> I bought a pair of common white rats from Petsmart. Both are male. One of
> them is like any other rat - intelligent, curious, etc... The other one is a
> little more quite - stays in a corner most of the time. It is active enough
> if you let it out of the cage, but I don't do it often because of a problem
> it has with urinating. I sprays urine when I first pick it up, it sprays
> when I put it down, and it will continue spraying as it walks around. In
> fact I recognize the rat mainly because I know its the one when I pick it up
> my hands get wet. Does anyone know what is wrong with this rat and if there
> is a cure?
The purposes of marking with urine are many, but the three main ones are,
first, to mark a "path" home when one is in unknown territory (they are
more scent-driven than sight-driven in finding their way about); second,
to mark territory for feelings of ownership or group ownership; & third,
to announce one's arrival (adding one's scent to established rat scents).
Surroundings that smell nothing at all like rats they may be more
insistent about marking. All rats mark but males do so more
aggressively. Male rats will sometimes "drag & mark" a long dribble of
pee for the special places they love a great deal, such as your arm, &
this behavior can be modified by quick disapproval, but most forms of
marking & reasons for marking are as natural as eating & breathing. A
nervous rat fearful it has insufficient territory will mark the most; when
it is calmer & tamer it will mark only moderately. When rats get used to
their surroundings they still mark, but just the occasional tiny dab. Most
rats mark less as they grow older in familiar places.
Rats that don't just mark, but give a big long wet piss, have either been
out too long & can't hold it any longer, or it is the same fright response
as rodents will perform when caught by a predator.
The shy one sounds uncomfortable in the new surroundings & has a greater
need to establish territorial safe zones when running about. It may have
been picked on by other rats before you got it, & hasn't yet gained a
sense of safety. If his cage-mate isn't the one picking on him, it should
only take a couple weeks for him to figure out he's now safer than he was
at the pet shop. Getting him to enjoy your presence, associating you with
food treats & pettings, will be the main thing in calming him down, then
he should mark no more than his cagemate does.
-paghat the ra***
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
-from Peter Newell's "Wild Flowers"
See the Garden of Paghat the Ra***: http://www.moonsgarden.com/