I had to separate my rats and I need some help - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2009, 05:00 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation I had to separate my rats and I need some help

I'm new to the forum but this place has helped me before on various questions so I thought I'd turn here for help. This post is a bit long, but I'd really appreciate the read through and help. Thanks in advance.

A few months ago, we had to separate our two female rats (both about 10 months old). This came after a long time time of the dominant and aggressive one, Artemis, attacking and almost starving our other rat, Sweetie, to death. She was ripping out her fur, eating all the food, and just being terrible to her.

We separated them and kept their cages next to each other and Artemis was fine. We'd take them out together, but she would still harass Sweetie- even mounting her. What was worse was that Sweetie was still stressed out, secreting porphyrin and her fur wouldn't grow back (her neck was almost bald). The only good thing was that she ate more and went back to a healthy weight.

We recently took them both to the vet and he vet said they were both really healthy except that Artemis and Sweetie would need to be fully separated because they were both stressing each other out too much. We did that and now they're across the room from each other and don't come out together anymore.

Sweetie has flourished, her hair grew back and she's porphyrin-free. But Artemis seems sullen and withdrawn. At first when they were cage mates, they got along well even though Artemis was still bossy. They'd snuggle, be concerned for one another and play. But now when they're together they only fight.

I know the vet said they probably need to stay separated but I was wondering if anyone else has dealt with this sort of problem and could give me some advice. I hate to see them separated and I just want the best for them. I take them both out and try to give Artemis more attention but she just acts up more. She gets really jealous when she sees me holding or playing with Sweetie or even just hears me talking to her. She's still sweet to me, bruxes, cleans my eyelid, etc
but she's definitely changed.

I sort of posted about this in another forum somewhere a while back when I was asking something else so if you see this again, sorry. I had said I'd see how it went but they still are unable to be housed together. Artemis just attacks Sweetie and Sweetie sort of whimpers and crouches on the ground. It's heartbreaking and frankly I don't know what to do.

Please help with advice if you can. Thanks so much.

Last edited by rodent_slave87; 08-03-2009 at 05:07 AM.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2009, 06:36 AM
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I have been through a simalar situation. I wont explain because it's a long story. Lets just say, I started with one cage, than two and now need three, because I bought home a pair of rats, which I assume must have been born
with an aggressive gene (they were from a pet store) and introduced them two my first pair of rats. Since separation because all my rats were covered in bites from Husky (which after another 6 months Arthur took the trait of doing) I can't let them near eachother. Husky will attack any rat that comes near him, and I mean severe bites, and now Arthur is the same. Pepper and Rayray are the only two together.
Anyway, I don't think it's possible for you to put your two girls back together. I think that Artemis is going to have to be separate for the rest of her life, but don't worry, you should try to show her extra love and attention, because from my experience, Husky has now turned into the most sweetest, loving, snuggliest pet rat, and he is happy. I don't think Sweetie is a lone rat, I think she likes company, or a least, thats what it sounds like, and you could keep her lone, but my advise would be to consider getting another play mate for her, and it's a tough desition letting another rat into the family, because it could all go wrong, or it could all go really well. This way, Sweetie will be happy, because it sounds like she only trys to defend herself, and with a new rat, it's not going to attack her. Of course this is all up to youthough and I'm sure if you think about it for a long time you know whats best.
I hope this helps, and I wish lots of luck. I know it can be a heartbraking situation, and it's a lot of hard work.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2009, 10:24 PM
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Yeah sometimes other rats are naturally more aggressive. Did Artemis grow up around other rats? That sometimes is the problem.

But if you feel up to it, get Sweetie a friend. I know it'd be nerve-wracking, but it'd be good for her to have a nice cuddle-mate.

I'm sorry and I wish I could help more!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-04-2009, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your answers, both of you. I truly appreciate it. I figured nothing could be done about Artemis since she's so aggressive. She did grow up around other rats- we got them from Petco (I know, bad) but I don't regret it. Despite them both being a bit neurotic, I wouldn't trade them for anything.

When I find a job (which I hope will be soon) I think I'll look into getting Sweetie a cage mate. I'm guessing I should go through a breeder this time to make sure I don't get a sick/aggressive rat?

Until then, is there anything I can do to make Artemis feel less lonely? I spend loads of time with her now but when school starts I'll have to be in class for a while. And my gf works so I don't want her to get too lonely. I set my classes so I would only have one night one and she shouldn't be up during the day really but I want to make sure that she's alright just in case.

Thanks again.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-13-2009, 02:11 AM
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The only way that a rat won't be truly lonely is to get them a friend.

Honestly they sound like they will get over their issues. The rule is no blood no foul. If they aren't drawing blood on each other then really there isn't too much of a problem. You have to mke sure that the cage is big enough and that they have enough food. If the one rat wasn't letting the other rat eat then you should have put 2 food bowls in the cage.
The baldness thing was probably the one rat barbaring the other rat too much and that does happen. It's a dominance thing. The same goes for the mounting thing. Female rats will do it just like males do. There will be an "alpha" and if they were younger rats then the alpha will be reestablished a lot. Rats get a long really well and they really do need buddies. It can be stressful at first on you and the rats but there are ways to keep them in the same cage and have them get along.

Were they bought at different times? Did you do proper intros?

You might want to retry intros on neutral ground. I wouldn't give up yet on them being housed in different cages.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-14-2009, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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Hey pinkie, and thanks for the reply!

In answer to your questions:

They were brought from Petco together and lived together for quite some time. As for the blood rule, there was plenty of it- on both sides. We did get a bigger cage, went through two in fact, and tried 2-4 food dishes. None of this helped. Artemis would just go at Sweetie whenever she tried to eat and ferret away all the food anyway. We have tried reintroductions on neutral ground, just holding them near each other, etc (other tactics stated in above posts) and they've gone at each other with an obvious malice.

We have been trying for over four months so it definitely hasn't been a decision made lightly. Plus, we don't want to risk Sweetie being nearly starved to death again and having her hair and flesh torn out and they now seem to be enjoying their bachelorette pads. Artemis is even getting over her jealousy. So after another vet visit to get Sweetie's nails trimmed our vet again said that they should stay separated and were both healthier and calmer now that they have been fully separated for almost a month.

Artemis will not be able to have a cage mate but Sweetie will probably get one when my job is more secure and I am 100% sure I can afford vet fees, etc and adopt a rat from a rescue that I *know*, or at least have a higher chance of knowing, isn't overly aggressive.
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aggression, bullying, depression, dominance, rats

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