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Meet my rats: Iba (or Eeba) and Deeba. Why Eeba and Deeba? Well it's the sound we came up with as kids that a small critter might make. Just one of those kid things...like a cartoon noise. <pokes head out from behind a tree> ... "eeba deeba?". It's silly and very much an "in joke" but I think it fits perfectly. A while back, my girlfriend brought home two male Long-Evans rats from the vet school lab. At the end of the semester they are euthanized, but most are adopted by the students instead.They came home with their lab names "Nimh" and "Neko", which are pretty good, so we still use them interchangably, but Nimh is now also called "Iba" (or Eeba) and Neko "Deeba".

Nimh is considerably larger than Neko. He is around 600 grams, Neko maybe 450. They are captive bred and raised by not really socialized other than handling in the lab. Nimh is the more comfortable with humans, less timid and has a very strong appetite. He is the big, happy and clumsy stereotype. Not very agile or athletic, more apt to fall or miss a jump, but also more comfortable hanging out on your shoulder. Neko on the other hand, while skittish around humans and very quick to run away or hide, is athletic and sure footed. When we got them we mostly played with Nimh since he was more predictable and manageable.

As to who is the Alpha, it's not entirely clear. At first we were sure it was Neko. Although considerably smaller, he was more dominant in play and posturing, and it was Nimh doing most of the running away, squeaking in fear, and getting forcibly groomed. Over the months things have changed a bit. I am only guessing, but this might have to do with Nimh's growth. With his huge appetite, he has outgrown Neko even further. I think the size advantage has changed the dynamic somewhat, and it's difficult to tell who is in charge these days. They almost never fight now, but when they do, Nimh will sometimes simply lay on top of Neko and "win". And although Neko is still the superior athlete. I also notice that lately Nimh is a bit more sure of himself when jumping and climbing, which I recall reading somewhere is an indicator of dominance.

In the cage is a suspended globe or orb secured to the top of the cage. They love it. For the first few months, they spent most of the time in it together. Now, either because of the change in social dynamic or the sheer size of Nimh not quite fitting in there with Neko any more, or perhaps because Nimh is now pretty fearless (all speculation), usually Neko has the "orb" to himself and Nimh stays outside on a shelf. And since Neko is more timid, he likes the security of a hiding place. Occasionally I'll hear some squeaking of protest from Neko when big ol' Nimh decides to squeeze in there with him. It doesn't happen often but it's hilarious when it does.

So now I've set the stage for some of my behavioral questions, which I'm going to post in the appropriate forum. We've had them for several months now and some changes have occurred. I've worked hard to socialize Neko more, and he has lost a lot of his fear. Nimh is getting a bit too big so I'm trying to cut down on his snacks. And so forth. I am absolutely fascinated by rat behavior so look for my posts now that I'm a registered user. Thanks in advance.
 

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Welcome! I just want to say good job rescuing the lab rats. I personally plan on doing this during my next set of rats. Lab rats deserve good homes too, and they actually tend to have better genetic lines, often devoid of the Myco problems that plague fancy rats.

Your boys sound like they have a lot of personality! :)
 
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