So I have fancy rats, and all the handbooks and websites etc. say NEVER EVER put your hand between two rats fighting coz you will get bitten. Now because I’ve raised all of my rats from youth and I’m an idiot and don’t care about getting the occasional nip or even hard chomp, I do it anyway. Nothing bad has ever happened in the year I’ve owned rats.
Only we recently got a rat from a breeder who was putting the ol’ girl up for retirement, so she’s already old and grown up and not so used to me, my scent, my hands, or the way I do things. So she’s at the other cage of rats (there’s two cages and they are each others’ sworn nemeses) and they’re nibbling, grabbing, hissing, and generally threatening each other and I’ve stopped her several times by this point and kinda pissed off that she’s not listening to me, so – because, as I said, I’m an idiot – I grab her. From behind.
She turns. And she’s bites me.
I’m not surprised. She was in full attack mode, her back arched, hissing like a cat. If she had fur (she’s hairless) it would have been standing on end. And she was probably scared shitless, being grabbed like that. They are genetically prey animals, after all. And she’s only known me about three weeks.
One of the others, Crispies, who is always pissing off her opposing cage and has a bit of an attitude generally, always turns around to defend herself when I pick her up during a brawl, but never bites. Shes like, these are my teeth. I could attack if I wanted. I’m a big scary mouse. Don’t mess with me. And I’m like, silly Crispies you won’t bite me and she’s like, K but only coz I love you and you feed me.
Sometimes she’ll then lick me. And the brawl will be left forgotten (until next time…).
Maybe little hairless mouse hasn’t come to love me yet. Maybe she’s dealt with some tough broads in her time, I don’t know.
But she didn’t take kindly to being suddenly grabbed from behind, so she grabbed back. With her teeth. She sunk ’em in. And she didn’t let go. I lifted my hand, and she didn’t let go.
She punctured my hand.
The weirdest part was that she bit me in the webbed part between my thumb and forefinger. When I detached her from my hand, there was no blood.
She had bitten right through the skin, but I couldn’t see muscle or blood on the other side.
So that was how I learnt the hard way that hands are hollow.
[My beautiful artwork, illustrating the scene. Accurate representation of my hair.]
But yeah, there was a hole in my hand. I could see into my hand.
A few seconds later the blood from the broken skin came gushing and my fiancée had to get a plaster.
We think the new little ratty might me ill, or at least stressed, and we’re taking her to the vets the day after tomorrow just in case. Nothing like that has ever happened to us before, and we have a couple of chompers. But I have read that injuries like that can happen, almost always at the fault of the human that was bitten. So I guess I learned my lesson.
I hope this post effectively freaked/grossed you out.
Also I’d like to take this opportunity to say, rats are great pets! They’re are seriously lovely and wonderful and fun and cute and fluffy and gorgeous! But don’t ever grab a rat when it’s fighting. I learnt this the hard way.
Also that hands are hollow.