new rats, fighting or playing?

hollowbirds

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Joined
Nov 5, 2021
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2
Location
canada
i adopted 3 boys from my local animal shelter a couple weeks ago! they say they’re about 4 months but with the amount of chonk they’re probably around 5 or 6 at this point. they were found dumped with 40 other rats :( so we don’t know much about them other than they’re boys and pretty young with bad eyesight.
They’re pretty skittish (understandably) and they’ve let me pet them so far, but that’s it. recently they’ve started to wrestle? i assume they’re playing. they stand up with their paws together and go mouth to mouth, one will pin the other on their back and just stare at him, or they’ll try to jump on each other’s back while the other karate kicks them in the side. all of the websites and videos i look at say that they’re just playing, and that it just “looks more rough than it is”. a lot of websites have conflicting meanings to their body language and say that you’ll know which they’re displaying if you “know your rat”. but the problem is i don’t know them! they’re my first rats and rescues at that.

the biggest issue right now is sometimes when they play, they’ll roll around in a ball and squeak with puffed fur. i assume that they’re fighting and not playing when that happens. the smallest boy got into a tussle last night and had a small cut that bled :( i’ve had to stop maybe two or three fights tonight alone. does anyone have any advice on how to stop them from happening? or any reason for them happening? i read that they’re probably hormonal and that it will stop eventually, but i’m a really anxious person so i’ve been losing sleep trying to make sure they don’t fight at night.
if it helps, i have a 4 story cage with many hides, hammocks, and dig boxes. they get fed twice a day with lab blocks and fresh fruits and veggies. worst case scenario would be having to separate the trouble maker, but he usually is the one who sleeps with the other large boy as they sort of exclude the smallest boy a lot of the time. i’ve resorted to blocking the trouble maker in the top two levels of the cage so i can get some sleep, but i feel bad about it because they’re alone (for around 3-4 hours while i try to sleep)



any and all advice is welcome! if you could help that would be wonderful!



tldr: i recently rescued three albino boys who look to be around 6 months old. for the past couple weeks they’ve been fine, but now they’ve started to pick fights with each other at night! how do i stop them, or do i just have to wait it out to see if they’ll stop? do i get them neutered?
 

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