The Rat Shack > Rattie 911 > Behaviour > Reintroductions


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Old 10-15-2017, 04:31 AM   #1
kmvanpelt
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Default Reintroductions

I have a rat dilemma and need some help. Be aware - my story is ridiculous. Sometimes I cant even believe how I got myself into this situation..

I have four 5-month-old litter mates (1 girl/3 boys) that I have hand-raised since they were about 3 days old. These guys are wild-born roof rats (its a loooong story, but I was suckered into caring for these orphans when no rehabilitators could be found - I had every intention of releasing them when the time came, but things didn't go as planned and I am now the official owner of 4, somewhat tame , wild rats).

I purchased a 2 layer Critter Nation cage for the ratties (knowing that out-of cage time would be very sparse and wanting them to have as much space as possible) and, separated the female from the males at 8 weeks of age (boys in the top half of the cage, girl on the bottom). The boys were neutered about 6 weeks ago, and are ready to be reintroduced, but I'm not really sure how to go about it. They have been separated for about 14 weeks (since the first week of July).

These guys are definitely not at all like normal domesticated rats. I sort of got myself into a pickle where they are just too humanized to release, but too wild to really handle. Only one of them is social and enjoys being handled (super weird lesson in nature vs. nurture). None of them bite, but grabbing/holding them is pretty difficult. Getting the two non-social boys out of their cage and into critter carriers for their neuter was a two-person, 1-hour job. So trying to take them all out and find neutral ground for them to "meet" would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.

I try to switch some of their toys and hidey-houses once a week, but don't know what to do other than open they gate separating the two sections of the cage and just observing.

My only other thought is to put the one social guy into the bottom with the girl to "test the waters". He is the only one I feel confident I could quickly grab and remove from the situation should things get crazy.

I don't want the poor girl to live alone her whole live, spent a lot of money on neuters so they could live together, and want them to all enjoy the entire cage to its fullest.

Help!


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Old 10-15-2017, 07:19 PM   #2
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Wow! Let me first say that I think you did the best you could in your situation and you are continuing to do the best you can so bless you for that.

I think i would probably do like you, pull out the tamest guy and put him with the girl and see how that goes. And do this with each boy. Another thing you could do, take every single thing out of the CN, wash it with soap and water to remove as much scent as you can and then open it to up for all 4 and see how that goes. Keep your doors open so you can jump in and save the girl should you need too.


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Old 10-15-2017, 09:56 PM   #3
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Wow I am impressed with the story! I agree that it sounds like you are trying everything you can. It may just take longer than usual considering these are wild rats. Good luck and please keep us posted here!
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Old 10-20-2017, 07:24 PM   #4
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Thank you for the advice! I put my one really tame male (who is also definitely the pack leader) in with the female and it went SO well! They did a little sniffing, but then instantly were co-grooming and snuggling. I watched them for about 15 minutes and then said "what the heck" and opened the gate between the two levels. She fit back in instantly! No aggressive behavior whatsoever!

These wild guys are really funny - they are SO super flighty and nervous about quick movements and loud sounds (can't kick those wild instincts). If you snap your fingers they scatter. I normally find them all packed together like little sardines between the wall of their cage and one of their hidey houses - they accepted the female back into their "sardine huddle" instantly - it was like she never left!

Its been a few days now and its awesome! I literally cant believe how smooth it went! I feel so much better knowing she doesn't have to spend her days alone. In fact, I'm hoping that being with the boys will help her to become more social (she is the wildest - won't even take food from my hand out of fear).

Thanks for the input!

P.S. I tried to take a picture of my social cutie for y'all, but he wouldn't stay still long enough for me to get a clear picture lol
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Old 10-21-2017, 01:37 AM   #5
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lol @the pic... I'm so glad it went so well. My mom had a few half wilds. I know exactly what you mean when you describe your sweeties.


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