Letter | Published:

Peculiar Behaviour in a Female Rat

Naturevolume 134page778 (1934) | Download Citation



It is not uncommon for the female rat to exhibit disapproval of a male rat introduced into her premises and to allow her hostile attitude to include any other female sharing her cage. Her attitude towards the male, at such times, is merely defensive—if he approaches her, she rises on her hind legs and utters cries of distress, repelling him with her forepaws. The circumstances seem to have demanded stronger measures from a female rat recently observed. At the same time as her litter was removed, a male was placed in her cage. Immediately she drove him to a corner in the forefront of the cage, where he was obliged to stand on his hind-legs and to remain so standing, while she excitedly brought pieces of hay and, literally, walled him in. Her actions were accompanied frequently by protesting cries which became vehement if he tried to fall on all-fours. The hay was patted in place, to the full height of, the cage, so that she might not see him. She herself was totally without bedding ultimately. The state of siege lasted for some six or seven hours, when a truce was apparently arranged.

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  1. Institute of Animal Genetics, King's Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh

    • A. M. HAIN


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