How to avoid getting nipped - the terrifying test of will.
This isn't going to save you from the psychotic rats (see "Some rats have psychological problems"), but this is one little trick that I've found works really nicely. It's also a brilliant example of why we should listen to our youth: I learned this effective "trick" from a 4 year old.
If you get rats that are still young, let them eat your fingers. Put peanut Butter or Yogurt or Ice Cream or Whipped Cream on your fingers and let them lick it off. They'll probably try to take your finger with the spreadable yummy back in with them but don't tug your finger away. They may even try to clamp down really hard, but don't take your finger away.
What happens is that they learn, while their jaws aren't strong enough to cause any real damage, that fingers aren't really food, but sometimes those fingers have yummies on them that they like to eat. It teaches them to lick. It also saves you from some little unnecessary cuts later on when they accidentally chomp your finger instead of the small piece of cereal your finger is holding. They end up anxiously snapping your fingers that hold the food and stop just in time not to puncture.
It's crazy, but it works. Just don't flinch or they might bite harder to keep it in the cage.
P.S. Don't try this with older rats. And even if you did this with a younger rat who you later determine to be a bit on the aggressive, delusional, or otherwise psychotic side, don't do it with him either because hormones tend to effectively override any conscious thought.
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Disclaimer: There are many non-sarcastic accounts and tips on the web regarding rat care. This is not
one of them. These are merely accounts of our experiences with rats, our perceptions of these experiences, where we've failed
and where we've succeeded. These accounts are here for two purposes: