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Pet Rats/Unusual behaviour


Hi, I have a 1 year old female rat and today her behaviour worried me a bit. She normally doesn't like being handled and squirms when you pick her up and moves away when you see her reach for her and that's fine.
A few days ago she seemed to have a panic attack or seizure in her cage. She stood on her hind legs out of nowhere and looked to be hiccupping very rapidly and then jumped all about the cage. Then she stopped and sat very still but kept moving her head around in a weird way as though she was shaking it. She was calm after a few minutes and I let her out of the cage and she went right to sleep. She seemed pretty good after that. She looks fine and her breathing has always been clear. Her diet is also good too.
Today I noticed she had been sleeping all day and most days she will be awake sometimes. I touched her and she did nothing, though I knew she was awake. I kept doing this and she did nothing and she hates even the slightest tough. I took her out of the cage and she went all floppy and even let me put her on my lap and she slept there which was so unusual for her. After a while I guess she woke up and I put her on the floor and she was walking slower than normal and wobbled a tiny bit. I call her name and she doesn't react like she always does and just doesn't seem affected by anything. After a few minutes she went back to being annoyed by me touching her again and seemed okay. I went to check on her again just now and I could pick her up and she's all floppy and will lie on my lap again. I just find it unusual for her because she's hated anyone touching her and she just seems to tired and floppy. Is she really tired maybe? I haven't had this issue before with any of my rats.
Thanks for reading.

Hi Shauna,
It sounds like she might be having seizures. After a seizure an individual can be very sleepy for a while. So, the floppy episodes might be the aftereffects of a seizure, or perhaps part of a seizure itself.

See the article about seizures on my website at


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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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