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Pet Rats/odd behavior


Hi Irene:) This pertains to my female hairless rat Barbie. This to me is funny but I don't know what it means. We have a 3 level cage and the hairless will go all the way up to the top level and when she turns and sees her tail she'll bite her tail and carry  it all the way back to the bottom inside her house. She does live with one other rat so I wouldn't think she is lonely. What could this behavior be?

PS: well so far this year 2 of my rats have died. Skyline on Feb. 6 (she was 2 yr and 6 days old) because of a pituitary tumor. I had her put down to end the pain. Well 3 days ago Nikolai passed away so now I am down to 2 rats: Bella and Barbie.

Hi Sydney, first I want to say how sorry I am about your losses so close together. I knew about Skyline but didn't know Nikolai was ill also :(  I also apologize for my late response to you as I've been sick for the last week, but better now.

I actually have no idea as to why Barbie would do this.  All I can say is that every rat, like every human, has their own special personality along with their own cute or funny quirks or habits.  I have one girl now who covers the entire food bowl with bedding or paper towels so you can't see the food.  My other girl doesn't do this.  The other girl's strange quirk is rolling on her tummy as if she wants me to rub it but then squawks loudly as if she wants me to stop...go figure...maybe a game she's playing with me.  I can go on and on about strange individual behaviors of my rats past and present.

Every rat I've ever had has totally ignored their tails, except one girl who used to groom hers occasionally.  This must just be one of Barbie's quirks and nothing to be concerned about.  

Sorry I couldn't be of more help here.  I hope your two girls live very long and healthy lives.  Please let me know if I can help with anything else in the future :)

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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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