Why Do Rats Squeak When Being Groomed?

If you’ve looked into your rats’ enclosure and seen them grooming each other and one of them starts to squeak, it can seem like something is wrong with them.

Sometimes that can look like something that you should be concerned about, so why do rats squeak when being groomed?

Rats squeak when being groomed by another rat when the rat that’s grooming them is being way too rough with them. So they start squeaking to try to tell the rat that is grooming them to stop doing it so hard.

Most of the time it’s nothing to worry about, but on occasion, there can be situations where you may have to step in and separate your pet rats.

Why Does My Rat Squeak When Being Groomed?

Has there ever been a time where you’ve seen one of your rats grooming one of your other rats and the one that’s being groomed starts squeaking?

That can look and sound strange when they start displaying this type of behavior, so what’s going on here?

Well, what’s mainly happening is one of the rats is power grooming the other rat, and when they start to do that it can feel a little aggressive to the rat that’s being groomed.

So when the rat that’s getting groomed is being groomed too hard, then they will start squeaking.

That’s because the rat that’s doing the grooming is being just a little too rough with them while they’re doing it.

It can seem really aggressive but rats show dominance in different ways and power grooming is one of their ways of showing who’s dominant over who.

So when the grooming gets too rough for them what you’ll usually hear is one of the rats squeaking in an attempt to tell the one that’s grooming them to lighten up a little bit.

Another reason why the squeaking can start when one of them is being groomed by the dominant rat is when the rat that’s being groomed is trying to acknowledge that the other one is the boss.

The same can be said if you’re grooming one of your rats and they start squeaking at you as well.

So if they’re squeaking while you’re grooming them then it’s a sign that they’re submitting to the dominance that’s being shown to them.

Is It Normal For Rats To Squeak When Being Groomed?

So because this type of behavior can seem really odd it’s natural to wonder if it’s normal when they do this.

Well, you can rest assured that this is normal behavior for them and it’s one of the many ways that pet rats bond and play with each other.

It usually only happens when a certain rat, usually the more dominant one, grooms one of the other rats.

Sometimes the dominant rat will get too excited and that can cause them to be a little rough and they’ll start power grooming the other rat.

So it’s perfectly natural for one of the rats to be rough when they get overly excited and go too far when grooming one of their cagemates.

That can mean that when one of your rats starts squeaking, it’s usually just because the grooming can make them feel a little uncomfortable when it’s being done to them in a rough way.

When Should You Be Concerned If Your Rats Squeak When Being Groomed?

Sometimes the grooming can look really aggressive and it can seem like one of the rats is hurting the other when they start squeaking because they’re being groomed too hard.

But while it might look aggressive to us, the grooming usually isn’t all that rough, it can just get a little uncomfortable for them sometimes.

So most of the time you shouldn’t be too worried when this is happening because it’s completely natural for them to display this type of behavior with each other.

Even when the rat that’s being groomed becomes too uncomfortable and tries to run away, as long as they’re only squeaking at each other you wouldn’t need to be that concerned as well.

That being said though, the times that you should be concerned is if you see any blood being drawn from their encounter with each other.

Although this type of situation doesn’t happen that often unless they start getting too aggressive with one another and it turns into a fight.

It’s common for pet rats playing and fighting with each other to look similar, but when blood is drawn you’ll know that they’re actually fighting.

It’s at this point that you should be concerned and start to take action by possibly separating them for a while until they’ve calmed down.

Checking On A Squeaking Rat When They’re Being Groomed

A lot of the time you won’t have to do much except keep an eye on them when you hear one of your rats squeaking while they’re getting groomed.

That way you’ll be better prepared and can react quickly just in case you need to intervene if a fight breaks out and any blood is shed between your rats.

Even if you’re the one grooming and petting your rat and they start squeaking, you should still check to see if they’re too uncomfortable with what you’re doing.

So if they seem like they don’t like it when you groom them then it’s best if you stop and give them some space.

Because if they become too annoyed while you’re grooming them then they may lash out at you if you don’t stop.

But that’s not that common as long as you’re not stressing them out by grooming them too hard.

So most of the time if a rat starts squeaking when being groomed by either another rat or by their owner it’s usually nothing too serious.

But you can always check on them if it sounds like it’s getting too aggressive when the squeaking starts just to be on the safe side.


Hi, I'm Mason, I've kept small animals as pets since I was 8 years old. I love to learn and talk about them basically every day. Over the years I've adopted small pets like hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs.

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