Your Pet Rats Are Fighting? Here’s What to Do
Is your pet constantly agitating your other rats? Do your other rats end up with bites and scratches, along with your hands in the crossfire? Whether your rat is just aggressive to other rats or if he targets you particularly, it’s a good idea to do something about it to avoid a major injury from occurring. Here’s what you need to know if your pet rats are fighting.
What Makes Rats Aggressive?
Rats can display signs of aggression for multiple reasons. Ultimately it could even be explained by hormones. Every rat has a rambunctious teenage phase when they are about six months old and it tends to last for up to six months. During this time, the hormones can overwhelm a rat and cause aggression. Other factors such as the loss of a cagemate, stress, illness, boredom, genetic disposition, changes in the environment, and pain can all contribute to rat aggression. Rats that have been traumatized by previous owners can be aggressive when handled until they become more comfortable with you. It’s more common for a male rat to be aggressive, though female also sometimes exhibit signs.
What Can Be Done To Make It Stop When Your Pet Rats Are Fighting?
Fortunately for rat owners, there are some techniques to handle rat aggression.
Patience Is Key
When handling an aggressive rat, it’s important to be patient with your pet. Altering their behavior will take some time and effort. Rats that attack because they are afraid need to be trained to trust their owners by establishing a relationship. Spend time sitting with your rat, and allow him to sniff you and be near you. Give him treats and pet him once he lets you. Ending fights between rats can be accomplished by using a spray bottle when they start to attack each other.
Decrease Stress Among Your Rats
Sometimes rats can be stressed enough to attack because they are ill. Check the rat for symptoms of illness. If necessary, take your pet to the vet for a check-up. Rats who have recently experienced massive change such as loss of a cagemate, they may display signs of aggression. Supervise your rat to tell whether or not he’s ready for a new companion. It’s no secret that rats are extremely social and generally prefer having other rats with which to cuddle, play, and groom. Generally, it’s easier introducing new female rats to older female rats, but supervision can ensure a smooth transition.
The Last Resort For Fighting Rats
When you cannot get your rats to stop fighting no matter what you try, it’s time to think about either getting a second cage or neutering your male rats. If it seems to be a hormone issue, neutering has been shown to reduce the flood of hormones overwhelming your rats. Some owners report that their rat became much happier after the procedure. However, it’s a procedure that of course requires anesthetic and this can be risky, especially for tiny animals like rats. It’s important to find a veterinarian that you trust. Following surgery, the rat will require a little bit of babying for several days, and this will help you build a more trusting relationship with one another.