Hello! My rat family just grew ♥️

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RescueRatMom

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Jul 20, 2020
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3
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Indiana
I'm mom to seven girls precious girls right now. They have a safe room to run in and spend time with me outside their cage every day. I served all their food in forage toys (homemade or for parrots) for enrichment.

Four of my girls live all together in a double Critter Nation. One is 2yrs 3mos and the other three (sisters) are 1yr 7mos.

I wanted to add to the family, so I recently adopted three more rats. One is one year old and she has a Rat Manor, and the other two are a mom and baby pair. Mom is 1yr 5mos and Baby is 2mos. They have a single Critter Nation and Baby loves all her room to run.

The one-year-old solo girl was surrendered to the shelter because she was fighting with her cagemate and the shelter recommended keeping her alone, but in talking to them I learned they didn't know much about her previous situation and they said it would be all right for me to try introducing her to my family if we took it slow.

I'm not sure what order to go about introducing them in. Should I introduce my solo girl to my older girls first so she doesn't have to be lonely long (assuming it works out), or should I introduce Mom and Baby to them first? Or is it better to do it all at once? It's my instinct to introduce my solo girl to the older girls first so I can see how she does with rats who can hold their own before she meets Baby.

If my solo girl is too aggressive to be housed with my other girls, would there be any reason to think she might do well with a neutered male cagemate? I have never had male rats and don't know much about them. I give her as much human time as possible but obviously it would be infinitely better to have a friend for her.

I hope it's all right to ask questions in this section! I looked around and it seemed like it was done but I can move my question to Behavior if that is better. :)
 

lilspaz68

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Congratulations on the new additions. :) I would definitely start slow with the older girls...they are less likely to react to any behaviours of hers. Start with a neutral territory and see how the newbie reacts to the older ladies. Does she puff up, drop her head, sidle, chatter her teeth? Does she try to mount the other girls? These are all dominant possibly aggressive behaviours. chattering teeth can also be fear but its less likely to be. A fear reaction would be rearing up with mouth open. So let us know how she does (or even better, video it after you are sure you can not watch like a hawk)...try to prevent rat balls if they seem like they are going to fight.
 

RescueRatMom

New Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2020
Messages
3
Location
Indiana
Thank you so much for your reply! I followed your advice and started introducing my lonely girl to my older girls. She was pretty much exclusively defensive. Rearing up with paws up, but no open mouth. My most dominant rat and occasionally one of the others were puffing up, approaching her sideways, huffing at her and kicking with back legs. She would let them approach and then push them with one of her front paws and they would fall over and let her briefly pin them.

She behaves really well and has had five playtimes with them. I did notice last night that she was very obviously in heat and was hyperactive and kind of seemed to be annoying the older girls. She's the first rat I've had that has visible shown in-heat behaviors and I wonder if her previous family might have misinterpreted her behavior if they had also not seen it before, since she does not seem to actually be over-aggressive.

She did have a small altercation while playing this evening where she pinned my oldest girl (who is not the most dominant). There was squeaking but no blood and no rat ball. I get the feeling she will probably end up second in the rattie hierarchy. But my most dominant girl is far far more aggressive and after watching her interact with my solo girl I'm actually a bit worried about her meeting Baby.
 
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