Major Rat Body Language - RattyRat
RattyRat was a premier website with a wealth of information about pet rats. While the site has closed down, the owner grants permission to JoinRats to host some of the wonderful content, so that it's not forever lost. Here, the section on Body Language of rats. What a wonderful start: “All animals have a language which they use to communicate with each other. Some is verbal. Some is physical. Learning what your rats are trying to say to you is a very important part to understanding them better. The following is descriptions of some of the rat's more common behaviors and vocalizations organized by category.”
Now read on and view great photographs and descriptions on “Signs of Joy”, “Signs of Fear or Pain”, “Signs of Annoyance”, “Signs of Anger”, “Agonistic Behaviors” [Full disclosure: RattyRat called this dominance, which I believe to be outdated and misleading], “Marking Behavior”, “Signs of Sexual Arousal”, and lots more under “Miscellaneous”.
For this first section on Joy, I will add that Bruxing, Boggling, and Tail-Flicking can also be signs of annoyance or anger. A good way to think about the behavior in general is that it occurs when the rat is physiologically aroused, either positively (as in happy) or negatively (as in unhappy). For tail-flicking, many video examples can be found in Tail-Flicking in Pet Rats, YouTube 1 of 2 and in Tail-Flicking in Pet Rats, YouTube 2 of 2. At the bottom of the second page is one video where the rat appears annoyed.
Although RattyRat called the following group 'dominance' behaviors, the are better described as Agonistic Behaviors. You can read more about these behaviors in :
Grateful thanks to RattyRat for many years of published wisdom about pet rats, and for granting permission to JoinRats to host this content, including the fantastic photographs of pet rats in action.