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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-02-2009, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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HELP! Rats fighting, aggressive rat.

We have 2 rats that we've had for 4 months. They are brothers and have always lived together. At first, they were both very gentle. We handled them (carefully) frequently.

However, one of them gradually became more and more aggressive. He bit us a few times--a couple bad bites--and now we're afraid to handle him at all. As a result, we don't handle the other one much, either.

They seem to have always gotten along. However, every now and then, they get in a small fight that last a few seconds and then is over.

Just now, they got in a pretty big fight. We heard a loud squeak and checked on them. They seemed fine. A few minutes later we heard more loud squeaking and they were rolling around. The aggressive rat was biting at the non-aggressive rat. There are no visible wounds and no blood. However, now they seem to be acting very cautious of one another.

We don't know what to do! I'm giving them a few minutes to try to feel each other out again. Should I separate them? This was an isolated incident. I'm afraid to separate them and then have to go through the bonding process (which I did with my buns).

To be honest, I'm terrified to even put my hand near the aggressive rat. What should we do? Please help!


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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-02-2009, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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Update:

It has been 90 minutes since my rats fought and (knock on wood) they haven't fought again. Mango (the non-aggressive rat) hasn't come down from the top level of their cage. Mochi (the aggressive rat) keeps going up to the top level to see what Mango is doing. Mochi doesn't seem to be exhibiting any additional aggressive behavior, but he won't stop trying to sniff between Mango's legs. Mango seems really cautious/nervous. They just keep staring at each other.

Are they trying to work things out? Or preparing for another fight?


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 04:10 AM
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Usually the rule with rats is no blood no foul. Usually males will have alpha/dominance issues and that will last...well...for a good while.

The only thing I can suggest is a neuter for your aggressive boy. If he is biting you then it might be worth it. It is really unfair to not handle your rats at all. You could always try to wear gloves or win them over with treats.

Good Luck.

*Missy*
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 08:40 AM
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i would also suggest the neuter
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 09:13 AM
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How old are your boys? Male rats can go through a stage where they are obsessed with asserting dominance. It's probably not a "real" fight if there was no blood, but it can be scary to hear them scuffle like that. Also, if the cage is a bit too small they can get frustrated being in each others' space all the time.

I know you are scared of the aggressive rat, but he needs playtime too. It will stimulate his mind and he will be happier if he gets time out of his cage. If your cage is small enough that you can move it I would suggest taking it to a rat-proofed area each day and just opening the door. That way they can get out to play but you won't have to handle them. Sit with them and give them treats, let them climb on you, talk to them, and pet them if you feel comfortable. Make sure you are with them so that they associate you with fun things. I hope that you can handle both of your rats someday. I agree that you might consider neutering the aggressive one.

Maureen


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Six new rats
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice! We recently upgraded their cage and it is now a 6-story set-up. It is literally as tall as me!

It seems like they are in the dominance-asserting stage. Hopefully, things will resolve. If not, I will consider the neutering option.


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Also, they are about 6 months old!


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