Does your rats selten with the other rats? Does he bite, or scratch you, or the other rats? If he does, I may just be able to help you. Whether he is aggressive towards you or other rats, it is important to take action to stop anyone getting hurt.
Why is your rat aggressive?
There are a number of reasons as to why your rat may be aggressive. It could be down to hormones All rats go through a “teenage” stage at around 6 months to a year old. At this stage your rats hormones, can literally be overwhelming him and this may lead to aggression. It can also be down to stress, perhaps he has lost a friend, or he has experienced a change in environment. It can also be caused by illness. If your rat is in pain, or unwell he may become aggressive. It can also be caused by your rat’s past experiences. If he has been abused by people before, or perhaps not handled enough to know we won’t hurt him, he may bite as a defense mechanism. Some rats are genetically more susceptible to aggression.
All rats release pheromones in their urine and these pheromones in males, mark out their territory and can provoke aggression in other rats. Both male and female rats can suffer from aggression, but males tend to more often.
What can you do about it?
Luckily there are several things you can try, to treat your rats aggression.
My Secret Weapon
Vanilla essence. If your rats are fighting, or you are having trouble introducing 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 both rat’s tails and along their backs. It will not hurt them if they lick it off, in fact they will probably like the taste.
The smell of the vanilla essence (which is very pleasant) will cover up their own natural smell, which may be offensive to the other rat (as rats use smell as a way to communicate). The taste may encourage the rats to lick each other and grooming will start the natural bonding process. This is all I need to do to curb any aggression in my rats.
If your rat is being aggressive towards you, rub the vanilla essence on your rat and some on your wrist. This way you will both smell the same and you will be less scary and offensive to your rat.
Secret Weapon 2
Vanilla essence was a temporary solution to stopping my boys from fighting, but when I finally worked out what was causing the fights, it was easy to resolve permanently:
I gave them 2 separate food bowls!
Yes, it really was as simple as that. I placed 2 food bowls at opposite ends of the rat cage and placed one rat by each food bowl. They didn’t have to share any more and all fights stopped after that. It was amazingly simple. They used to fight even when it wasn’t meal time, but all that stopped.