Pet Rats/bitting


I got 2 rats yesterday from a pet store. When i awoke this morning my son told me he had left the cage open last night. I came down to find them behind my sofa. One of the rats simply climbed into my hand but I had a real problem with the other. I tried letting him and offering my hand. He would come close then run. When I tried to pick him up he jumped into the air and squealed. I tried offering my hand again and he bit me and ran off. Was this out of fear? as I have read that rats will only bite as a last resort and with them both being from the same litter I don't know why the other is so sociable and wants to be held but this one doesn't. It was quite a nasty bite that bled for a while and now my finger is swollen and I cant bend it so he must have meant business.

Hi Amanda,
I'm sorry you had such a bad experience with your new rat. Yes, this rat bit you out of fear. He felt cornered.

Rats do have different personalities and some tend to be more trusting and others more suspicious. It could be that the trusting rat got handled more than the untrusting rats.

See the article called Trust Training on my website at for a way to encourage the scared rat to trust people more.

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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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