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Hey, i have both boy rats and girl rats (separate cages of course) and one of my boys has been doing some weird behavior. His name is Clover, after he interacts with one of the female rats, he'll go back on his way and do his thing, like playing or eating, but when he goes back to playing, Clover will do some weird thing sometimes where he stops what hes doing and will almost like, run in place kinda? with his front legs, he'll start pawing rapidly at the ground he's on like he's digging, and then go on his way. but he only does this after interacting with the girls?

background information on Clover (if its needed):
the way we got rats was... a special case to say the least. they were originally adopted for my sister, by my mother, they were planning on breeding them for snake food, but they ended up not being able to go through with it and ended up with a whole mess of rats. they'd get some adopted out in waves, but new ones would always just show up, with the boys and girls in the same cage at the time. they did end up getting a separate cage for the boy rats, and slowly started to get them moved into the cage. Clover was a young boy still in the girls cage, and he wasn't socialized so we had trouble getting him out. the girls would be mean and bully him a lot, they didn't like sharing the room with a boy. we did get him out, and everything was basically fine then, we adopted out the rats we couldn't keep, and we are now left with the rats we have now.
but we also had feral rats from the outside living in the walls of our house, one rat was a regular that we named Nebbie (gave her a name to stop calling her "wall-rat") and she would come in the rat-room to steal their food. we tried to get her out, but she wouldn't go. she had babies, and the babies grew up and moved in the room, sleeping everywhere they could, and they would attack our rats, one of which included Clover. it was his tail, and he now has a kink in the tail. Clover also became very protective over one of the other boys named Liz, Liz was one of the only rats not harmed by Nebbie's kids.

we've since then moved, and have no more problems with wild rats, but Clover still has an attachment to the girls. he will sleep beside their cage, and do the weird behavior i mentioned. does anyone know why he does this?? whenever i have a girl out, like maybe sleeping on me or something and i also have the boys out, he will become protective of her but i think that's just a normal boy thing to do, except that none of the other rats do it.

Clover is almost a year and a half old.
 

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That's quite the story! Must have been so chaotic to have wild rats living with your pet ones!

I have read that rats have scent glands on the bottom of their feet. Maybe Clover is just leaving his scent behind? Or trying to dig to the females?
 

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Oliver Bean, Phyllis, Waffle, Taco, Atlas, Cirrus, Orion
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Wow, that's a lot of rats! Good background for your Clover though. When my first rats started doing that, I learned it's a need to dig, and that little front-legged dance, pawing and patting the ground mimics the digging motion. Sometimes when they got excited they would do it, but just for a moment.
 
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