Small Rodent Behavioral Quirks

You’re ready to add a small rodent to your household’s mini-menagerie. You’ve decided on Jerry, a charming pet rat with tons of personality. You’ve researched Jerry’s diet and care needs; however, you’re a bit puzzled by some strange small rodent behaviors. Since Jerry will see his Beaverton veterinarian for a new patient exam, your vet can help you to interpret your rodent’s behavioral quirks. In the meantime, learn more about some small rodent behaviors.

Unexplained Slowdown

You’d expect Jerry and his rat relatives to skitter around their cages like little wind-up toys. If Jerry suddenly begins moving in slow motion, or even hunching down in one spot, something’s clearly not right. Ask your vet to determine if Jerry has a medical problem. If he’s in great health, maybe he’s bored and needs some mental stimulation. Give Jerry some interesting new toys, and provide him with more interactive daily playtime. Of course, Jerry might simply be lonely, and giving him a pet rat buddy might solve the problem.

Inappropriate Food Choice

Humans generally aren’t on Jerry’s preferred food list, so you’re surprised when he nibbles on your fingers while you play with him and tidy his cage. Since Jerry’s a nocturnal pet, perhaps you’ve awakened him too suddenly, and he can’t figure out what’s going on. Try waking Jerry slowly and gently instead. Perhaps Jerry has also been nipping at a friend or family member. That probably means he hasn’t gotten a proper scent introduction to that visitor. Next time, give the pair a gradual introduction, and you should see more positive results.

Coat Trimming Obsession

Lots of animals, including Jerry and his rat brothers, keep their hair coats healthy by grooming themselves. However, if Jerry starts to obsessively gnaw on his coat, you might see some spotty hair loss. If Jerry has a buddy, his companion might nibble on Jerry’s coat instead. This odd behavior might showcase the rats’ pecking order; or maybe Jerry has developed a medical problem. Your vet can get to the bottom of Jerry’s hair-trimming obsession.

Bad Social Habits

Perhaps you’ve gotten Jerry a couple of companions, and you’ve provided your rodent crew with a spacious cage and plenty of delicious rat kibbles. The rats should happily coexist in their comfy habitat, especially if they’re all spayed or neutered. However, if you’ve placed several non-neutered male rats together, you’ll probably see frequent skirmishes and possibly full-fledged battles. This might also happen if the rats grew up in different litters. Ask your vet how to resolve this problem.

If Jerry seems bent on self destruction, or you think he might be sick, ask your Beaverton vet to examine your rodent pet and determine if he needs treatment.