Did you know that simply by listening to and watching your rat you can determine a lot about his state of mind?
Noise speaks volumes
If your rat grinds his teeth, which is called bruxing, you’re doing something right; it’s a sign of a contented rodent.
On the other hand if your rat is screaming he’s extremely frightened or in pain. If he screams, stop whatever you started doing to cause that reaction. But if nothing changed overtly, take him to a vet as soon as possible.
The common sound linked to rats is of course squeaking and you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a good sign. It’s not.
Squeaking is another sign of discontent, but it’s a general niggle rather than something serious. Perhaps your rat is sick and tired of another rat in his company, or even you. If he’s squeaking, give him space!
However, if he’s squeaking because you’re engaging in an activity that is in his best interests in the long run, such as trimming his nails, simply ignore him and he’ll get over it.
Actions speak louder…
Understanding your rat’s intention, when fighting with others, is pretty straightforward.
If your rat puffs up, he’s getting aggressive and looking for a fight! Remove those in his sights.
If your rat didn’t puff up before engaging in a tussle with another rat (or you were making a cuppa and didn’t see the start of the fight) it’s easy to determine whether it’s play fighting or a real fight, simply watch where he attacks.
If he bite’s his opponent’s rump – it’s serious! But if he goes for the nape it’s just rat play.
Tell tale signs
Your rat’s tail can be a good indicator of how he is feeling. If he’s shaking his tail, he’s nervous. In this state he may pin his ears back too. If your rat is showing signs of nervousness, change his situation until he calms down.
Finally, if your rat is pushing objects away with his paws it means he doesn’t want it. This may be food, an object or your hand – whatever it is, take the hint!