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Pet Rats/Rapid hiccups often?


Hi there. I'm a first time rat owner, got my boys 3 months ago, they're about 7 mo old. Since I got them, one of the two, otto, he often gets this kind of rapid hiccup thing when awoken from a nap & held...( Probably he gets it when not held too I just obviously wouldnt notice then). It's like he pulses & his head jerks forward slightly but no noise really. It's quite rapid, it's like hiccups but much much quicker. It lasts a few minutes & then doesn't really happen when he's been up a while. I'd say it happens once every few days. The other rat has never done it that I've seen. Have you heard of this? Thanks. Ps other than that both are very active curious hungry happy boisterous and healthy.

First I'd like to welcome you to the wonderful world of pet rats!!  You will probably fall head over heels over them if you haven't already.  They are in my opinion the most fascinating and wonderful pet you could have, just as loving and playful as a dog but in a miniature size.

Contrary to popular belief, rats can and do get hiccups.  Not all rats have them, and some rats are prone to having them.  So don't be alarmed.  The rapid jerking and slight sound as you describe it matches what rat hiccups are like.  

Just make sure that the noise subsides after the "spasms" subside.  However, if you continue to hear noises related to his breathing and hear congestion in his chest or nasal passages, it may be more than hiccups, a respiratory infection perhaps, and I would consult a vet.

Hope this is helpful.  Please let me know if there is anything else I can answer for you.  Have fun with your new babies :)  

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Irene Murphy


I can answer a variety of questions regarding adoption and care of pet rats throughout their lifetimes, including questions about their health and well being, temperment, diet, bedding, cages, toys, etc. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability in a timely manner and I have an abundant amount of resources to help me to help you with your pet rats. I love rattie pictures, so include pics with your question if you can. You may ask me medical questions, but please be advised that I am not a vet. I may use my resources to answer some medical questions, however, I will need to refer you to your local vet with medical questions that I feel I am not qualified to address.


I have been a huge rat enthusiast for many years. Since becoming a rat owner, I have educated myself in all areas of pet rats from every resource I could find including the internet, books, conversations with local exotic vets, as well as several local rat breeders.

I have a college degree but not in the area of animals. I have obtained my extensive experience and knowlege of pet rats all on my own because in my eyes, pet rats are the most interesting and fascinating creatures you can ever imagine to have as pets. I also am saddened by how mislabeled and misunderstood these amazing and extremely smart animals are by the majority, and my mission in life has become to educate and change as many people's perceptions of rats as I possibly can.

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