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Hey there.
I'm new to this site and to being a rat owner. For over a year I do my research on rats now before I finally got some, but something unexpected happened.

On June 7th I picked up three boys from a questionable seller. I barely interacted with her for three minutes before I had the rats and was out again, she simply wanted me gone already. My boys are a husky, an albino and a dumbo albino.

Now, June 9th, the Dumbo albino was laying and sleeping near the cage door when I woke up around 9 AM. It was strange to me, because I didnt get to properly tame them yet, and even if he was the most trusting, he was still cautious about me. At 11 AM I went to pet him, since he hasn't woken up yet, just moved around in his sleep a lot. He did react to me petting him however. He still was warm and breathing.

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I eventually took him out to see if he would react, because I started to grow concerned about how tired he was. I haven't seen him sleep this deep before. He didn't wake up. Just let me pet him, sometimes flinched a little, but layed in my hand comfortably a couple of minutes before I returned him into the cage. I have hammocks for them, but they haven't used them yet, so I thought showing him how comfy they are, he would start using them and motivating his brothers too.

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At 1 PM I left for work. Returning at 6 PM I wanted to continue taming sessions and planned to take him out first since he still hadn't moved.
He died. He is cold and stiff, still in his sleeping position.

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I have no clue what happened. His brothers were very skittish before, but suddenly don't mind being held or pet. They don't seem interested in their brothers body. I think they knew.

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I discovered they all seem to have lice, yet are too young to be treated by the treatment I got, so I will take them to the vet tomorrow.

My mother, just as hurt as I am as a rat lover, wants me to pick up two new boys tomorrow already so the other two wouldn't become depressed. I am unsure whether that would cause more complications or if it would be alright to do so. I don't want to hurt their feelings or make them think I'm trying to replace their brother or something, even if it sounds a lot like it.

I hope the vet can figure out the cause of death and treat them against their lice. I just really need to know whether getting new rats one day after his passing is too soon and if it has negative effects on my rats. The cage is big enough that I could separate the two groups if absolutely necessary.

I'd be really grateful for any advice or opinions. Thanks in advance.
 

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First of all I'm so sorry about what happened. You don't necessarily need two more rats since two rats can keep each other company, although if you do, first get your existing rats treated for the lice and make sure they're not carrying anything else. You should also probably wait until your comfortable with these rats and they trust you before getting two new ones.
 
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