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Hi! I am new to this forum, but not new to rats. I have had nine of them over the years, but stopped about four years ago when I started traveling a lot. I always had boys and - no shaming please - only had one at a time. I realized years ago that those first few rats didn't have the best lives... :-/ However, most of my boys lived with me here in Cambria where I owned a shop until a few years ago. They each came to work with me every day and were pretty much always out of the cage when we were at home, so they got tons of one-on-one time with me.

Now, however, things have changed. About 5 weeks ago, friends of mine found a fawn hooded male in their backyard. They took him in and set about trying to find out where he'd come from. Neighbors didn't know him, and the flyers they put out brought no response. They turned to me to help them out. I of course took him. (His name is now Lenny.) He looked to be about 6 months old when they found him, so he's probably between 7 and 8 months old now. Determined to do things *right* this time, I have adopted a sweet boy (Squiggy) who is about 4 months old. I am currently stressed out introducing them to each other. Having never done this before, I am more than a bit nervous.

At first, I put their cages near each other. Lenny went nuts trying to get at Squiggy, but Squiggy was intimidated and kept to the opposite side of his cage. Lenny was so stressed out that I put Squiggy's cage back into the other room. I've spent the last two days playing with one, then with the other, getting them used to each other's scent. Squiggy doesn't seem very bothered about that - maybe just a bit - but Lenny gets all stressed out and hyper, trying to find Squiggy. So, tonight I've got their cages next to each other again. Lenny has been puffing up his fur, and trying very hard to get through the bars to get at Squiggy. Squiggy has been doing a bit of posturing himself, this time, but he's definitely going to be the submissive one.

I'm not sure how long this should go on for. It doesn't seem fair to keep Lenny at such a high level of stress, but how else will they get used to each other before I have them meet on neutral territory? Right now, I'm pretty sure Lenny would rip Squiggy to bits! :-(

Thanks for any help!

Terri
 
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