Dealing With Rats that Keep Fighting: A Practical Guide

Rats that Keep Fighting

The battle varies with age and gender of the rats and from group to group. The fighting starts as lay fighting when the rats become old enough to begin interacting with their peers. Play fighting will help to train the rats for later life and is also a fun game for enthusiastic young rats. Some adult rats continue “Play fighting” into adult life.

This adult play fighting can differentiate from a severe fight from bouncy, playful approaches of the rats involved. It is not uncommon for rats to win a play match irrespective of their skills or situated in the pack and it can often turn into a lengthy grooming session.

This play-fighting among rats is more common in sibling groups than in mixed groups. The rats that grow up playing fight together often really stop under any circumstances.

Rats usually reach maturity at nearby 5-6 weeks of age; however, they arrive at the social adulthood at around 5-6months of age. As this age, the male rats specifically begin to perform more violently toward each other.

The male rats move from inoffensive play, fighting to more severe adult aggressive. The winner of these fights will impose himself on the other associates of the colony. We human call this as “social dominancy.” Once this dominant hierarchy established, it remains stable for a more extended period.

Rats Street Fight

How do Rats attack Each Other

The play fighting involves the contact and defense of the backend. If a rat contacts the backside of the opponent, then he may try to grasp or bite it.

The rat usually seeks to defend his backside from attack by running away. The rat may also stand and look the attacker and keep whisker-to-whisker communication with him known as “boxing, or by positioning on the back to hide the rear end. As long as the rat remains space or his mustaches, teeth or body among the aggressor and his backside, he has higher chances to prevent the violence.

To counter the self-protective boxing strategy, the aggressor may drip to all four and creep forwards, and thus reach from place to place and impose a bite from the side. To counter the belly-up approach, the aggressor may lay upright on top of the supine rat and attempt to dig underneath him to get access to the rump of the rat.

Both domestic and wild rats contest using these approaches. However, the domestic rats confined to the cages, therefore fight between domestic rats may accelerate more as fleeing is not possible.

There are more chances of fights between the resident rats and stranger or new rat introduced to the colony. The dominant rat who is resident of the cage presses maximum of the attacks, especially on male invaders. Female rats may also attack intruders. Violence towards new or stranger rat can be severe and sometimes fatal.

Reasons for Aggressive Behaviour

There are several reasons for the rats to become aggressive. These causes may include due to hormones as all the rats go through a teenage stage at around six months to a year old.


In this age, the rat hormones can be overwhelming the rat, and this may lead to aggression. Another reason for rat aggression can be any sort of stress—the stress factors like loss of a friend,  change in the environment, or sudden diet change. 

Rats Body Language


The rat can be aggressive due to illness. If the rat is in pain, or unwell, then the offensive behaviour will appear in rats. Some rats are hereditary aggressive. Some rats may release pheromones in the urine and these pheromones in males, mark out the territory of that male that provoke aggressiveness in other rats.

Both males and females can express aggressive behaviour. However, males are more prone to aggressive behaviour.

Pet Rats Fighting


There are several things for dealing with the rat fight, and these are as follow:


Coping with the aggression of rats, or any other negative behaviour in the pets, the owner must have great patience and understanding. Changing any negative behaviour may take time and at the same time as the vanilla essence will help.

If the rats living in the colony and biting out of fear, then it is the responsibility of the owner to generate a trusting relationship with the pets.

The better way to develop a relationship with rats is by sitting next to the cage and let the rats sniff to the owner. Producing a relation with rat may take time, but it is worth in the end.

Spray with Water

To deal with the fights between the rats have a plant mister of water at hand. Spray the rats if they start fighting and if this doesn’t work then place a towel over them.

Homeopathy: Natural Methods

Another excellent tool to deal with rat fighting is through behavioural and health problems. Homoeopathy is a natural way of treatment, so there are no side effects of these medicines, but they do work.

The homoeopathy medicines are in granules form that has calming effects and will help to curb the aggression within a few days. These homoeopathy medicines will not affect the personality of the pet but do change their lives.

A Secret Weapon / Vanilla

A secret weapon to control rat aggression is vanilla essence. Applying vanilla essence at the base of rat’s tails and on the backs will help to control the aggressiveness of rats.

There is no harm if the rats lick each other. The scent of vanilla essence will cover up the smell of rats. In case, rats show aggression to the owner; then the owner must rub some of the vanilla essences on rats and some on their hands. In this way, both smell the same and rats will have a good relationship with the owner.


Reduction of stress can also have a positive effect to control the aggressive behaviour of rats. It is the individual responsibility of the owner to look after the rats. The owner must watch for any signs of illness.


The rats can become aggressive due to many diseases. The rat can also become aggressive if they have sudden environmental changes or if they lose any of their companions.

The owner must check the environment to make it comfortable for the rats. Add a companion as rats are very social animals, and they love to have another friend to snuggle up to, play with, and groom. Female rats are easier to introduce as compare to male rats.

A Final Possibility Neuter / Spay

Finally, after the use of everything and nothing helped to control rat’s aggression, then it is the time to neuter the rats. In male rats, the attack may be a cause of hormones and neutering will help to stop the extra hormones intensity around the rat’s little body.

Several studies are describing that neutering rats will stop the aggression in pets and make their life happier. After surgery, rats do need the owner help for a few days, and then the rats will trust you with minus aggression.

Pros and Cons of Pet Rats

Rat Breeder Associations

Rat AssociationLocationLink
American Fancy Rat $ Mouse AssociationUnited StatesAFRMA
Rat & Mouse Club of AmericaUntied StatesRMCA
National Fancy Rat SocietyUnited StatesNFRS
North of England Rat SocietyUKNERS
UK National Pouched Rat SocietyUKNPRS

FAQ Rats Fighting

Is it Normal For Rats to Fight

Yes, especially when they are young. It begins with Play fighting. As they get Older it can progress into hormones and seeking dominate. Rats are Social Animals so they crave companionship. And They Love to Play.
Actual Fighting can be the Result of many items look above, but it occurs in both Male and Female Rats

Why Are My Rats Fighting

Your Rats may be fighting for many Reasons,
New Rat Introduced to family
Playing / Exercise
Marking Territory

How Do I Stop My Rats From Fighting

Vanilla Essense works great, changing the Rats Scent. If it is Play fighting, just referee, if it is serious you can seperate and use a water sprayer to discourage any real fighting

Why is my rat attacking my other rat

Playing and Exercise, Dominance the Senior or more Aggressive Rat is showing the others who is in Charge. They are Social Animals. They can be fighting over Territory

Why Is My Rat Biting My Other Rat

If the Rats are Actually Biting Each other it can become fatal. Need to seperate and see if you can determine the Reasons. There can be Many. One Rat is Ill, In Pain, Nutritional Defiencies.
This especially Happens when introducing a New Rat. They are establishing Heiarchy. This can be either a male or Female. They both under the right circumstances become aggressive.

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