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I'm dealing with loosing one of my rats, and I think I'm taking it harder than I should. I just want to know why this happened so I can move on and make sure it never happens again.
I got Marley and Lucy in December 2009, and then I upgraded to a bigger cage and got Scarlette in April of 2010. When I got her she was a baby not sure how old but signifigantly younger than the other two. At first when I tried to socialize them the other two did not like her, and attacked her. It scared me so I isolated her for a while but I kept the cages together so they could see one another at a safe distance. After a few weeks I bathed all three of them together with Dawn dish soap, and dried them with a towel together. After that I let them play together for four hours, completely cleaned out the big cage and gradually got them all in there together. Since then probably end of April beginning of May I haven't had a problem except for occasional squabbles but from everything I read it was normal. I clean the cage out every friday and when I notice they need it I clean them as well. Two weeks ago I changed the cage using not my normal bedding but a kind that I've used before and never had an issue with, and bathed them using the same soap I always do. The following week everything was normal.
I had noticed she was getting thinner but I thought maybe she wasn't eating so I started feeding her separately and she was. ALso when I fed them together she was getting as much food as the other two. They're well fed possibly maybe even overweight.
Wednesday morning I woke up fed them all a treat and said goodbye to them. I worked all day, and had classes all day as well. I didn't get back home until late on that night upon which I went straight to bed. I woke up the following morning and took a shower. On my way out I went to the cage to say goodmorning to them and give them treats. I called them all and each one came but Scarlett. I called her again. No response. I bent down and found the most gruesome horrific scene. Her bodied looked stiff and petrified but it was mutilated as well. It looked like the other two attacked her killed her.
I am extremely distraught over this. I loved them all so much, and she was my baby, I didn't think I was a bad pet owner but I feel like I am now. It was basically the one time I wasn't home all day and something like this happens. If anyone has any ideas about what may have happened to her I would like to hear them.
Thank you
 

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I'm so sorry for you loss. I can't imagine coming home to that. Don't blame yourself, this looks like it was out of your control and it isn't something you can expect to happen.

It may have been possible she had a parasite if she was losing weight for no reason, did she have any soft stool or diarrhea before she died? It may have been possible the older rats attacked her, but its a first for me to hear of rats killing eachother after a long while of an average peaceful relationship. She could have also died first and then the other's may have fed on her. I'm not sure, hopefully some more experienced rat owners can give some answers.
 

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I am SO sorry about Scarlette. It is very hard to lose a baby that you love so much, and we all know how that feels on this forum. It is perfectly normal to grieve a lot when you lose one of your rat kids. Like the other poster said, it is possible that the two other girls did not attack or kill Scarlette but that they were doing an instinctual act of trying to get rid of the body after she died, which animals are known to do. But since you were not home to see it, it is hard to know. Also, yes, since she was getting thinner over time, even though she was eating, there was obviously something not right. Did you ever have a small animal vet check her out when you noticed she seemed to be getting thinner? I am sure you will get more posts from others here who have a lot more experience about this kind of situation. Again, I am so sorry about Scarlette. I know you loved her very much. :(
 

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Actually its not a possibility but a likelihood that Scarlett died and the other 2 rats tried to "clean up" the body. In the wild rats will do this to prevent predators to be attracted to the colony from the smell of the dead rat. Just like an herbivorous mother who has just given birth will eat the placenta...the rats instincts tell them to get rid of the body that could endanger the colony.

I am sorry you had to go through that but it wasn't your other girl's fault in the least.

As for your wee one who was getting thinner. There's many reasons this could've happened, and sadly age is not much of a factor in this world of carelessly mass bred rats (rat mills, pet stores who breed their own, and BYB's).

If it was accompanied by respiratory noises then she had a URI, if it was accompanied with cool/cold extremities she may have had CHF (congestive heart failure), she could've had tumours inside her body, etc,etc. There's no way to know what she died of, only a vet would've been able to tell.
 
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