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Pet Rats/Possessive rat!


I have a problem with a very possessive dumbo rat!

I bought a pair of female rats a few months ago (they're about 15 weeks old now) - one dumbo, one fancy. They were litter mates before I bought them so they have always interacted well with one another. They sleep together and when they're caged they behave in a very docile manner. However, when I let them out they behave quite differently...

The dumbo has always been very confident and has never had a problem coming up to me, climbing on me and even grooming me. She is very affectionate. My other rat is quite shy but is slowly coming out of her shell. She climbs on me now but is still quite jumpy and will not allow me to pick her up at all.

My problem is, the dumbo gets very possessive and defensive when the other rat approaches me. It almost feels like she thinks I am her territory - her human! - and the other rat doesn't get a look in. I want to socialise the fancy rat as much as possible but my dumbo keeps getting in the way. She will chase the other rat away and even wrestle with her in order to keep her away from me. Despite being very docile in the cage, she often wrestles the other rat outside of it. If she sees me giving the other rat any attention, she barges over and puts an end to it!

I hope I don't sound nuts here but I really would like to know if you've encountered anything like this before! I want to give equal attention to both my lovely pets but my dumbo is making that almost impossible...

Encountered this before?   Why yes!  Right now as a matter of fact.  Its actually a quite similar scenario.  I actually have 4 rats.  Two are from the same litter sisters with opposite personalities.  my hairless girl Zuzu think she owns me.  She gets jealous when any of the other 3 are getting any attention.  She doesn't attack the others but she does have to get to me and be a part of whatever is going on.  She doesn't like when I give one on one attention to the others.  I just pull her off me and continue doing what I was doing with the other rat.  Often, I have to repeatedly pull her off and sometimes I just put her in the cage for a few minutes...I don't want her to feel like she's being punished....and I then let her back out to play.

Rats are very territorial and their humans are not an exception.   Your situation is tough.  Your dumbo clearly has a very dominant personality and prefers not to share.  You are just going to have to make due with this situation.  Try to give the other passive girl some one on one playtime while the dumbo is in her cage.  You can also consider adopting a third rat, a more passive one, to keep your quiet girl company.

There is always the chance that in time, as they get older, the dumbo girl will mellow out and become less aggressive..  One of the challenges with having pets is learning to work with the various personalities.  It's not always easy but you can come up with ways to make it work.  I know my answer is not the solution you had hoped for hope it gives you some hope and promise that it will be ok as long as you have patience with them and give them equal love and attention.

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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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