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I have a year old male rat who just lost his cage mate. I had gotten two little boys (look about 4-5 months at most, but I do not know the age) when the cage mate was sick and have been getting them comfortable with me. They've made a lot of progress with me and have gone from really skittish to happy to climb on me and play some.

I tried two introductions with the rats. The best small, neutral ground I have is the bath tub. Immediately the old rat became aggressive. He puffed up, hissed, and approached the new rats sideways. I removed him and tried again the next day. He seemed to give it a chance, won a dominance struggle (unaggressive) with one rat, but started to puff and hiss again with the other. I intervened and tried to tell him "No" the way he understands, but he only became more upset and I pulled him out again. I'm not really sure what to do or how to proceed.

The new rats seem interested and excited when I put them together, and back off when he starts hissing. I have been trying to look for answers, but I am coming up short past "remove the aggressive rat and try again later."

They've only met twice, but I'm worried about stressing out everyone and making the new rats afraid of the old one. Any advice would be really appreciated!
 

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Mixing scented items works with cats--keeping a pice of fabric in the new rats' cage, then moving it to the old one's so he can get used to the smell. As well as keeping the cages next to each other. Maybe such a rapid intro was a bad idea?
 
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