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Discussion Starter #1
Hi!! At some point in the next few weeks I am hoping to see about finding a companion for my intact male 7 month old rat. He came to me because he was aggressive towards the other male rats in his household. I have not seen this behavior but once his quarantine period is up and I feel like he is not a health risk to other rats I want to plan well and proceed mindfully. Neutering is on the table potentially, but I want to give proper introductions a try before surgery, and perhaps there will be spayed or neutered rats available to adopt when the time comes? My research suggests that neutered males are much less likely to incite aggression, statistically, though I don't honestly have any information as to how intact males typically respond to spayed females. How often do altered rats come up for adoption anyway? I want to plan right and in advance so I welcome everyone's valuable input for building a happy colony! He is a good boy and I want him to be happy. Thank you all so much for your time! I have a lot of dog/cat/bird/reptile/wildlife experience but I'm a new rat mom. I just know rats need other rats to have a fully satisfying life so I hope to achieve that.
 

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In rat rescues, altered rats are common. Elsewhere, it's not really common. Rats aren't often altered at shelters due to cost and lifespan. If there are any near you, females will be the easiest to introduce followed by neutered males.
 

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That's really good to know - so, he won't harass a spayed female or anything like that? I was imagining a "HEY BB HOW R U DOIN" while the girl was all like "gross creep gtfo" kind of a situation xD
 

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My neutered boys still harass my females, a year later. It's nothing bad and the females are willin to express their opinions on it. It's just harmless mooning over and attempted mating occasionally.
 

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Okay, good, sounds like they can handle themselves! Would getting a female that is a couple months older than he is be a good idea? He doesn't seem to be fully grown quiiite yet so would it put her in a better position to give him the business?
 

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Any age is fine. Too old and she'll pass leaving him alone again though - rats only live 2-3 years. Which reminds me, if you get unaltered friends go for a pair of young males (3mo or less). They'll have each other if intros don't work and when he passes.
 

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Yeah, I want to adopt in pair in case of the worst, and also quarantine alone would suck!! I'm gonna hold out for a pair of spayed females, then if it goes well I can keep my eye out for a pair of neutered males? His cage will house 8 according to the rat cage calculator, but I am not looking to go over 4-5, and even that is going to be with some alterations and increased platforms, climbing, hidey holes, etc. He loves the hammocks and cube I made for him so far -pets sewing machine adoringly-
 

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Some rats, especially male rats, have a tendency to become overly aggressive in pairs or small groups if there isn't a human influence around to keep order. In other words if there's no human in charge one rat pretty much takes on the job. In a cage environment this can lead to bullying or worse.

If you are a hands on rat owner that is around most of the time and takes the lead in activities chances are that your rat may not be rat-aggressive in your home. I might also add that most rat aggressive rats are also human aggressive. So if he's having problems with you, he's more likely to experience problems with other rats.

Rats are social animals, a good social structure for rats in small groups includes a human parent (alpha) and a happy family of well behaved rats (the pack). There will always be some skirmishing and play fighting but as long as none of the rats get confused about being in charge things usually work out pretty well. Once a rat gets confused about being the alpha things can get out of hand no matter who you pair him up with. Getting him a very submissive rat might just mean that the new rat gets beat up more.

You will notice that strong and omnipresent, hands on rat owners don't seem to have too many issues with their rats whereas folks with a very laid back if not submissive personality that aren't around much seem to have most of the aggression issues. As you most likely don't know too much about where he lived before and how he was handled it's difficult to predict how he will behave in your home.

Best luck.
 

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Thanks for your reply! I've been off for the weekend so sorry for not replying!

I've never met an animal that I was intimidated by yet! I always felt that I achieved calm, positive responses from the variety of nonhuman animals I was presented with in shelter work because of my approach, which is to just be calm and assertive. I just have really firm ideas of my expectations and I stand by them - gently but firmly! I always joke that my cats let me brush their teeth and trim their nails and do whatever because they've just resigned themselves to my overbearing good intentions xD

This little guy is really fabulous with people. I cannot allow him to free range throughout the house because of my cats (I don't trust them haha) but in a closed off bedroom he is confident and curious, comes when called, and chooses to sit next to people to groom and snuggle. He accepts all manner of petting and "grooming" from me at least, allows himself to be turned over and have his belly rubbed, and will even make a cursory effort at returning groomings. Really cute I can't even. When it comes to the cats he seems to ignore them (his cage goes where I am when I am home, and if he's not on my person he can at least be within arm's reach and have conversations) - he will go about his business in his cage and will come to sniff their noses if they come to sniff at his cage, but otherwise they ignore each other. New people get the same, "Oh hey look a person!" response and begging to be taken out as those of us he's known for a few weeks. This guy is just about as bombproof with new people and situations as I could ever expect a new animal to be. He learns very fast, is calm and attentive, and stops to assess a new situation rather than fleeing. Those would smack of dominant or alpha behaviors to me, but he never presses those things on me and is totally cool with allowing me to direct play and training.

As for the last house, I was inside for about ten or fifteen minutes. I saw one of the other rats (maybe a month or two younger? its hard for me to judge) and he did not appear to have any kind of wounds. What was described to me seemed to be more like this rat was being very persistent in asserting his dominance, though they did not mention any kind of extreme violence, just the persistence of it. I am wondering if the humans in the house had a tendency to swoop in at the first sign of squeaking and prevent the rats from really establishing a hierarchy within the group, but there's no way to know for sure!

My goal is for him to be a part of a family group, I just want to go about it with a solid plan of action and to feel confident in my success rate. Spayed females in rescues seem scarce (read: nonexistant) in my state... I just get the feeling from him that a real proper intro could work. However, my total lack of realistic rat behavior experience is an issue when it comes to my ability to interpret him xD
 
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