Ear and cheek pulling?

Discuss rat companionship, introductions and behavioural problems such as biting or shyness or tell us about your rat's unusual habits.
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Werepuppy
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Ear and cheek pulling?

Post by Werepuppy » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:47 am

I'm freeranging my rats as we speak, and I just noticed Tas doing something I hadn't noticed before. She keeps going up to Possum and pulling her ears, and sometimes grabbing lumps of fur from her cheek. There's no squeaking from either end, but Tas seems to be doing this quite excessively. I had noticed that Possum had patches of fur missing which to be honest has been going on for the last few months. From a few photos I put up on here a few people pointed out they might have mites so I have treated them all for that, but Possum still has patchy cheeks and i've noticed today that she does have a little scratch line on her cheek as well. Tas isn't doing this towards the other two rats, only Possum.

Any idea what's going on? I'm sure Tas isn't actually hurting Possum but its making Possum look quite beraggled. She is a teddy-rex (or bad-hair rex if you want the English term but I prefer teddy-rex as it sounds cuter) so her fur does come out more easily than a normal rat and of course she doesn't have as much fur covering her to begin with, especially in the summer months.
My rats: Possum, Tasmania, Henna, & Trinity!
And lastly my kitties; Neko & Oliver.
RIP Toffee, Inky, Boota, Balthazar, Lady Serenity & Rosetta :dumbohalo:

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Re: Ear and cheek pulling?

Post by angiee-w » Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:51 pm

when i first introd molly and tiff, molly used to slowly go up to tiff and pull at her fur and run away. or if she was on a shelve or tube she used to lean down to pull tiffs fur.

but i don't actually know why the reason was so i hope someone soon can reply :luck:
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Re: Ear and cheek pulling?

Post by a_wee_one » Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:12 pm

My brain damaged rat does it to all the bigger boys. Lots at the moment with him approaching 6 months and to the point where i busted hhim causing a fight the other day and he legged it to the top of the cage leaving a trail of C'thulhus fur behind him (he's grabbed a big mouthfull). I don't know why they do it, i think it's a dominance thing - although Nyarlothep is a bit special so i'm not entirely sure he knows what he's doing half the time!
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Re: Ear and cheek pulling?

Post by pollywigston » Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:59 pm

Hi, I only know what this might be from the research I've done for my own problem.

It's called 'Barbering' when they rip off the fur; it's like excessive grooming. Often to do with dominance or anxiety.

I think so long as it doesn't cause any cuts/scabs it's ok. Unfortunately one of my ratties is actually hurting the other by doing this :-(

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Re: Ear and cheek pulling?

Post by Werepuppy » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:25 pm

pollywigston wrote:Hi, I only know what this might be from the research I've done for my own problem.

It's called 'Barbering' when they rip off the fur; it's like excessive grooming. Often to do with dominance or anxiety.

I think so long as it doesn't cause any cuts/scabs it's ok. Unfortunately one of my ratties is actually hurting the other by doing this :-(
I thought barbering was where they nibble the fur really really short, not pull chunks of fur out. Tasmania was literally trying to pull Possum by her cheek and ear. It didn't look like grooming...
My rats: Possum, Tasmania, Henna, & Trinity!
And lastly my kitties; Neko & Oliver.
RIP Toffee, Inky, Boota, Balthazar, Lady Serenity & Rosetta :dumbohalo:

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Re: Ear and cheek pulling?

Post by Jemma » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:55 am

I have generally seen this when a rat wants badly to be dominant but doesn't have the physical ability or confidence to do it. I have found that it generally stops when the rat being hounded looses there temper and puts the offender in there place, or the offender becomes alpha, or I have them neutered (a bit more effective with boys). It is different to barbering, which is a neutral act, much like biting your finger nails (or someone else's lol).
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Re: Ear and cheek pulling?

Post by Werepuppy » Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:26 am

Jemma wrote:I have generally seen this when a rat wants badly to be dominant but doesn't have the physical ability or confidence to do it. I have found that it generally stops when the rat being hounded looses there temper and puts the offender in there place, or the offender becomes alpha, or I have them neutered (a bit more effective with boys). It is different to barbering, which is a neutral act, much like biting your finger nails (or someone else's lol).
I doubt Possum could loose her temper. She's such a mellowed out rat.

I have noticed that the Alpha role might have been pinched from Tasmania by Henna, maybe Tasmania was taking it out on Possum because she had lost her alpha role and wanted to make sure Possum was still beneath her. I know this can happen in wolf-packs if an Alpha gets knocked down a peg or 2, they risk being thrown right to the bottom to the omega role as all the other wolves see it as an opportunity to raise their rank. Maybe Tasmania is feeling a similar threat and doesn't want to be bottom rat, I could never imagine her being at the bottom of rat-pack rankings.

From what i've seen; Henna seems to be Alpha, Tasmania beta, and Possum and Trinity are neutral.

But these things can change so easily, its really difficult to keep tabs on who is Alpha and who outranks who. Was so much more simpler when I had my girls merged with my old housemate's girls. Her Angel (RIP) was a born Alpha through and through. She wouldn't take any nonsense. At first she didn't want to accept any rats, but by persistence she was in charge of 8 other rats at one stage....
My rats: Possum, Tasmania, Henna, & Trinity!
And lastly my kitties; Neko & Oliver.
RIP Toffee, Inky, Boota, Balthazar, Lady Serenity & Rosetta :dumbohalo:

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Re: Ear and cheek pulling?

Post by Dinky » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:28 pm

Jemma wrote:I have generally seen this when a rat wants badly to be dominant but doesn't have the physical ability or confidence to do it. I have found that it generally stops when the rat being hounded looses there temper and puts the offender in there place, or the offender becomes alpha, or I have them neutered (a bit more effective with boys). It is different to barbering, which is a neutral act, much like biting your finger nails (or someone else's lol).
Wilson and Alfie used to do this to our alpha Rex, they were pulling his fur out! Rex didn't seem bothered in the slightest, but he was getting bald cheeks, so we decided the best course of action (since Rex did not tell them off enough to stop them doing it) was to have them both neutered. Post neutered no one ever pulled Rex's cheek fur and his fur grew back fine :)
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