Pet Rats/New Rat


QUESTION: There was a pet shop I was visitng two weeks ago and I noticed three mother rats with babies, it was cute, but I noticed a large feeder tank of rats, divided in two there were 3 whites in one and 1 spotted one in the other. She looked active and friendly but a bit alone by herself. I knew the store owner's daughter who was working and had pet rats before, she told me she handled this one everyday and it was going to be sold as either a feeder or pet and convinced me to get this one as a pet. I already had a pet rat from this place so I thought I was get her as well. It was a long trip back to my place in traffice so she was in the box for almost 2 hours but I would open it from time to time to make sure she was okay and feed her a bit.

When she got to my place she seemed active and okay. I put her in another tank so she could settle in. Later that week I introduced her to my older female rat and at first they cuddled but at night I her squeaks and notice the new rat was biting my older rat so I separated them.

I keep her in my bedroom for the next week or so and would keep on talking and checking up on her but did not try to pick her up again for a few days. When I finally did she let out a loud screech and tired to bite me. I tried again later and the same thing. I then let her in the bath tub and let her crawl over me and she seemed okay resting on my pants and running around. But when I picked her up again she screamed and bite me hard. So not sure what to do with her. I want to help her and bond with her but she seems to want to keep to herself.

ANSWER: Hi Stan,
On my website at on the Rat Info page there is an article called Trust Training that will help you with this scared little girl.

When you said you noticed the new rat was biting your older rat, did you actually see her bite? Did she draw blood?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello, I started using your article and initially she was sweet and calm. But as of tonight she tries to bite my finger when it's around her and she makes a loud hissing noise.

Well, for some reason she is now scared. It might be because now she is alone. You didn't answer my questions about the other rat. When you said you noticed the new rat was biting your older rat, did you actually see her bite? Did she draw blood?  If at all possible, a rat should be living with another rat for company and comfort.

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Debbie Ducommun


I can answer any questions about pet rats, but you will probably be able find answers to simple questions more quickly on my website at If you have a life-threatening emergency you can try calling me at 530-899-0605. I am not usually on the computer on the weekend.


I have been "The Rat Lady" since 1985 and am recognized as one of the world's experts on pet rats. I have 3 published books and already answer lots of questions about rats daily.

President of Rat Assistance & Teaching Society

I am a monthly columnist for Pet Business magazine, and my writing has appeared in other magazines. I have 3 published books.

BA in Animal Behavior

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