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Explaining Your Rodent’s Odd Behaviors

Your new pet rat’s behaviors have you completely stumped. With many years of dog and cat ownership, you can read their antics pretty well. You know when your dogs are play fighting and when they’re battling for real. You can tell when your cats are just hissing a warning and when they’re ready for a knock-down, drag-out fight. But your pet rat Sammy’s behaviors are just plain weird. Since Sammy sees your veterinarian from Farmington Hills tomorrow, you’ll get some answers about your little rodent’s strange habits. Read more about Sammy’s unusual behaviors below.

Constant Coat Grooming

You’re not surprised that Sammy grooms himself, as many animals regularly preen themselves to keep their coats in good shape. However, if Sammy obsessively nibbles on himself, and begins to lose some hair, he might have developed a medical problem. If Sammy lives with a buddy, and Seymour constantly works on Sammy’s coat, they might be displaying their pecking order. Or, one or both rats could have medical issues. Ask your vet for guidance here.

Inappropriate Nibbling

Maybe Sammy has unexpectedly nailed you during playtime or when you clean his enclosure. Perhaps you suddenly woke nocturnal Sammy from a sound sleep, and he’s not happy about that. To avoid getting nipped again, awaken Sammy more slowly. Before you allow someone else to handle your pet rat, provide Sammy with a proper scent introduction to that person. Once Sammy learns more about his visitor, he’ll likely be more receptive to the interaction.

Rodent Fight Club

If you’ve placed several rats in the same enclosure, and there’s plenty of room and food for everyone, they’ll probably be agreeable about sharing their rodent apartment. If they’re all spayed or neutered, that’s even more likely to happen. However, if you have all male non-neutered rats, or if they haven’t grown up together, be prepared for frequent skirmishes and battles. Trying to resolve this yourself won’t be pretty, so ask your vet for his expert advice.

Slow-Motion Slug

You’re accustomed to seeing Sammy scurry around his cage like a little wind-up toy. Sammy eats, drinks, runs on his wheel, and burrows furiously in his bedding. You’d likely see similar behavior from other pet rats, hamsters, and gerbils. However, if Sammy crouches or lies in one spot, or moves rather slowly, something is very wrong. Ask your vet to evaluate Sammy for a medical problem. If Sammy’s physically fine, perhaps he’s bored or lonely. Give Sammy some stimulating new toys, along with more human playtime.

If you think Sammy could have a medical problem, or seems to be showing self-destructive behavior, don’t delay – get Sammy to your Farmington Hills vet as soon as possible.

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