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Hiya,

Now I have three girls I'm finding it fascinating to watch the cage politics and social dynamics that takes place between them. Rauha is the obvious physically dominant rat of the group, and is larger than the other two. I know roughly how old Ilsa is, but no idea with Rauha - she definitely isnt more than 15 weeks old though, while Ilsa is around eight weeks and Aino probably between the two. They all have very distinct personalities too - Rauha is grumpy and always the last out of the cage, Ilsa is hyperactive and literally bounces around, and is explosive out of the cage door when its opened. Aino is getting much better at asserting herself, but always defers to Rauha - Ilsa doesnt so much, and usually busies herself with rearranging everything in the cage how she wants it to be.

Even though Rauha is so physically dominant, I'm wondering if Ilsa is actually the cage alpha - she was there first, and her scent should be all over pretty much everything. Granted I've taken away the old hammock and replaced it with a larger alternative, and have started using fleece instead of pine bedding in the last day, but theres something about how Ilsa observes things that gets me wondering if shes the brains and Rauha is the brawn. I really have no idea though - do tail positions mean anything? Rauha walks around with her tail up and almost over one shoulder, Ilsa has a habit of curling her tail around the other two whenever shes around them, and poor Aino doesn't seem to have much of a clue about anything.

I watch constantly for serious injuries, of which there have been none, and have actually separated Rauha and Aino when it looked like it was starting to get serious. Rauha calmed right down the moment I took her out of the cage, and both the other two seemed to appreciate a bit of a break too. Its actually quite interesting how much easier Rauha is to handle now too - I don't know if its a trust thing with being around me or if shes just feeling happier now she has a place in the group.

Anyway, this should probably have been a blog entry instead of a rambling post, but hows everyone elses cage dynamics? Do you see obvious alphas and betas? And what is it with that tail thing Rauha does, arching it right over her body - could she just be in heat or something?
 

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One of the many reasons I love rats so much is they have such beautiful interesting personalities. They are each unique and it is really fun to get to know each of them.

I will be honest I don't really love the whole alpha vs beta thing. I think it is far too simplification of what is really going on. Groups are not so much boss & followers but a whole hugely complex social system. Just like other animals and even people you have those who will be more confident and outgoing and others who are more laid back & shy.

I like how you said Rauha being easier to handle now. I am a firm believer that girls really excel in groups. I have kept different size groups before and the larger the group the more confident and happier the girls become. I have 10 girls currently and it is just amazing how they all open up.

From my own experience with my rats I see such interesting dynamics in their group. My girls for example, the matriarch- my eldest Khaleesi & the actual mother of 5 of the girls, grandmother of 1. She wants no part of any of it. She is never bossy, she just does her thing and could care less. Even when I intro new rats, she pretty much ignores them. She was an amazing mom & grandmother & she is so not a laid back rat! She is super people social, the first one to greet everyone but with rats she is just meh whatever.

I also think from my large group it helps relax the social dynamics, there is definitely no one I would consider an alpha. Sansa is probably the most confident & she can be a huge brat to the others. She has gotten into spats and has an issue where she likes to power groom the other girls - but she only acts this way when in heat.
My Dany also has had a bit of an issue during heat where she wants to hump everyone lol.
One of my himi girls is quite a bit more shy socially. She does get picked on a bit. I actually was tempted to remove her because she was the main focus of Sansa's grooming fest & ended up with a bit of hairloss!
Then I have my girl Cersei, who has alot of issues. I dont think she was ever handled before I got her. Her first home she bit the woman & so she was ignored and given to me. I think there may be some deep mental issues there because she is very much a mess. I got her in the same week I got Dany & they were together for alittle while alone. She is quite bonded to Dany but for the most part she ignores all the other rats. She sleeps with them and such but she seems more like that super shy friend who just sits off in the corner during parties lol.

I really love to see how my girls interact with the babies. The ones who will boss the babies around, bathe them, etc... and the ones who absolutely ignore them. The funniest thing is that for some odd reason every baby ive had loves Dany. They will follow her everywhere, jump & climb all over her. And she is no amused. She doesn't attack them. But you can tell she is thinking..why me??? lol

But for the most part in my group everyone is fairly equal. They have like a hippy peaceful group lol And seriously it seems the more rats I add the more they go closer to that type of attitude.

I think it is a bit different with boys. I do tend to see more bossier boys and those who will get out of his way and be more submissive.
 
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