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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-20-2005, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Could Lily get a friend?

What chance is there that I could get my rat, (Lily, 16 months, hooded) to get along with another rat for a companion? I have had her, alone, for a year now, and sometimes it seems like she is lonely, even though i play with her for 2 hours every day. And what factors should i take into consideration regarding if she will adapt to a friend, and if the other rat will like her. Any ideas? HELP!


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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-21-2005, 09:30 PM
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why was she EVER alone in the first place? dont you know how bad that is? (not to be mean)


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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-21-2005, 10:13 PM
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I think that rats can be easily introdused... I did a quick search in my favorite rat site (http://www.curiosityrats.com) and this is what I found:

Quote:
Introductions

Introducing your new rat(s) to an established group... Many people think this is trickier than it actually is. They will tell you all sorts of ways to make it work. Clean the cage really well, dab the rats with vanilla, etc. but I don't think any of this really helps. I have tried it. Honestly, the biggest problem is people become nervous and overprotective; they can't separate "safe" bullying from true aggression. They hear their rats scream and have to "rescue" them. The truth is, there isn't a magical formula to introductions. You just need to be able to differentiate the safe and necessary dominance behavoir from the injuring aggressive behavior. Before I get into these differences, however, I will explain my "method" of introduction.

After a new rat has been quarantined, I keep him in his own cage. (Actually two new rats are MUCH easier to introduce than just one, so I try to adopt two rats at a time or keep one of my own younger rats with him.--Baby rats are also MUCH easier to introduce than adults.) The first introductions take place in a free-range area (bed or bathroom). I simply put the new rats with the established ones and watch them interact. New rats will sometimes feel frightened of the others and might queak and run. This is okay, but if one of the established rats seems overly "puffed up" or aggressive, I practice extra caution. The next day, I will put my new rats in the established cage for a few hours or until he seems stressed or frightened--whichever comes first. I will continue these "visits" for a week or two and finally just leave him in the cage. For the first visits, I will watch the entire time closely to see how everyone is reacting and on the look-out for aggressive behavior. I keep a squirt bottle handy to break up a real fight and "rescue" a rat. (Reaching into a cage of fighting rats is a sure way to get a SERIOUS bite, so always spray first!)

What you can expect in an introduction is the resident rats to follow new ones around, sniffing them vigorously and pinning them down for cleaning. New rats will often scream or squeak, may jump and run away, or stand up on their hind legs in a boxing pose. Young rats, especially females, sometimes have the habit of following around older rats and pestering or mounting them, and when the older rat confronts them, the younger will scream and run away. (She will then resume bothering the other one after a few minutes.) Other shows of dominance include huffing and pushing their sides against the new rat with fur raised. Rats sometimes practice "barbering," pulling out each others fur, to show dominance.

The rule of thumb for separation is if the new rat is seriously oppressed (like if he frantically runs away and is chased down and bullied repeatedly) or at "first blood" or "first bite." Healthy dominance does not include biting or injury. Most common rat fight wounds are missing toes or nails, nicks in ears (though these can also happen accidentally), small cuts on backs/bellies, and injured tails. Even in serious fighting, rats do not set out to kill each other. These wounds in themselves are not fatal but do mean the rats aren't compatible. (Rats rarely hurt each other like that.) Make sure to keep any wounds clean while they heal.

The most likely conflicts are between two adult rats with dominant personalities. There cannot be two kings or queens and some rats feel they need to be "the boss." More passive adults can get along with bossy types, but only if they are also mellow. A nervous, jittery rat is more likely to get chased and bullied (it can work out if he is introduced with a mellow sibling or other friend).

Also, the whole cage will become more tense with a new rat around, so it's not uncommon for "old friends" in the cage to start quarreling too. Just hang in there! It will pass as long as you don't intervene unless necessary
Hope this helps, and you get her a buddy. 8) she deserves it!

Dimaris

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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-21-2005, 11:18 PM
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my older rat was 12 months old when i introduced Joel on his cage,then i introduced 6 months later Hope and Hunter and them Levi! rats don't fight... don't worry

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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-22-2005, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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thanx for the advise, and to answer ratty ratkins, she was alone because I bought her alone from the humane society, and even getting her was a streach for my mom, she was seriously teed off, there was no way i could get another. And now that i am starting wildlife rehabilitation, Lily needs a friend, and mom has FINALLY come to like Lily (it took an entire year). What age is best for her to be introduced to? I was thinking a baby...like 6-12 weeks old...or would another adult be better?


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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, today I bought another rat, she is only 4 weeks old...i was a little hesitant to take her from her mom, but the owner assured me that she is completely self-feeding. Their initial introduction wasn't so hot...they sniffed each other, but then Lily tried to bite the new rat (I need a name for her...) i don't know how long it should take, but it doesn't seem to be going well.


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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehabber
Ok, today I bought another rat, she is only 4 weeks old...i was a little hesitant to take her from her mom, but the owner assured me that she is completely self-feeding. Their initial introduction wasn't so hot...they sniffed each other, but then Lily tried to bite the new rat (I need a name for her...) i don't know how long it should take, but it doesn't seem to be going well.
weird... like i said before my rats never had a fight in almost 3 years!! anyways good lucky with the little one

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2 yorkshires (Ankh and Amy)
4 rats (Aaron, Thor, Lee)
1 hamster (Panda)
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-24-2005, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehabber
Ok, today I bought another rat, she is only 4 weeks old...i was a little hesitant to take her from her mom, but the owner assured me that she is completely self-feeding. Their initial introduction wasn't so hot...they sniffed each other, but then Lily tried to bite the new rat (I need a name for her...) i don't know how long it should take, but it doesn't seem to be going well.
Maybe Lily just needs time to adjust to her or maybe she scares her at the moment with the baby being so small, its unusual for rats not to take to their own kind though and normally love another rats company. I'd keep an eye on them and if theres any real sign of aggression or fighting then i'd remove the baby as soon as possible before it gets hurt! Is Lily very close to you? Do you and her share a special bond? As maybe she sees the baby as an intruder between you and her that could be one explanation

Goodluck with them and keep us informed how you are going on

Kirsty


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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-25-2005, 06:55 AM Thread Starter
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we do share a bond, i spend at least an hour with her each day. I'm trying to spend a lot of time with Lily and still spend some with the new girl. As far as caging, i'm lucky because i am a wildlife rehabilitator..that means i have tons of empty cages at this time. I have only introduced them on 2 occasions. Both on my bed with a hand on Lily. She will sniff the baby for a while, then make a move like biting, so i have yanked her away each time, and then it starts over. I don't know if she actually bites the other rat, or if it's just like when she grabs something... I would leave them to find out...but the new rat is SO TINY, and i'm afraid Lily could kill her very easily, and she doesn't have much for teeth. I bathed them both, and gave them each the others' drying cloth, for sniffing, and each day i will introduce them again. I'm a little confused because if Lily was obviously mean, then the baby would fear her, right? Well each time the baby hides, but then ventures back out after a few seconds.


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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-25-2005, 09:46 AM
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Do you keep the new ratty in a cage next to Lily? So she can smell her and get used to her, you have done right with using the same cloth as shes getting the babies scent that way and vice versa. Just keep introducing them and hopefully oneday they will just click, normally rats accept another rat no worries at all so its a shame Lily hasn't but maybe to Lily her bond with you is much too strong to allow another rat in as i had a rat like that who wouldn't accept another rat at all costs and he lived a long happy life. As for the baby not being scared well rats are inquisitive by nature so maybe she see's it as a game

Kirsty


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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-25-2005, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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thanks, i'm just so nervous that things may go wrong...i introduced the baby to the side of Lily's cage, and she reached out trying to bite the little one, and when i didn't let her, she seemed to grab at the other rat. I really want this to work, but i'm afraid it's not so far...I really hope it does smooth over.


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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-26-2005, 12:18 PM
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Well keep us informed either way, i really hope things work out for you, Lily and the baby

Kirsty


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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-27-2005, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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I have been gone since fri am (it's sun pm), and i had told my brother to play with them, and i stressed SEPERATELY, but i guess he must have put them together. I was thinking about the article posted by padfoot and the part about barbering. Sure enough, i get home to find Aurora (new girl's new name) missing a chunk of hair behind each shoulder. I called my brother and chewed him out, but i think that means that it's not serious...so i may lax my security a tiny little bit (i.e. not be holding Lily by her midsection the entire time, hold her by the base of her tail...). I'm gonna go look for stuff on barbering, i just thought i'd let you all know how my girls are doing.


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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-27-2005, 08:35 PM
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i bet its just barbering with it being a new rat, and lilly wanting to show domanance. sorry to had sound snappy.. good luck with your baby!


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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-28-2005, 11:03 AM
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I totally agree i personally think its just a dominance thing by Lily shes showing Aurora (thats a really beautiful name ) whose in charge. Goodluck with them and keep us posted

Kirsty


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baby rats, cage cleaning, female rat, hind legs, humane society, male rat, pet store, puppy mill


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