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Rats' Aggression

Rats aggressive behavior is actually quite an interesting and at the same time distressing discussion for any pet rat owner.  We are even often bewildered and fond of seeing our pet rats run around chasing and sliding with each other but it's a different story when they begin to attack and hurt each other. Males who were originally dormant and docile in the first few months may become berserk and begin attacking other pet rats that are new to the environment. This often happens during their 6th month. Former peaceful rats may suddenly assault newly introduced ones thus making acquaintances between old and new rats apparently difficult or even impossible to some. Also, originally tame female rats may suddenly become wild and aggressive if their litters are still young.

The discussion on rat aggression has a lot of topics to cover about. There are even many publications and written accounts on rat aggressions, covering many different varieties of aggression literature. However, we do not hope to cover all of them in this article but we do hope to cite out the closely relevant points in the rat aggression topics. At least to those that are relevant to the two important stakeholders of this topic: a. the owner of the pet rat and b. any interested individuals concerning rat aggressions both natural and unnatural conditions.


Rat Aggression is more accurately known as the agonistic behavior. This behavior refers to the complex of most animals to turn aggressive on the other members of the same species. However, the term agonistic behavior has a much broader sense than aggression which simply means a behavioral pattern that indicates intimidation and harming another.

Social Aggression

Also known as social agonistic behaviors, this is actually a group of several behaviors which includes motor patterns such as chasing, sliding, biting, boxing, scratching and as well as vocalization patterns both audible and inaudible. Agonistic behaviors may occur in different occasions depending on the given situation.

Sequences and Strategies in Aggression

Such behaviors are actually hinged with each other by different varieties of duration and intensity. The lowest degree or intensity of aggression can be classified under a common motor behavior, which is chasing. When the point of increased intensity comes, you may be able to notice the dramatic build up as chases would turn into stand-offs and eventually harsh physical contacts like fighting and boxing. However, such escalations may be quite rare in some instances and they are most unlikely to occur during simple chases.

Aggressive neck grooming is another behavior that indicates aggression in the species of rats. However, this is just a low intensity aggressive behavior. Grooming often leads to the rapid little nibbles that during such cases that nibbler would often seize folds in the neck skin of the one being groomed using their incisors. The rat being groomed may become stationery and would sometimes squeal or squeak softly. If there will be any sudden movement from the rat being groomed, it may trigger some anti-behaviors from the groomer.
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