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Fancy Rats - Pet rat terms
Category: Animals and Nature > Pet rats
Date & country: 02/03/2012, UK
Words: 70

[ a-goo-ti ]Variety of rat colouring. Show standard requires it to be a rich ruddy brown, evenly ticked with black guard hairs. Base fur dark grey to black. Belly fur to be silver grey. Foot colour to match top. Eyes black. In reality, agoutis come in a whole range of tones, some quite dark overall, some brighter, some almost sandy. This is the natural colouring of wild rats.

Excessive grooming in which the fur is nibbled off. Rats may barber each other or themselves, in which case frequent areas of barbering and subsequent bald spots on other rats are the head, face, neck and shoulders. There may be an underlying health reason for barbering.

material used in nesting box for sleeping on

Belly groom
One rat grooms another rat's belly. May be an attempt to reach the nape, which is the goal of play fighting.

Black eyed white

A sub-genre of bin-surfing; where bin-surfing rats discover the potential of a tipped-over bin as a means of propelling themselves across the room by running round the inside rim like a wheel.

An extreme sport for rats in which they propel themselves into the waste paper bin, forage around for a bit, then jump back out again!

Often accompanying bruxing, the rat's eyes bulge and then go back to normal repeatedly and rapidly. Disconcerting on first viewing but perfectly natural.

Two rats stand on their hind legs face to face and nearly nose to nose, and push or paw at each other with their front legs and paws, usually around the head, neck, shoulders and front legs of their opponent. Boxing is a defensive strategy.(see nose-off)

The sound made when a raspberry is blown on a rat's tummy.

When a rat grinds it's teeth together, usually softly. A sign of contentment.

male rat

Where scuffling rats attempt to squish each other or push each other off things using their haunches. Looks a bit like a novelty Seventies disco move, and is the natural conclusion of the 'evil rat side-shuffle'.

louder and may contain more sharp crackling sounds than bruxing. Often heard when rat is stressed.

What rats do to particularly expensive cage accessories

congestive heart failure

An affectionate term for a rat's cheeks/jowls, which are particularly good for tickling.

A rat digs by pulling handfuls of dirt backwards with their front paws, making a pile under their belly. Often seen in flowerpots during free-range time.

female rat

A rat graps another rat's skin in its teeth and attempts to pull the rat in a particular direction. Often seen in mother rats.

A variety of rat where the ears are set low on the sides of the head.

Ear wiggle
Female vibrates her ears rapidly when in season/heat.

As in 'a pile of eepers' or 'I must have some of those cute eepers!' A word used to describe baby rats, from naked pink kittens to about 12 weeks of age.

A short sharp blow of air through the nose and mouth, usually accompanied with a disdainful look and a cursory twitch of the whiskers. This is often seen as an aggressive gesture through bars of the cage at unknown rats and even humans in the nervous rat.

To strike with an out-stretched arm, usually achieved through the bars of a cage and usually unexpected by the recipient.

A friendly term for one of our furry friends. Can be pluralised.

'Get More Cages!' A side effect of GMR.

'Get more rats!' A highly infectious condition which, once taken hold, can be nigh on impossible to treat successfully without a course of eepers.

Head bob/sway
Movement of the head up and down or side to side. Rats bob their heads in order to gain a sense of visual depth. Albinos and pink eyed rats may sway more often than rats with dark eyes.

Noise made when rats are very close to or in contact with each other and in conflict eg. during intros. Hisses tend to last about 1 second and be from the more submissive rat.

see foof

see mount

May occur when a sidling rat approaches another very closely. The hind foot closest to the second rat kicks out, karate like, and may contact the second rat on the flank or higher on the the back.

a baby rat

material used in a toilet corner

'Must Get Rats!' A mutation of GMR. MGR is even more difficult to resist than GMR, because you have no resident rats to snuggle and temporarily cure the symptoms!

The collective noun for a group of rats. Also, something they are very good at getting up to.

One rat places its forequarters on another rat's rump from behind. Mounting is what is seen when a male engages with a female prior to mating. Mounting is also sometimes seen between rats of the same sex, to establish dominance, during play, but can also be in an aggressive context, and often females will mount a cagemate that is in season.

Rats may nibble their own skin or that of other rats with their teeth. Under normal circumstances they do not bite off the fur, but rather appear to be combing the fur with their teeth and nibbling the skin underneath. (Like eating corn on the cob) If nibbling is excessive it may become self-barbering or barbering of another rat.

Light pinching contact with the teeth, skin unbroken. May cause the other rat to squeak

A word not present in the vocabularly of rats, even when shouted.

Two rats stand immobile, facing each other. The rats may have all four paws on the ground, or may have one or both front paws up (preceding boxing). Sometimes one rat leans in toward the other while the second rat leans away from him (the rat who leans in is often the dominant rat). Generally, the closer the rats are to each other, the more intense the encounter. The nose-off may be accompanied wi...

pink eyed white

Phenols are chemicals contained in the oil/sap of woods such as cedar and pine.

The eating of non-nutritive substances like bedding, dirt etc. Pica is the rat's response to nausea, as rats cannot be sick.

The collective name for a group of sleeping rats all snuggled up together in a heap.

When one rat holds another to the floor/against the cage bars. Often the pinned rat will be on it's back. Pinning happens during normal play, but is also seen during dominance struggles.

Power groom
When one rat grooms another particularly enthusiasically, especially grooming the belly while pinning the other rat.

When a rats tail whips around in a circular motion to aid balance eg. when they feel insecurely held.

Put to sleep. To help an ailing rat on its way over 'The Bridge' in as painless a way as possible.

Rainbow Bridge
rats cross this to 'rat heaven' after they die.

to steal someone else's rat although forum members often express the desire to do this, it is not something that is encouraged in real life

A rat who is particularly fond of cleaning their owner's teeth, whether the owner likes it or not.

Scent marking
the rat deposits drops of urine as he moves around. Considered an advertisement of the rat's presence and a sex attractant. Males tend to scent mark most.

A particular kind of scratch which only a rat appreciates, most often performed between the ears or on the tummy.

see kick

When scrapping rats size each other up and attempt to initimidate each other with tail swishing, bottom-wiggling and evil looks out of the corners of their eyes.

a threatening posture where one rat (often but not always the dominant one) approaches another rat sideways , with his back strongly arched, and gets close or makes contact with the other rat.


a squish is a large laid back rat, generally an adult buck but some does may achieve the necessary degree of cuddleability

Position adopted by a rat when they want to be let out of their cage. Involves hanging from the cage bars with arms and legs spread out like a starfish!

when rats collect and hoard food or stolen objects.

material used on the base of the cage

see head bob

Tail swish
tail moves snake like on the ground, and may bang on the floor. The movement may involve the entire tail, or as little as the tail tip. Tail writhing is frequently seen during nose-offs. Tail writhing may indicate a high degree of tension or excitement, possibly negative excitement.

The correct term for a rat's whiskers.

A sound often accompanying the bruxing and made by the rat exhaling through the nose whilst twitching the whiskers, often in an owner's ear.

Rats prefer this to be pluralised. A small yoghurt based treat, usually used as a bribe or reward. Must be fed with love.

the action of virtually ratnapping someone else's rat over the internet.

the transmission of any infectious disease from any non-human animal to humans and vice versa (although the transmission of disease from humans to non-human animals is often called reverse zoonosis).