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Pet Rats/pissibly blind rat


Hello, My rat Optimus is displaying very odd behavior. Recently he isn't walking very good. He seemed very wobbely and unsure of what he is doing. When I open the cage he doesn't seem to notice. I can reach in and pick him up but he doesn't really respond. He gets a little scared like he doesn't know what is going on.  When i try to hand him food he wont take it. I moved all the food and water to the lower level he seems very  uninterested. He is about three years old and i have never seen him act like this. His brother who shares the cage with him is not showing any of these same behaviors. He's also very scared when i put him on another level like he doesn't know how to get down even though the ramp is right in front of him. Any ideas?


Thank you for your question.

A three year old is quite an old rat indeed. I would not rule out the possibility that your rat might very well have lost his vision, although rats do not see very well to begin with and tend to use their other senses to navigate in their surroundings. It could be that age might finally be catching up with him or he might have suffered a stroke. I would just keep him on the bottom level or the cage or move him to another cage without multiple levels to avoid any accidental falls if he is unsteady on his feet and just let him live out his remaining time as comfortable as possible. If you see that the quality of his life is diminishing (i.e not eating, drinking, etc), you might want to begin thinking about the possibly of letting him go, humanely and with love.

I hope that helps, I know its not a very informative answer.  

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Shawna Laufer


Nutrition has always been an interest of mine as well as creating stimulating environments for rats. I conduct product reviews on my blog so I can take questions regarding products marketed or intended for rats. Other questions regarding basic husbandry, feeding, grooming, and other pet rat care will be accepted. I have very little breeding experience so I would not be able to answer much in the ways of breeding or genetics questions. I can help with some basic health care questions but am not a vet and always suggest contacting your vet for serious inquires.


I have over 13 years of experience with pet rats, having worked in several pet stores, as a veterinary tech assistant, and with my own pet rats. I run a highly regarded blog on the subject of pet rat ownership ( with a corresponding YouTube channel and Facebook page. I have been and always will be open to questions and comments.

A photograph of my lady rat's cage is being published in Worth Publishers' college textbook "How Children Develop, 4e" by Robert Siegler, Judy DeLoache and Nancy Eisenberg on the subject of how complex, stimulating environments and how they relate to the brains of rats.

I have some college experience, but not in the field of animals. I completed the majority of an at-home Veterinary Technician course which I was unable to complete due to financial reason. The majority of my knowledge on rats have come from personal experience, conducting my own research with the help of published medical studies and journal, the internet and through other knowledgeable 'rat people'.

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