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Allow me to start by saying that I was a rat moron until just very recently. I know that ignorance is never an excuse when caring for animals, but there were some things I just didn't really know about until after the fact (case in point, all my of rats came from Petco). I currently have two females in a Martin's R-680. My dumbo girl, Erin, was part of a trio I adopted. I know at least she and one of my other girls were from the same litter, not sure about their third cage mate (she was a standard ear). Erin's sister and cage mate passed unexpectedly (I still don't know why TWO out of three of my rats died. I found Erin's sister one day after work, then her cage mate the next), leaving both of us heartbroken. Erin generally seemed unhappy, and giving her the time she needed was difficult since I'm at work all day. I knew that she would need a new cage mate very soon, which brings me to my current issue. Erin's new cage mate, Rosie, is lovely with me. She and Erin have been getting along awfully, however. In the beginning, things seemed okay between them, but they have been squabbling to the point of actually fighting (though no blood has been drawn, that I've seen). Erin seems to instigate a lot of the fights, but due to Rosie's larger size, she wins every time. I've observed sidling and poofiness in Rosie, and lately the issue has escalated beyond dominance squabbles. I've also noticed that Erin seems very keyed up and stressed with Rosie in the cage. It even seems as though maybe Erin has lost some weight.. In general, I think she's a petite doe, but I've been concerned that she hasn't been getting enough since Rosie has been in there with her. I know that stashing is pretty normal for rats, but Rosie seems to deliberately stash and guard food from Erin. They also seem to squabble over the only tube hammock I have hanging in their cage, although I have been waking up to find Erin and Rosie both snuggled up in it the following morning. Beyond their bed time though, I feel like there hasn't been a moment's peace between them. I decided today that this had gone on long enough, so currently I have them separated. I'm really concerned that as a result of this experience, both girls have picked up aggressive behavior and will no longer be receptive to new cage mates. Petco told me I could bring Rosie back in the event things didn't work out, but I just can't bring myself to do that. I really did not want to get more than two rats, but should I maybe look into getting a younger/smaller cage mate for Erin at least..? Is there a possibility that I can gradually reintroduce Rosie to Erin? Would a larger cage possibly help? I was actually considering getting the single level CN before I noticed the escalating aggression..

Sorry if these are idiotic questions. Thanks lots
 

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Well it sounds like you went about things quite wrong to begin with. Did you do introductions at all before putting them together? Whenever you get a new rat you should never just put them in with the rats you already have, You should do atleast a week of introductions and depending on how that goes then you decide if you need to take longer. Make sure you do them on neutral ground, somewhere no rat has been like table top (If they aren't jumpers) or bathtub or bathroom floor just somewhere neither rat has been and you should do this for an hour or more or less depending on how it goes. If it is going great then let them interact as long as you have time to supervise them but if it starts to get physical and then you will need to try redirecting the aggressor to something else when they start showing signs of aggression whether it be with a yummy treat or however you decide to redirect them so that hopefully in time they will learn to not go after the other rat. If it gets to bad, like rat ball bad then you will wanna seperate and let them cool off and try again later. Make sure you supervise them so that you can see who is doing what to whom and if they are to fight you can be there to redirect them. Also when introductions are finished and you are sure they are gonna be ok in a cage together make sure you clean it really well so that it doesn't smell like either rat so no one has more claim on it smell wise than the other. Hopefully this helps and please to take you rat back to the pet store :(
 
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