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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
okay I've just had 3 new girl rats, are they more or less aggressive than males?
I have certainly learnt that they are more active! but they've stared chasing each other round and squeaking a little but I assume that's normal? kept me up all night running around the cage and jumping around like mad ones!
but does everything sound normal atm?
 

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okay I've just had 3 new girl rats, are they more or less aggressive than males?
I have certainly learnt that they are more active! but they've stared chasing each other round and squeaking a little but I assume that's normal? kept me up all night running around the cage and jumping around like mad ones!
but does everything sound normal atm?
Caveat: Still new to this, but I've done some research. I've also observed this in my girl rats.

The wrestling can look vicious. I think it's partly because of their size and partly how fast they move. The first few times we watched our girls wrestled, we were concerned, but the research I've done shows that this is normal. The squeak is the loser's way of telling the winner that she's had enough. In the case of our rats, the loser would squeak, and the winner would immediately let up. Then the loser would pounce on the winner and reverse the situation.

We added a new young rat (I kind of wish I got another rat her age, but my wife wasn't in the mood for four rats). This wrestling seems a little different. When the oldest pins her, the youngest sometimes has to squeak two or three times before the oldest lets up. Before, it was just one squeak. I hope it's not bullying, but I cannot really tell. But sometimes the youngest does chase after the oldest, so I think they're still playing.

The takeaway I got is that no blood, no foul. The rats aren't hissing or sidling, which are signs of true aggression. If your rats aren't puffed up or facing off against each other (in order to protect their rump), then they are likely fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply, and yeah she squeaks once& that's it. how long do I leave it before I can free range with them?
 

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Thanks for your reply, and yeah she squeaks once& that's it. how long do I leave it before I can free range with them?
Someone with more experience than me may contradict me, and you should probably listen to that person.

But I get the impression that you can free-range fine as long as you are in a rat-proof room. Or have walls in place so that they cannot go hide behind the washer. In fact, I'm a little envious of people who have more space because they can actually share space with rats while they roam. The best I can do is manage a 3'x5' pen that I can store behind the fridge. If you are able to share space with them, that may even help with the bonding, it sounds like.

My oldest rat is only 2 months old, so I'm not even at the point where I feel comfortable letting any of my girls wander too much. I bought a DCN just so they could have more room to move.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well I tried free ranging this morning and she just jumped off the bed and I lost her for around 1 hour. eventually got her back no harm done. so I'm going to leave them to get used to their home before I try it again lol. females are so fast where as when I got my males they free ranged near enough straight away. But the females are crazy lol
 

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Ah, I had a different impression about free-range. I was hoping that I could have clarified it with my suggestion of the walls, but I think my comment on a rat-proofed room may have been confusing.

Although, I doubt I would have changed my answer. I would not have expected them to jump off the bed. I base them on my own ratties. I don't let them roam too much (wish I could). I have a folding table that I can put them on, but they aren't fans of that. They're out in the open, and the surface is hard. I don't use it for roaming, though. I use it for the temporary storage of a rat while I'm mussing in her cage. They haven't dared to jump off the table—not even to the couch next to it. They're uncertain about heights. How high off the floor is your bed?

My rats haven't even been brave enough to hop to the floor when the DCN doors are open. I'm grateful for this, but I doubt it'll last. I like being able to hold a rat while leaving the doors open. The other rats like to look over the edge but none has taken the plunge.

Are you able to make a little pen for yourself and the rats? Maybe those science fair display boards? A refrigerator box cut up into pieces and clamped together? That would provide more mobility while making it easy to recover them.

One suggestion I read, which makes sense to me based on my experiences, is to have a hidey hole nearby. Their favorite igloo or something similar. When the rats freak out, they seek safety. If they're already comfortable with the igloo, they may huddle in there, which makes collecting them so much easier for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
my bed it rather high off the floor lol. I'm going to sort something out for them to roam around in.

and my boys loved the bed when I first had them but the girls don't seem too impressed. I'll leave them a little longer then try again.
Thanks for your help.
 

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My bed is really high and my girls won't jump down unless I leave blankets hanging to the floor. My boys are the naughty ones, they race right down the side of it like it's nothing. They also are really good about racing back up it and checking in regularly, if they are not they are harassing the girls cage.

I'm more nervous of the girls on the floor though, because they are so fast, and less likely to come when I call them. I spend most of the time if they are on the floor checking and rechecking my room for any kind of holes or bad locations. Makes me kinda a wreck.

As far as playing, the girls constantly chase each other around. Usually it's the loser who cheeps, but I have a talkative one who cheeps when winning or losing. No one ever gets too rough, it's actually pretty rare that they even bother pinning, they just want to jump on someone and then be chased back. Sometimes my older girls will get sick of the younger ones and pin and groom for a second, which usually stops the horse play.
 
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