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Discussion Starter #1
i wasn't looking when it happened, but skunk and olive were in their cage. i had the door open and was switching some bedding for clean towels when suddenly, olive approached me with a bite about halfway down her tail! i'm assuming it was skunk (though i didn't hear a fight or anything) since matilda was up in a hammock at this time, and that it just happened immediately before she came to me. it's a small bite, just on the surface, and the skin's broken but it's not bleeding. it's not really swollen or crooked, either. she doesn't actually seem to care much about it- i was able to pick her up and handle her tail like normal.

needless to say, i separated the two cages (their big cage was two cages put together) and skunk is in solitary. it's weird, they have been living together relatively peacefully in the two spliced-together wire cages for the last few days/nights, with what i thought were normal rat scuffles at night and cuddling during the day. this seems unprecedented, especially toward olive.

my main question is, what should i do to treat this? i really don't think it's so bad that it requires a vet- i can't really afford it, frankly, unless the situation's something i can't handle at home, and i'm kind of stranded here until evening anyway, until evening, without transportation. should i clean it? should i leave her be? i cleaned it a little with water just so i could get a better look at exactly how bad it was.

also, i hate to say this, but i think maybe skunk's too old to deal with babies in her cage. she mostly just wants to lay around. should i let her continue to live alone, interacting only during playtime while i'm watching closely?

what do you guys think? i'd really appreciate any help here.
 

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Well, from what you say, I don't think you need to separate them. Unless Skunk is attacking and drawing blood, I don't think you need to worry too much. You could actually do more damage to Skunk by putting her on her own.

As for the wound, Olive should keep it clean herself. If it makes you feel better you could gently clean it with a clean cloth and some warm water, maybe rub a little neosporin into it gently, but if it were me I would just leave it be and monitor it carefully over the next couple of days to make sure it's healing properly.

And breathe! I know how worrying it is when you get your first ratty "injury". She will be ok! But I would definitely put Skunk back with her ratty friends, at this time. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
okay, i'll just leave olive to clean it herself and keep an eye on it. i know it's probably not such a big deal, but... i just worry, because olive and matilda are so little and skunk's kind of being a bully, it seems, although most of it has been directed at matilda. i saw her early this morning, kind of... i guess she was pushing matilda around, literally- using her bulk to press matilda against the bars of the cage or the cardboard boxes. until this point, she has been nice to olive, though.

i was thinking of maybe looking for an older rat to befriend skunk, someone her own size she can't push around as much. i don't know.

anyway, thank you very much for your advice.
 

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from what you're saying skunk is just being a normal girl. an older girl will fight back but the young ones just take it for the most part. its just normal working out of the hierarchy. after a while she'll stop pushing the others around. they're just getting used to eash other yet. getting her a larger older friend will be more difficult then just letting the babies run their course. as an older larger female will feel its her right to be queen as well as skunk thinking the same thing. the babies are just thinking, "ok, fine you can be queen, can you stop showing me that you want to be now??" it may be that matilda is a little less submissive and skunk has to show her more often that SHE is queen dang it.
 

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If you get her a larger friend that she can't push around as much, I'd think it'd be more likely to fight. :)
 

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Yes, pushing like that is a dominance thing and you really need to let it go the course. It's hard to watch, I know - we introduced an adult rat to a young one a few months back - but you have to think of it in rat terms... this is what they do, the older ones know it, the younger ones know it... it's all part of being a rat. Please don't leave Skunk on her own... she is just doing what rats do.

ETA: I forgot to say - it will calm down, eventually... honestly!
 

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If you are concerned about your babies, put some hidey's in there for them. Somewhere they can get away from Skunk with a small opening that they can get into but she can't.
I have used hard cardboard poster/blueprint tubes. I traced a circle on cardboard using the end of the tube, cut it out then cut it in half or less, taped it over the ends to restrict the size of the rat able to get in, and put them in several places in the cage. If a adult rat was getting too rough or a chase was going on, baby had somewhere to run and hide til things calm down. Leave the hideys in there til you are absolutely positive that all is well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
lilspaz68 said:
If you are concerned about your babies, put some hidey's in there for them. Somewhere they can get away from Skunk with a small opening that they can get into but she can't.
that's a very good idea, i'll do that. i was trying to think of a way to block off part of the cage just for them, but that sounds more feasible.
 
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