If you’ve seen your pet rat’s eyes shaking and boggling you might have wondered if there was something wrong with your rat. Maybe it was just your imagination! It wasn’t. It did happen and it is fairly normal. There’s no need to worry, pet rats tend to do this quite often and is in no way harmful.
Why are your pet rat’s eyes boggling? When your pet rats’ eyes boggle and shake, this means that the rat is relaxed and happy. It’s basically the equivalent of a cat purring.
This also happens due to the bruxing of the teeth, which is something normal for rats. Careful though, bruxing doesn’t always mean that they’re happy, there’s actually quite a lot of signs for you to look for to understand how your companion is feeling!
What Is Boggling In Rats?
If your pet rats eyes are bulging in and out, that’s a good thing, they are boggling.
This is anatomy based. When they grind their teeth (bruxing) it makes the eyes move this way. Intense boggling means that your pet rat is happy and relaxed.
Here’s a cute little video of how boggling looks like so you can better understand what I mean.
Specifically speaking, rats have a muscle attached to their jaw bones and it’s responsible for the grinding and chewing. Now, the reason why the eyes boggle so much is that this muscle goes all the way to the back of the sockets. So as it tightens and loosens very fast, their eyes will boggle like crazy.
You might have noticed this movement when they eat as well, for example! And, of course, the more excited and happy they are, the more their eyes will boggle. Sometimes the eyes really look like they’re ready to pop off, but don’t worry! They won’t and it’s a very good sign if your rattie is behaving this way.
It means they’re comfortable and very happy with their environment. Sometimes it also means they are happy with their meal and very ready to take a nice nap!
If you’ve had your new companion for little time and he starts doing this bruxing and boggling, this is a huge step for you and them. Rats can be very timid at first and need some time to get used to being handled.
So if your new friend starts to do this when being handled, it means they like you and are happy with your petting!
What Does Rat Bruxing Mean?
Now, your rat might be bruxing but not be happy.
There are a lot of reasons why your rats are bruxing and I know this might sound confusing. It’s all a matter of reading their body language!
If your rattie is happy, the bruxing should be accompanied with the eye-boggling mentioned above, but their bodies will also be relaxed. For example, they lay on your lap, completely relaxed, looking almost like a rat pancake. Or they look very energetic and lick your hands!
These are usually signs that your rat is comfortable around you.
On the other hand, if they stand very still while being handled, trying to look as small as they can. Start to vibrate a lot and their fur becomes too puffed, this means they feel the exact opposite! These are signs of stress. If so, try to leave them be.
Finally, your rat can also be bruxing if they’re sick. If they stay too still, try to hide a lot and, again, their fur is puffed, do take a look at them and bring them to a veterinary. Rats are prey animals, this means that they’ll hide their wounds or sickness so they don’t look as weak.
There’s just one more reason for your rat’s bruxing that I want to mention: the teeth! Rats teeth are continuously growing. They usually control this by chewing on things. This is why it’s so important to give them good, chewy food and even some toys that are safe for them to chew.
If your rat bruxes a lot and continuously, it might be a sign that the teeth are growing too much, as you can read in this article here. If this is happening, go to the vet as soon as possible.
Their teeth are very important and leaving the situation be might cause serious problems for them and even keep them from eating properly. It can also be a fairly common issue, so the faster you notice something off, the better. Maybe it’s nothing or maybe their teeth will start to need some maintenance and clipping with the help of the vet.
The important is to keep them healthy and happy!
Why Is My Pet Rat Bruxing Loudly?
If your pet rat is bruxing and chattering their teeth very loudly, leave them alone!
Most of the times this is due to high stress. Do keep an eye on them and see if they relax after some time. Besides all the signs I’ve mentioned before, loud bruxing is a sign of stress.
When your rattie is happy and comfortable, they won’t brux very loudly. In fact, you’ll notice it more because of the boggling than the noise.
I’d say it is fairly easy to understand if your rat is not feeling good. Their behavior will change a lot. Remember that rats are very energetic and curious animals, which means that when they’re not sleeping, they’ll want to move and play around.
If they’re not as energetic, chances are something is wrong. Some rats though will be very clear about being sick. If they trust you and are feeling very bad, they will show you their usuals signs, such as bruxing, puffy fur and walking slowly and too close to the ground. The difference here is that they might not hide from you.
I’ve had a rat that would be very clear about it. She wouldn’t hide, in fact, she would try to come to me for comfort! Others though, I would notice because they wouldn’t leave their hiding places, not even for treats!
The most important is to know your companions and understand their body language. If something is up with your rat, you’ll definitely know!
Of course, you might not be used to your new pets and their behaviors yet, so these are all signs to look for to know if they’re comfortable or not.
Again, if you do suspect that your pet rat is sick, don’t hesitate to bring them to a vet! Rats are very sensible and they health can deteriorate very quickly if they’re not treated on time or properly.
Are There Any Other Signs Of Affection From Pet Rats?
Yes!! Rats are very good at showing their affection.
It can be very simple things like running to you, whenever they hear or see you nearby. If you’re out of the house for some time, you’ll notice, once your back, that they run to the entrance of their cage to greet you and wanting to go to you because they’ve missed you and your company so much!
They like to groom their owners as they are part of the family. Rats are very clean and groom themselves constantly. They do this not only to themselves but also to each other. If they lick you as they’re near you or being handled, it’s a sign of affection and caring. It means you’re part of their group.
Licking also has a few different meanings, which you can read in my article here.
If your ratties come to you and lay next to you, it is an obvious sign that they love you and like being with you. It is even more amazing if they roll on their backs to get rubs!
This one can really depend on your companion’s personality. Some will really hate to get belly rubs, but others will let you and even invite you to do it. The reason for this is because, as I’ve mentioned, they’re prey animals.
The belly is a very weak spot, so they’ll keep it safe and hidden. That’s why they’ll stand very close to the ground if they’re scared or nervous. They’re defending themselves as much as they can.
So if your ratties like belly rubs and invites you to it, be sure to give them a lot of it!
What You Need To Know About Boggling
It’s completely normal for your rats’ eyes to boggle and shake!
This is accompanied by bruxing and it is compared to a cat’s purr or a dog’s wagging tail. If they are energetic or very relaxed and show signs of it, it means they’re happy and comfortable!
Remember to always learn and observe their behavior though. Your companion might be bruxing for other reasons. They could be very stressed or even sick.
The signs to note for when they’re happy are the following:
- Bruxing accompanied by eye-boggling
- Very relaxed posture
- Energetic stance
On the other hand, if your rattie isn’t feeling good they’ll:
- Brux very loudly
- The fur will be very puffy and less shiny
- Try to hide and walk very close to the ground
- Will hide from you
These are the usual signs to look for in your companions. But very easily you’ll know your pet rat personality and know if their feeling well or not in an instant!
On a final note, if you’re pet rat is grooming it can mean more than just happiness. So be sure to check up on the signs and figure out exactly why your pet rat is grooming by reading the article here!
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