Help introducing terrified rats

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by floopy, Jan 18, 2018.

  1. Jan 18, 2018 #1

    floopy

    floopy

    floopy

    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2018
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NULL
    Hi everyone. I'm in need of desperate help with introductions.
    Originally, I had 2 rats- Pepino and Chip. I tried introducing a third, Floopy, when Floopy was young and Pepino was a few months old, and Chip was 2 years old. Floopy was extremely terrified- he would hiss, run, jump, pretty much do everything to avoid the others. I tried the carrier method, the bathtub, and in a fun playpen to introduce, and Floopy remained terrified. I eventually moved them in together anyway, thinking Floopy would get over it, but for 2 months he pretty much stayed in one corner of the cage and would hiss/scream whenever the other rats went near him. I decided to remove him, since I felt that this was not a quality life.

    After 4 months of living alone, I got Floopy 2 babies- Charlie and Darwin. I did introductions using the carrier method, and things were great for a while (they would sleep together and didn't seemed bothered by one another). After 3 months as the babies got older, Floopy began chasing the babies around the cage (never drew blood), which resulted in the babies being terrified of him. They stopped sleeping together, and the babies would constantly avoid him (both in and out of the cage).
    2 weeks ago, I had to put Chip to sleep, which left his cagemate Pepino alone. I tried introducing Pepino (Pepino is neutered) to Floopy and the babies using the carrier method, and Floopy drew blood on Pepino. I finally decided to keep Floopy alone once again, since he was causing too much stress to the babies and Pepino seemed to need the friends more than Floopy at that time. I'm still trying introductions between all four, but am at a standstill. Pepino and the babies are doing great together. I tried introducing everyone in the bathtub, but the babies just tried to jump out or run from Floopy. I tried on the bathroom floor with toys, but the babies just climb up my legs onto my shoulders or run away from Floopy, which makes Floopy chase them. Floopy and Pepino are doing better, but that's because Pepino is super chill and doesn't run away from Floopy. Floopy is always very stiff, and rubs his sides against Pepino and the boys.

    Does anyone have any advice? I have money set aside to neuter him if need be, but I'm just not sure if that would even help at this point, since it seems that Floopy never liked other rats.
     
  2. Jan 18, 2018 #2

    Sheldon

    Sheldon

    Sheldon

    Rataholic

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2013
    Messages:
    2,084
    Likes Received:
    579
    Location:
    North Texas
    I wonder if Floopy would do better with female companions?
     
  3. Jan 18, 2018 #3

    Sheldon

    Sheldon

    Sheldon

    Rataholic

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2013
    Messages:
    2,084
    Likes Received:
    579
    Location:
    North Texas
    Neutering could go a long way to helping him. I would definitely suggest doing that.
     
  4. Jan 18, 2018 #4

    floopy

    floopy

    floopy

    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2018
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NULL
    I'm reluctant to neuter because of the risks involved, and because I feel like it will do little to nothing. If he wasn't a fan of other rats before he hit ratty puberty, then it must not be hormonal, so neutering would not make a difference. I also wondered about trying with a female, but I unfortunately cannot afford to adopt another rat with my current financial situation.
     
  5. Jan 18, 2018 #5

    SQ

    SQ

    SQ

    Senior Member - Vegan for the animals

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    16,796
    Likes Received:
    546
    Location:
    New Brunswick Canada
    If you have a good vet experienced in neutering rats who is able to do it safely, neutering might help a lot. It sounds like he was ok with the boys until they started to grow up and become teen males ....... so a couple of spayed baby girls might be ok with him

    you might also want to check out joinrats.com
     
  6. Jan 18, 2018 #6

    floopy

    floopy

    floopy

    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2018
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NULL
    Thank you. I contacted a rescue and they are willing to perform a spay for a lot cheaper than a neuter, but I really don't think I'll be able to take on yet another rat.

    I've read on this forum that some people try putting water in the tub and some floating platform in the hopes that they will all seek the dry spot together, encouraging them to bond. I am also leaving for college in a few days, which is a 5 hour car ride. Do you think trying water in the bathtub and then immediately transferring to their car carrier may help? Or should I try the water in the tub method a few days in advance and try it a couple of times first?
     
  7. Jan 18, 2018 #7

    SQ

    SQ

    SQ

    Senior Member - Vegan for the animals

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    16,796
    Likes Received:
    546
    Location:
    New Brunswick Canada
    It might - it frightens rats so much that they will forget about attacking one another and lets them learn that they can be near another rat without getting attacked - and after several times doing this, then you move on to the first intro step - but it also sounds hormonal so I doubt this will be the answer ...... I have also put rats on my lap when they have been afraid of other rats to get them feeling safe and to learn that the other rats will not attack them, and then move on to starting the first intro step - danger exists of being bitten by mistake by frightened rat - but again I think your problem is hormonal as well as fear ........... joinrats.com suggests other things so check out that site.

    I would not be putting rats that can not get along into the same container for a trip .... what will you do during the drive if one attacks another?

    I rescued a boy named Christmas who was terrified of other rats and would try to kill them - the SPCA were I got him had a blood splattered room from when he tried to kill another rat .... after a neuter and waiting months, I finally introed him in with 4 older babies (2 m 2 f) - all boys were neutered and girls were spayed as soon as they were large enough. Christmas loved them but also needed his space, and the babies loved him ..... I kept the 5 of them in a double critter nation cage that has 4 levels and can hold 10 rats so that Christmas had lots of room. Unlike your boy, Christmas loved his babies for the remainder of his life. I think a neuter may help your boy and/or slowly and carefully introing him to two older baby girls ......... boys that can not get along with other males are often less threatened by girls ..... If the rescue were willing, you could try him with a couple of 10 or 11 week old baby girls (babies need another baby to play with and babies are less threatening) and if it didn't work out then they could go back to the rescue ...... Of course they would need to be spayed and it would be best if he were also neutered

    I hope this info helps
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  8. Jan 18, 2018 #8

    jorats

    jorats

    jorats

    Not So Much Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    45,077
    Likes Received:
    1,610
    Location:
    Northeastern Ontario
    I really dislike the intro in a carrier method. I feel that flooding the rats with fear is not a good idea. I would do intros with all four in a large area like a table top. I would do this for as long as it took until Floopy feels more secure with the buddies.
     

    Attached Files:

    SQ likes this.
  9. Jan 25, 2018 #9

    floopy

    floopy

    floopy

    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2018
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NULL
    Thanks for the input! I'm putting a hold on intros for a while. In the meantime, I'm doing cage and bedding swaps and letting everyone regroup for a bit.
    In a few days I will start intros again in a large open space and follow the instigator with a gloved hand. Hopefully things go better!
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Jan 25, 2018 #10

    jorats

    jorats

    jorats

    Not So Much Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    45,077
    Likes Received:
    1,610
    Location:
    Northeastern Ontario
    That's a really good idea, taking a break from intros and trying again. I feel like some rats need more time to adjust and accept. Just like us, some are introverts and some are extroverts.
     

    Attached Files:

Share This Page