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Discussion Starter #1
I have two baby boys I rescued a month ago. Everything was perfect until yesterday when the bigger boy (Makura) began to attack the little guy (Mohfu). My roommate has two girl rats just down the hall, so I think Makura is just being dominant because they can smell the girls.

I read the conversations in the forums, and the problem is that Makura DID draw blood, and when I went to the rescue of Mohfu and opened the door to the cage, he jumped about 3 feet to my shirt and hid, shivering, in my hair. I was in the shower when the fight broke out, so Mohfu had 2 scrapes on his hind legs and 3 bites in his tail by the time I heard them.

I put Makura in a quarantine cage. But they are now so lonely without each other that I am worried. They have never been alone (as far as I know). So I put the quarantine cage next to the main cage so they can see each other. But Makura just looks really depressed. Mohfu seems to be a bit less depressed, but doesn't look peaceful. either.

The vets are closed today because of the holiday, but I will call to make an appt. to neuter Makura, as we do have the girl rats just 2 rooms away, and I don't see this problem resolving itself. My question is: Do they both need to be neutered, or just the aggressor?

Thanks!
 

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From what I have read you can get away with just neutering the aggressive one. Some people do both to make sure that the other rat doesn't get aggressive as well but you can always wait and see and decide that later.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hello again! Just wanted to give an update on Makura and Mohfu. It seems I left out the MOST CRUCIAL details when originally posting.

I am a new rat mom, so last weekend (before the fight) I thought I was doing a really good and responsible thing by thoroughly cleaning their cage (complete with power hosing in the yard). Then I replaced their bed with one fresh from the laundry, washed their dishes and toys, and gave them a bath.

Then I put them back in their entirely odor-free cage, which in MY opinion was a great gift. But I don't think like a male rat, I guess, because they freaked out in the most disturbing way, thus the fight with blood drawn.

So after a week separated, but with their cages side-by-side, I took them both to the vet. I wanted to talk about neutering, but primarily just wanted them to be treated for parasites. AACK! They were both so scared at the vet that they came home exhausted. I let them have a nap in their separate cages while I went to Petco for a ton of new toys, a couple of igloo houses, extra food dishes and an extra water bottle (per instructions from the vet). When I got home, I put some of their new stuff in the big cage, and put them together. It has been over 24 hours, and they are doing GREAT!

The good thing is that Mohfu (the little guy and victim of the attack) had the chance to gain weight last week without being bullied over food. AND, he was the one I left in the big cage, so he had the 'home-field advantage' when they were re-introduced.

The vet recommended NOT neutering them, because he doesn't believe it will reduce the aggressive behavior. But he did say that if the re-introduction went badly he will do the surgery.

KEY LESSON LEARNED: DON'T wash everything at the same time because they LIKE their smells.

Hope this helps if anyone else has the same problem. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Update:

The boys have been back together for 8 days now, and all is well. I just thoroughly cleaned their cage and put them back in it, and they are at peace. They have 2 igloos and I just got them a hammock. My roommate gave me an additional hammock that her girls couldn't use. But they have both chosen to snuggle up in one igloo.

So I guess there IS hope for naughty little boys! :)
 

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YAY!! they get along!!! CongRATS BoyzRcrazy!!:)
 

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hello what if they do draw blood? like i have seen on the back of the neck on my black rat, Apocolypse, two red marks like he has been bitten by the other one. should i be concerned? becuase they say no blood no foul, but it is like a scab so blood was drawn and what are some suggestions to keep them from doing this? two cages? or just let them settle it out between them?
 

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Try letting them settle it. Every once in a while one rat can get a bit worked up and end up giving another a tiny bite or scratch. If the wounds are bigger or start happening all the time then it's time to start looking at what else to do to correct the behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi Pyrostorms!

Trust the veterans for advice, because they know better than I do. They can help you get on track with your guys. Eclecticnoise seems to be a good source of wisdom.

I just have one bit of advice: Never show anger toward the aggressor, because you may regret it later. (Walk away after separating your boys if you need to.)

When Makura attacked Mohfu I was so upset that I yelled at Makura when I separated them. He was upset for over a week, and I have had to work hard to regain his trust. He didn't want to be picked up for over a week.

As I write this he is climbing around in my sweatshirt, so things seem to be improving. He seems to feel more comfortable, and will come to me when I open the cage if I call a couple of times. But it has taken a while.

And if I understand the term, he is, at this moment "bruxing." So I guess that broken little rat-hearts can be mended. :)
 

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*blushes*

And you are totally right about not being mean when separating fighting rats. I also want to add to make sure, if they are fighting, don't reach in and separate them with your hand. That is the number one cause of rat bites. Use a stick, newspaper or other long object to keep your hand out of the way.
 

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I had this problem for a short while with my rats! Then I read on line that around 5 months old, male rats will begin to fight for dominance. Then I remembered they were exactly five months old, and let them settle it. After a couple real good goes (only a little blood) they stopped fighting and live together great now. They still wrestle now and then but only for fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks Orion!

They WERE about 5 months old when the blow-out occured. It has now been about 3 weeks that they've been back together, and so far so good. They still have the occasional issue, but Mohfu ('Blanket' in Japanese) is much more confident and not so much a victim as he was before. He is still submissive to Makura ('Pillow' in Japanese), but not nearly as much.

They sleep together on a regular basis (thus their strange names), just like they did BEFORE their major blow-out. :)
 
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