Introduction with little hairless rat

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by SkyRats, Apr 12, 2019.

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  1. Apr 12, 2019 #1

    SkyRats

    SkyRats

    SkyRats

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    Hello everyone! I recently adopted my first hairless rat (named Ophelia) who is just the sweetest little baby ever. I got her at 6 weeks old and now she's 7 weeks, and today I tried introducing her to my 5 other 1 year old girls.
    My girl Elise is the dominant rat and has always been a bit rough towards new babies, but nothing serious and no real aggression. She'll chase them around a bit, pin them, and power groom. There's always squeaks and squeals but never any injuries. But with my hairless baby, I was a lot more concerned about her because she doesn't have any fur to protect her!
    With previous intros between older girls and little babies, I've had easy success. Just a little bit of scuffling with Elise, but nothing the rats couldn't handle themselves, I've never had injuries during intros before. This time however, after a few minutes with the big laid-back girls licking Ophelia and sharing peas, Elise decided it was time for her usual baby bullying and chased her and pinned her. I heard some squeals and pushed Elise away from her. Then I noticed Ophelia now has an inch-long scratch on her back and a small bite or scratch on her face just below her ear. :( I put the rats back in their cages after that, and I'm really worried because I don't want her soft skin to get beaten up every time I do an intro with the others. Is there any way to make intros easier for a hairless rat, or will she just have to deal with some scratches and nips on her skin until they're all friends? Any tips are greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Apr 12, 2019 #2

    ViciousCurse

    ViciousCurse

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    A lot of members on here, including myself, will recommend getting another rat Ophelia's (love the name, btw) age. Baby rats can be a little too hyper for older rats, so having two babies will make it less likely that the babies will annoy the adults, and if they do, they can go play with each other. I would have also recommend waiting until Ophelia was at least eight to ten weeks old for introductions, so that she was a little bigger and bolder. However, now it can't be helped.

    Older rats tend to pick on babies a bit more, I've noticed. I have all males, so I can't necessarily say for female rats. I've never had hairless rats, but I've had rexes who bald with age. They tend to get a bit more scratched up than standard-furred rats. Do you know if Elise was puffy or actually chasing Ophelia? Those are signs of aggression.
     
  3. Apr 12, 2019 #3

    SkyRats

    SkyRats

    SkyRats

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    Thanks, I will definitely wait a bit longer before doing the introductions with babies in the future.

    Elise started following behind Ophelia a lot while trying to sniff her butt and genitals, and she didn't look puffy at all. When Ophelia turned to try to sniff her, that's when Elise pinned her and gave her the two scratches. Elise didn't look puffy then either, oddly enough.

    Should I do anything for Ophelia's scratches, or are they best left alone to heal? They aren't very deep at all, and I can see tiny specks of blood under the broken skin, but no blood is actually coming out of the scratches.
     
  4. Apr 14, 2019 #4

    ViciousCurse

    ViciousCurse

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    If there was no puffy fur or full-on running-after-the-other-rat chasing, there wasn't aggression. Rats will follow and sniff each other, especially their butts and genitals, regardless of age. It's simply a thing for the rats trying to figure out who the new rat is. My mischief did that to my rescues, despite being only six months apart and to the babies. My babies tend to squeak because adults are quite persistent. Flipping is a dominance thing. Sometimes rats can get careless and scratch, especially on a hairless rat that lacks the fur to protect it.

    Rats heal very fast. As long as the scratch doesn't become infected, it's alright to leave alone. Maddox was my rex rat who balded with age and he'd take a little bit extra time to heal, but that was because he was old. He always ended up healing fine with no scars.
     

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