Tail-Flicking in Pet Rats, YouTube 1 of 2
Tail flicking is seen in pet rats. If you have any doubt, watch these videos. In some of them, the tail action is quite extraordinary.
The behavior is not tail wagging as we see in dogs, it's more of a reflexive flicking. We usually see the behavior in two very opposite contexts: when the rat is happy, or angry.
I saw my pet rat Bonny, tail-flick when Melody pushed her off her personal whole coconut. Bonny practically sparkled with reactive anger, and her tail flicked with fury.
However, it's the other, positive, emotion that brings me to put this topic in the "Earning Trust" category. These YouTube videos show pet rats being stroked and scritched, and as they lay there blissfully, their tails flick.
Some examples are remarkable. In one, the rat is snuggling with a dog when she tail-flicks. In another, first the rat grooms her human, then the human scritches her, and her tail wags. In another, when the human is done scritching her, the rat licks her hand briefly before scampering off.
You might ask, what if these rats are merely tolerating being touched. When rats don't like something, they tell us in their behavior. They pull away, or flinch, or even push us away. These rats stay in place, quiet, and are very relaxed. I would call tail-flicking an expression of enjoyment in this context.
There may be other reasons rats flick their tails, for example if they are in sudden extreme pain. The last one in this group is different from the rest in that there is no human-rat interaction. As I look at this one, I think I see an agitated rat.
If you have seen this behavior in contexts other than "happy", please contact me.
Enjoy these amazing, tail-flicking rats.
This next video is interesting to me because I don't see a rat demonstrating "happy" behavior. I see agitation, or aggravation. What do you see? What do you think is causing this rat's tail-flicking?
Ending with a sweet entwining of three sleeping rat friends' tails.