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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
Movin' Up in the Pack
 
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Question Weird Question....?

Within the last week, I've lost 4 male rats, 3 of which were killed by the 4th intentionally. I had 10 male rats living in a large ferret cage, when all of the sudden, one of my boys decided that it was apparently time to "take a few out". He killed the 3 males that were younger than himself, and also a bit smaller. All in one day. I found Zucherman dead in the morning, Porkavian dead in the afternoon, at first I'd thought that it may have been the new food I've been giving them, since they aren't fond of lab blocks, but then I saw Sesshomaru attack and kill Guiness. I took him out right away, and called my vet.
Yesterday I took him in, Dr. Mac said that he appeared healthy, and that since he was a rescue, it may have been something in his breeding?We'd decided that the best course of action would be to have him PTS w/ necropsy done. Has anyone else heard of this happening?
I've had Sessomaru for about a year, he was 4 weeks old when I got him, and up until Sunday he'd been fine with the other boys.
I am now down to 8 girlies, and 6 guys (8 guys with the babies I;m keeping)

Any thing at all would be helful, since I;m really at a loss as to why this happened!

"The clever cat eats cheese and breathes down rat holes with baited breath."
~W.C. Fields
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 10:30 PM
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The cage could have been to small and he felt over crowded. 10 to a cage is alot. But other than that maybe genetics.

Mice and sometimes rats will eat the deceased. It stheir way of grieving and is normal by all means.

But one time I had a mouse die of natural causes my females consumed her before I got home. After this happened it seems like a mouse dies every few days or so. I went to the vet asap all was normal with the check ups. My show mice and rescues were all healthy. I caught my rescue girl in the act of killing one of her cage mates. She bit the pice of flesh between the nose and eyes of one of my show mice. And she dies instantly. After I saw this I knew it was bad genetics.
I had to keep her by herself the rest of her life for the saftey of the colony. It is not necessary to have them put to sleep for this. But it is a good reason not to breed unless you are doing it to better the species as a whole. Rodents can carry cannibalism in their genes and if bred poorly the cannibalistic/agressive behaviors can intensify and become a devastating disorder/mutation.


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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 11:20 AM
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Was he neutered? Hormonal aggression can make a male rat very irrational.

You said 2 rats were found dead, did you find the bite wounds on them? The last was attacked as you watched? how did he call the last boy?

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-21-2011, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry it's been busy here, my cage is a 5 story ferret cage, (37"h x 24" w x 36" d)so I don't this space was the issue.
There were severe wounds on Zuch, and Porkavian (Truffle & Jacob also have lesser wounds but are doing well).
I'd gone over to give the boys a treat, some boiled chicken & sweet potatoes, Vinnie came first, as he most often does, the others came to get some goodies, Sesshomaru came over, let me scratch his head, then ran off to enjoy his snatched treat, then went up two whole levels, grabbed Guiness by the back of the neck, tossed him down a level, ran down after him, flipped him over, and bit/tore his throat open, it all happened so quickly, it was weird, he then just went on about his business. Even when I opened one of the upper doors, he came over to get a scritch. The attack seemed (to me anyways) unprovoked. Sesshomaru had been pushing around the other guys for about a week though, since Vinnie is getting older and starting to let his "duties" as Alpha slack.

I did call Dr. Mac-he told me that all in all he appeared healthy, even though he was slightly overweight. Nothing like that has ever happened here before, and thankfully not since.

"The clever cat eats cheese and breathes down rat holes with baited breath."
~W.C. Fields
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