Small Rodent Behavior Problems

You’re ready to bring a pet rat into your multi-pet household. You’ve already purchased Victor’s cage, furnishings, and toys. You’ve done lots of research on keeping your little rodent healthy, and your Brighton veterinarian has recommended a good rodent chow for Victor. When your new buddy has his complete physical exam, you’ll ask your vet for advice on potential behavior problems.


Sluggish Behavior

Pet rats are always scurrying around their cages, seemingly in perpetual motion. If you see Victor hanging out in one spot, or moving very slowly, something’s out of whack. First, ask your vet to determine if Victor is sick. If that’s not the case, Victor might be bored or lonely. Provide him with more physical and mental stimulation by introducing some new toys. Give Victor more social interaction by increasing your daily playtime with him.


Bad Haircut

You might notice Victor chomping on his coat, resulting in localized hair loss. If Victor lives with a buddy, you might see the other rat trimming up Victor’s coat. While this behavior can relate to the rats’ pecking order, it can also mean that Victor has developed a health issue. Your vet can determine the cause of Victor’s hair-cutting obsession.


Rodent-driven Aggression

If Victor shares his digs with other rats, they’ll probably get along if there’s enough space and food for everybody. Keeping your rats spayed and neutered will help them stay docile, too. If Victor and his mature male cage buddies haven’t been neutered, you’re likely to see aggressive displays such as biting and fighting. You might also see this behavior if you pack the cage with males that didn’t grow up together. Ask your vet how to manage this behavior problem.


Biting Problems

Rodents, including Victor, don’t regard humans as especially tasty snacks. Given that fact, you might wonder why Victor nips your fingers while you play with him or clean his cage. Perhaps you’ve abruptly awakened Victor from his sleep, as he’s a nocturnal creature who prefers a dark room in which to wake up gradually. Instead, wake him gently and don’t surprise him. Victor might also swipe at a stranger who’s handling him without a proper scent introduction. Slowing down this interaction will likely produce better results.

If Victor exhibits behavior that might indicate a medical problem, or that could be self destructive, ask your Brighton vet to evaluate Victor and provide treatment if necessary.

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