Do I keep the new rat or not?

Mrs Jumbo

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Aug 8, 2021
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2
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Brighton
Hi, I’m a relative newbie to owning rats so hoping you can help. Sorry for the long question, but probably best to give you the whole story.

We got two baby male rats a year and a half ago and fell head over heels with them so they were handled a lot and grew into very sweet and gentle adult rats. Unfortunately we had to have Whitty put down just over a week ago. He had been at the vets for the preceding week so Vallance had been on his own for a while already. I knew rats are liable to get depressed if on their own so we decided to get another rat as soon as possible. I was struggling to find a suitable male in the vicinity and ended up taking a pair of 1yr old male rescue rats (which I understand was a bad idea). One rat (Rothko) was nervous and jumpy and didn’t like being picked up from the cage. The other one (Twombly) was braver but didn’t like being touched in the cage and bit my daughter and drew blood when she tried to pick him up. They both however seemed quite happy running around on us on the sofa. We put the three rats together in a small neutral cage and they went through the phases of getting to know each other and there was some minor fighting then it calmed down. They were put together in the big cage and although Twombly was pushing Vallance around a bit, it all seemed manageable. Vallance even curled up and went to sleep with Rothko. The next morning however, Vallance was covered in blood. I took him to the vet and he had bites on both feet. He is now on lots of medication on top of the meds he takes for epilepsy. I believed strongly that Twombly had done this (and we were advised that this is common with red eye rats because they are nearly blind and can’t cope with newcomers) but the kids and I decided to take both new rats to a rehoming centre as we didn’t want to split them up. The rehoming centre persuaded us to keep Rothko but we felt really bad about Twombly being on his own. They said they would get Twombly neutered and find him a female rat to keep him company.

I had removed Vallance from the big cage when he was injured, so after Twombly went I put him back with Rothko. Very quickly there was a big fight and Vallance was injured again. He is now terrified of Rothko. I’m really at a loss as to what to do. I’m probably doing many things wrong! Perhaps I should not have put him into ‘Rothko’s cage’. I’m not sure if there is any chance they could live together or if I should take Rothko to the rehoming centre quickly so he can be rehomed with his cagemate. Vallance is my priority. He has been through a lot and not sure what would be best for him. He is very lethargic and not sure if he is lonely or scared or in pain. Could someone suggest the best way forward please. I am a single mum working long hours so I would struggle to find time for training. Thanks so much.
 

Kye

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Joined
Feb 1, 2019
Messages
124
Location
Maine
In my honest opinion I'm not sure keeping the new guy is a good idea seeing as he was separated from possibly the only rat he's ever been with and rats can be solo if given enough attention from the owner. If he's not getting along well with others it might be best to spoil him as a solo instead of trying to pair him up again. But this is just my opinion, others might disagree with me completely !
 

Mrs Jumbo

New Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2021
Messages
2
Location
Brighton
In my honest opinion I'm not sure keeping the new guy is a good idea seeing as he was separated from possibly the only rat he's ever been with and rats can be solo if given enough attention from the owner. If he's not getting along well with others it might be best to spoil him as a solo instead of trying to pair him up again. But this is just my opinion, others might disagree with me completely !
Thanks Kye.
 

lilspaz68

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Jul 21, 2007
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24,214
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Toronto, Canada, Earth
I agree. Your priority is your original rat and since you said he has seizures (what meds is he on for this?) and he's older it may be best for him to just live his life out getting lots of attention from you and your family. I would return the new rat who is obviously stressed.
 

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