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Rat Makes Strange Sound

Learn to recognize the different sounds a rat can make.

By Carol Lawton
Posted: April 1, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT

Q: My fancy rat is about 1-year-old. Lately he’s making rather a strange noise, not a squeaking or wheezy noise, it's a proper sound. I think it could possibly be a mating call or something similar, but would like to make sure it's nothing to be concerned about. My rat seems healthy and happy. He has a good appetite and is very friendly.

A: Rats are usually silent creatures, but there are a few occasions when you may hear noises from your pet. When baby rats are nursing they can be quite loud, but this stops completely once they are weaned. Rats may also make noises when they are playing, fighting or in pain, but these are very recognizable, high-pitched squeaks. And rats make a very unique but enjoyable sound when they grind their teeth together to keep them sharp. This behavior, called bruxing, looks and sounds like your rat is chewing something very quickly. It not only serves a practical purpose, it's also a sign that they are happy. If your rat is making noises other than these, it is cause for concern.
Rats are susceptible to respiratory infections, and even a rat that appears healthy could be developing a serious health problem. A precautionary visit to a veterinarian who is experienced with rodents will either confirm that your rat is healthy or will provide him with the medical treatment he needs so he will live a long and full life.

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Rat Makes Strange Sound

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Reader Comments
My rat started making a guinea pig like sound recently also. I think I reinforced it by taking her out of the cage every time I heard it to check on her. Now whenever I walk by her cage if she is awake she makes her guinea pig noise. We think she might have learned it at a friends house who took care of her for a few weeks as they had a guinea pig. Rats are pretty smart after all!
Louise, Boston, MA
Posted: 10/8/2014 6:50:15 PM
What about a guinea pig warble type sound? Not a squeak or anything like that, if anyone has seen Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories, and remembers the kid's pet guinea pig, Bugsy, my rat Loui makes noises like that. Is it a good sound? Because his brother, Ratatoui ( I know I know lol But the names fit perfectly) very rarely makes any noises
Angie, International
Posted: 5/6/2014 6:54:35 PM
i always thought bruxing was sort of a scraping sound, but now i know it is like a chewing sound. i remember when i had my little rat on my step-brother's shoulder while he was reading aloud and she suddenly began to make a rapid chomping sound as if she were chewing on something, but without something in her mouth. now i know she likes being read to!:)
grace, denver, PA
Posted: 10/14/2010 1:07:33 PM
Both bruxxing and boggling happen when a rat is emotional. I had one girl boggling after she got a skin scraping because she was so mad!
Asa, Wisconsin, WI
Posted: 3/27/2010 1:58:38 PM
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