Rat maybe being bullied after neuter?

yesimnathan

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Hello again! I currently have a mischief of 3 male rats (2 more babies are incoming but they haven't been completely introduced to my older boys yet). I started of with a pair of boys - Merlin and Gandalf. Merlin was a hyper aggressive super-alpha and tried to hump poor Gandalf constantly. I ended up having to separate them until I got Merlin neutered. Merlin actually did ok on his own. He didn't seem unhappy living by himself. Gandalf was miserable. I couldn't risk reintroducing them and having it go poorly b/c poor Gandalf hated being alone so I got 2 more boys (Puck and Urza) and after Merlin had recovered from his surgery and his testosterone levels went down, I introduced them all and all seemed well. Gandalf and Merlin got along just fine and Puck & Urza were just babies so they took to Merlin and Gandalf easily.

A couple of months ago, Gandalf unfortunately had to be put down (extremely aggressive tumor in his head). Since then, I've noticed that Merlin seems to be much more on edge. He very rarely comes out of a hideout. When I let them out for free-range time, I've noticed that Puck and Urza (Urza especially) tend to follow Merlin around and they're constantly trying to sniff his "region". I don't catch them trying to hump him very often but he's pretty good at deflecting them before it gets to that. I have never seen Puck or Urza hump each other. They're only focused on Merlin. Do they maybe think he's a female since they never knew him before the neuter? I really can't tell if he's unhappy. Merlin has always been a difficult one - we had a couple of difficult aggression encounters before he got neutered and he's just generally not a big fan of me still. I just can't seem to make any progress with him - especially after Gandalf's death - and I can't tell if he's miserable with his cage mates or not.

tldr: Had one of my boys neutered before introducing him to 2 new baby boys. Now they're grown up and I feel like they might think he's a female. They don't show any of the hormonal aggression like he did but they are always after him (sniffing his region and trying to hump him). They don't do that with each other though. Should I separate Merlin from them? Do I need to neuter all of them even though they're not showing hormonal aggression?

Thanks so much!
 

yesimnathan

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Another distinct difference that I just happened to think of: When Merlin was hormonal and aggressive, Gandalf was terrified of him. When Puck and Urza are going after Merlin, he doesn't act afraid. He acts annoyed. Not sure if that really matters. During the day, Merlin, Puck and Urza usually sleep in a hammock all together. It's mainly during play time or if they're all being rambunctious in the cage.
 

lilspaz68

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Ok so annoyance at the newbies. Try an experiment...let Merlin live alone a day or 2 (no longer) and see how he reacts to it. The youngsters may just annoy him. They don't think he's a female but they may be entering their puberty stage hence more dominance behaviours.
 

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