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I have 4 rats. 2 are hooded females which I got in mid-February, and 2 are albino males which I bought from a local pet store just yesterday. They live in same-sex pairs in separate cages.

The females are older than males and are bigger than them. Elda, the younger and more playful rat, started bullying the 2 males (as of now still unnamed) when I left both cages open when I was preparing their meals. I heard shrieking so I rushed to see what's happening, and there she was, biting the new guys and pinning them to the ground because she was bigger. I dunno why this happened.

First thing that came to my mind was dominance - being the alpha. But then again, Elda's cagemate, Freya, is dominant (assuming the one who always wins playfights is dominant) although she's shy and will sometimes wriggle frantically when she doesn't like the person holding her.

Then something popped in my mind - what if Elda is trying to dominate the males because she can't dominate Freya? Don't get me wrong, Elda is a very affectionate rat. She will lick my fingers and my nose like mad when they're wet/moist and has never tried to run away from me when we freerange outside. She's very attached to me despite the short span of time I've had her as a pet.

And then it hit me - could it be jealousy? I know it sounds absurd but I noticed this when I was spending lots of time socializing the males and arranging their cage. The males' cage is placed directly on top of the females' and I could see Elda climbing the walls of her cage when I was playing with the males, as if begging to be let out. Could a rat feel such things?

One more thing... I've read about buck grease and *I think* I see it occuring at the back of my female rat, Freya. The greasy stuff on her back matches the descriptions of buck grease. Thick, orange, greasy stuff. But how can this be when she's female? I thought it only occurs in males. What could this be?
 

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first off, are your males neutered? if not it would be unadvisable to let the females interact with them. it only takes a few seconds and the females are preganant. with the average litter size being 12 that's a lot of babies. not to mention all the complications that can arise from a pregnancy and birth. that being said i'll move on to your actual questions.

there is a heirachy in rat communities. alpha, second in command then each rat below that has thier own position as well but its a little harder to see it. if as you say, freya is the queen then that would make Elda the second. she will asert her dominance as second over any other rats. she won't hurt them to do this (or at least shouldn't) but that is probably part of it. just normal heirachy issues.

the other part could simply be that the boys are new. proper introductions need to be followed to insure that all rats get along (do not do this with different sexes unless one is altered). otherwise there will be fights. the resident rat is defending its territory from the new "intruders". keep in mind that even during introductions there are bound to be scuffles, this is them sorting out the heirachy.

as far as what a rat can feel. tehy can feel the same emotions that you can. they can laugh and grieve so it wouldn't be a stretcg to assume they can feel jealous as well. now, was she feeling jealous at that time or was she just wanting out to play, i don't know. but it is certainly possbile for to feel that way.

about the buck grease on a female, i honestly don't know. i've never experienced it myself. hopefully someone else on here can help you with that.
 

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I'm planning on having the males neutered but the problem is that I can't find a vet who has done it before. Rats aren't popular pets here in my country.

And thanks for your reply, twitch.
 

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Until you get them neutered I wouldn't let them play together.

Perhaps the buck grease is coming from poor cleaning on their parts? Does Elda groom Freya? Does Freya groom herself?

Perhaps a nice bath would clean her up?
 

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Ikamuni said:
I'm planning on having the males neutered but the problem is that I can't find a vet who has done it before. Rats aren't popular pets here in my country.
yes, i have the same problem where i am. it took some looking and it costs a bit more then other places but i finally found a vet that will do spays ($250-300 CDN) and neuters ($95-100). i've heard of people that got their rats, female and male, done for under $60 but its a 2 hour drive a way and the rat doesn't need the stress of transport added to the stress of surgery.

what i did to find the vet i found was a pretty big helping of luck adn persistance. call around to all the vets in your area (the yellow pages are wonderful things) ask if they do alters on rats and if they don't ask if they know someone that will. it amy take a while to actually find one but chances are you will. worse case you may have to rent a motel room for a night or two so the rats don't have too too much stress added onto them if you have to travel a bit of a distance (over an hour or more) to get them to the vet. as troublesome as that is if i had two pairs of different genders for my peice of mind i would make sure at least one got altered. if one were ever to escape i could end up with so many babies. they ca do it through cage bars too so you really only need the one houdini.

if you do find a vet with a reasonable price for a spay and you can afford it go with the spay over the neuter. the health benifits are so much more for females. it reduces their risk of tumors to almost nothing and seeing as that is so horrbily common in females this could greatly extend their lifespan. and the younger the rat that is getting this done the greater the benifits. after about a year old the health benifits (though still there) are almost negliable. it may still reduce the chance for tumor but it is unclear if it is to any signifcant ammount.

i talked to my vet about possbile supplements (for calicum not hormones) or dietary changes that could be helpful to a rat without hormones and we're looking furhter into it. apparently not a lot has been studied in that area so far. the data that we were able to find to date has been mixed but seems to lean to the side of nothing extra is needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
spays ($250-300 CDN) and neuters ($95-100)
Here's something really sad:
100 Canadian Dollar(s) = 4230.42 Philippine Peso(s)
1 PHP = 0.0236383 CAD
1 CAD = 42.3042 PHP
Well, you see, it's summer break here in my country and I don't have a summer job. When school's on I get only PHP150/day and I save only up to PHP20 per day due to transpo, food, and sometimes school expenses.

Freya and Elda were given to me for free. The cage they live in was my mom's, and she gave it to me for free. Now my 2 males cost PHP120 (60 each) and the cage and everything inside it cost me around PHP500.

Given the conversion rates, are the prices same here in my country and yours? Because if they are the operation itself will cost more than what I've paid for my rats so far, including food. :x

Perhaps the buck grease is coming from poor cleaning on their parts? Does Elda groom Freya? Does Freya groom herself?

Perhaps a nice bath would clean her up
Elda grooms Freya and vice versa. Freya grooms herself also.
And yeah, I tried the bath and it helped. Maybe I should take a picture of her sometime.
 

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Ikamuni, do you feed carrots alot? I've read the beta-carotene in certain veggies can turn a rat orange, I can't remember which Rat forum or website I saw it.
Don't get me wrong but it wasn't the smartest thing to do getting male and female rats if you don't have enough money to allow them to live together.
Your faced with some serious choices now, assuming you can't find a Vet with a big heart who will do Spaying for little money. Female Rats are really a greater expense, Males can live without neutering no problem, but females risk is great they will develope mammary tumors during their life without spaying.
I'm sure you will make the right choices for the welfare of your Rats.
Spider
Love your country
 

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I don't feed them carrots a lot. I feed them carrots whenever we have them and it's not everyday. Maybe once a week? Yeah...

Here's a picture of what's left of the oily stuff (which I think is similar to buck grease) after I washed her:

As you can see, some orangey stuff were still left. This is due to the fact that she moved around a lot(a little like struggling) when I was cleaning her.

It's not that I can't find a vet who will do it for little money, it's that I really can't find a vet willing/confident enough to do it. So, with that said, I also don't have the silghtest idea how much it will cost.
 

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Is it possible that it could be faded Porphyrin? I noticed one of our girls had it on her back a couple of times after she had played with our other rat (back when we were introducing them) and that was more orange than red. It wasn't thick, though, so I don't know... just a thought.
 

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Are you near manila? I think there is a veterinary school there you might try calling. Also Check around for any Veterinary Associatians listed and explain your situation someone might be understanding and refer you. Even a large pet store might Know of a qualified Vet who knows how to spay.
Spider
 

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like i said my area is rather expensive. you may be able to find a place that is cheaper. it all really depends on the vet for how much it is going to cost. if money is an issue then go for the neuter but certainly, if you can afford it the go for the spay.

try doing some of the things spider offered, you might get lucky. i know it can be frustrating finding a vet that will deal with rats. they certainly aren't as popular as they should be but with a little persistance and some luck you should be able to find someone.
 

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Buck grease with the male is from hormones and is on the skin, orangey sticky stuff. Your light coloured girl looks like she has porphyrin staining. Their eyes, nose and their saliva have pink/reddish stained porphyrin in it, so when they clean themselves or another rat does it can show up on light coloured rats.

Your girl is attacking Strangers to the Colony...could be a bad fight and damage done if you aren't careful. Plus unneutered males, and older females are a terrible combination. Your old girls could easily have complications and die if they get pregnant. DO NOT let them near each other til the boys are neutered.
 
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