Behavioral problems

Why Does My Rat Bite Me?

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. November 2, 2016
Why Does My Rat Bite Me?

Many people like to have domestic rats as pets. Normally, these animals display the same gentle and affectionate behavior towards people as does any other pet; after all, rats are very intelligent animals.

However, sometimes pets bite, no matter the species. There are different types of bites that can be interpreted differently, as animals use bites to communicate different feelings and situations.

In this article we will focus on rats that bite and answer the question: Why does my rat bite me? We at AnimalWised are going to explain all about this gesture, together with its possible causes and solutions.

You may also be interested in: Why Does My Dog Bite Me When Playing?


  1. Why do animals bite?
  2. Is your rat biting on purpose?
  3. Is your rat feeling well?
  4. What is your rat's personality like?

Why do animals bite?

Animals demonstrate many different things depending on the strength of their bite, and the rat is no different. When they are pups, rats - like dogs - bite gently in pretend fights while playing with their other rats or with you.

It's the same thing human siblings do when they fight on the sofa or on the bed, yelling, laughing and crying continuously. It's a game, but a game of domination in which you learn to defend and impose yourself.

Any pup will bite you if it is playing, and will continue to do so until you set a limit of the bite's intensity. This is why it is important to educate your rat.

Why Does My Rat Bite Me? - Why do animals bite?

Is your rat biting on purpose?

Your pet rat will inadvertently bite you if you step or sit on it, as would any other pet. These are defensive bites instinctive to the animal. Other common bites are when you give your rat cheese, or any other aromatic treat. Once the cheese has been eaten, your fingers are covered in an irresistible smell.

In either case, it isn't the rat's fault - you weren't paying attention! To avoid similar accidents, focus on where you step on in the future.

Why Does My Rat Bite Me? - Is your rat biting on purpose?

Is your rat feeling well?

Has your rat started biting you even if it's never been a nibbler? If this habit is sudden, it may be a sign that your ratis sick and in pain. Watch over your pet and take it to the vet if you notice any abnormalities.

Rats can also bite if they become stressed or are in a distressing situation. A new pet, a baby, or any other change that alters the usual atmosphere at home can cause distress for the rodent. Give it more attention and calm it down.

Why Does My Rat Bite Me? - Is your rat feeling well?

What is your rat's personality like?

All species have common characteristics and traits, but each individual has their own personality and their own way of living their daily life. This applies to all animals, from humans to rats. For instance, everybody knows that some dogs bark, some bite, and some are quiet and gentle, even if all dogs have the capacity of doing the three things.

Similarly, there are gentle rats, playful rats and rats the bite, regardless of the breed. If your rat is a biter, keep an eye on it. Monitor it closely to see if it only bites a specific family member or if it is unbiased and bites everyone equally.

If your rat always bites someone in particular, it may be that it is trying to climb the social hierarchy of the group. In this case, the affected person must impose themselves and make clear who's boss by spraying the rebel rat with water and proving their position within the family. After several showers, your rat will understand.

If your rat bites everyone equally, bad luck. You should take it to the vet and they will try to offer a solution. A biting pet doesn't do itself any favors, and it is a danger to children.

Why Does My Rat Bite Me? - What is your rat's personality like?

If you want to read similar articles to Why Does My Rat Bite Me?, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.

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Why Does My Rat Bite Me?