. Check out my rat health checks page for more information and take your rat to the vets if necessary.
If your rat has changed its environment or has lost a companion, this could be the cause of an attack. Monitor its environment, check that it is neither too hot nor too cold. If your rat is kept alone, ask for a companion. Rats are very social animals and love to have another rat to snuggle, groom, and play with. Human company is not enough. Female rats are easy to introduce, but males can be a little harder. Check out the rat overview page for tips on how to make things easier.
A last resort
If you’ve tried everything and nothing has worked, it may be time to consider neutering your pet. in males, the aggression can simply be caused by hormones and sterilization will stop the excess hormones that are raging around your rat’s small body. There have been numerous reports that sterilization has completely stopped aggression in pets and made their lives much happier.
Of course, anesthesia is more serious for rats than for cats and dogs, so this is something that you need to consider carefully. You need to find a veterinarian who cares for and respects you and your rat. Simply call the surgery and asking a few questions will generally help you determine if they are the right veterinarian for you.
After the surgery, your rat will need you to care for him for a few days, and then you can start building a relationship of trust without the assault.