• Pet Rat Sounds: Good & Bad

    Posted on January 28, 2016 by in Care, Health

    Your Questions | About Pet Rats Answers


    Hello! I just got a couple of young male rats and was wondering something. I’ll put my hand in and rub them a bit and they’ll run around and come back to it and they do that for a bit before they start nibbling at my hand, not hard, but is that a sign that they’re agitated and want it out or happy and just playing? They also sometimes chitter but I hear that could be a good or bad sign…

    about pet rats, pet rats, pet rat, rats, rat, fancy rats, fancy rat, ratties, rattie, pet rat care, pet rat info, pet rat play, pet rat behavior, pet rat health, best pet, cute pets, pet rat suppliesABOUT PET RATS’ ANSWER:

    Congratulations on your new family members!

    It sounds like they may not want to play anymore since they began by enthusiastically running around and coming back to your hand. When they stop running around and start nibbling, try holding your hand inside the cage without moving it. See if they start to groom your hand, walk away from it or even just relax.  These behaviors would all show they’re finished playing.

    On the other hand, they could be letting you know they’re hungry. I’ve had rats very gently hold my finger in their mouths when they want some food.

    Yes, the “chittering” sound can be good or bad depending on what type of sound it actually is:

    The Good Sounds

    Called bruxing, rats make this sound by grinding their incisors against one another. Similar to when cats purr, bruxing is usually an expression of contentment. It’s often combined with or followed by boggling. Boggling is when they pop their eyes in and out. (It looks hilarious!) Also similar to when cats purr, bruxing can on occasion indicate nervousness, unrest or illness.

    Here’s a video of a happy rat bruxing with a small amount of boggling at the end:

    The Bad Sounds

    When new to rats, many people think their rat is making a “cute squeaking sound”. In reality, their rat is sick! After you’ve had rats for awhile, you’ll know immediately when the sound you’re hearing is bad news. If you hear your rat making any sounds while breathing such as snorting or snuffling or even certain squeaky sounds, take your rat in to be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

    Here’s my webpage on Respiratory Disease and below is a video of a rat making “squeaky” sounds. What you’ll hear in this video are serious respiratory disease symptoms. This rat was prescribed medications after being thoroughly examined by her veterinarian. Note that respiratory disease is not curable, but it is manageable as long as your rat is in the care of a knowledgeable and experienced pet rat vet. It’s also extremely important to have your rat seen as soon as possible when you hear respiratory symptoms. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to treat.

    If you’re not sure whether your rat is making a “Good” or a “Bad” sound, take your rat to the vet. You’ll be glad you did since every visit to the vet is a great opportunity to learn more about your rats. Besides, wouldn’t you rather have your vet say “everything’s fine” than not take your rat in and find out later you could’ve caught a problem early…..and prevented worse conditions from developing?

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