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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got my little Karma when her eyes were still partially closed and I bottle fed her. She was away from litter mates for about 2 weeks, until I picked them up and put them into quarentine. I picked up a few of her litter mates so she wouldn't be lonely. They have been in quarantine for a while and I have recently made some introductions after switching them into each others homes for about a week. I have never owned rats before so this is new for me. I have tried introducing her one on one with another rat to not overwhelm her. She literally chases the other rat, jumps on it Spiderman style, and then licks or bites it. I can't tell which. The other rat always looks terrified. I don't know if this is aggression or what. I don't want either one of them to get hurt. I think the babies are around 5 weeks old. Can someone tell me their opinion of what she is doing? Should I introduce the 2 bonded females together with Karma or continue doing one on one?
 

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Its completely normal for there to be some tackling going on as well as biting. It's called dominance fighting. It's not necessarily actual fighting even though it is called dominance fights. Every pack has to go through this phase to establish who is in charge. It is a normal phase of life. Some take longer than others to figure all this out. It could go on for a few weeks or a very short time. I wouldn't be concerned unless you see blood being drawn and squeals that are deathly that you know real harm is coming to your baby. Trust me you will know the difference. My baby girl squeaks if you even look at her wrong but I had one time where her older brother got too rough with her and an actual fight broke out, I didn't see the fight cuz they were under a blanket but I heard how her squeak changed to bloody murder distress call and knew I had to break it up. I think it's a good idea that you are doing intros one at a time, cuz it probably keeps stress down for you and them, be sure to also keep an oven mitt on hand or towel in case a fight were to break out so you can break it up without getting yourself hurt in the process. Your babies are all so young though that i'm sure you won't have much problems with intros. I feel like babies that young are pretty innocent and loving. I don't think your baby means any harm by her biting. She is probably just trying to play to be honest and might be excited to be back around other ratties. I had 2 boys to start with and when they were 6 months old I got a baby girl when she was 5 weeks old. I intro'd one at a time as well and it went perfectly because my baby girl was so young and innocent she just wanted to play. She chased my boys all around like crazy and jumped on them over and over and bit them and got in their face but it was all innocent baby playfulness, not aggression. That is what I am imagining your baby is doing, playing. At that age, I think the dominance issues will be minor so you should have an easy time with intros but like I said, every pack has to establish an alpha and it is perfectly normal for them to pin each other down and forcefully groom each other. You have to allow them to work this out on their own, even if the one getting pinned is squeaking like crazy, it is ok. They are not getting hurt, they just don't like being held down lol. The sooner you let them work out their issues on their own, the sooner they will quit bugging each other as much and just live in harmony. It took my boys a few weeks to work that out but they never do that anymore.
 

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I was told its better to put all the rats together, instead of doing one on one intros. We did this when we introduce two younger ones to three older ones and it went well. We plan on doing it the same when we introduce the oldest four to the new youngesters and their mom. But you are going to have wrestling and possibly squeeking, specially if you have a complainer or two. (one of my girls is soooo loud, she squeeks and makes a fuss when the babies half her size jumped on her!) As long as you don't see any blood, let them be. They'll work it out. Rats can seem rather violent to us, but to them its nothing. No blood no foul is the thing to remember. If your concerned someone is a particular bully, keep one thing of food at the top, and one at the bottom, same with water. Or scatter feed food so that they can't guard it. But with our girls we keep one bowl and they just take what they want and stash it and then they all steal from each other's stashes, and they group drink out of their water bottles, so for us it's never been a worry, but I know some can be bullies so multiple food and water sources can be good. I would try and have her move in with them as soon as possible, the younger it is the easier it is. The longer you keep her alone the more it could pose a problem later on.

So I would take all three, put them in a tub, or plastic tote, something they can't jump out of and small enough they have to interact, and just watch them. If you don't end up with someone bleeding, clean the cage they will be living in, take out a lot of the possible problem items, (things like houses where one rat can get trapped), and put everyone in, then watch them for a while, and if it looks good let them be. Then slowly re-add in items like houses and wheels. I would imagine you wouldn't have much of an issue because they are so young, our biggest issue was our hyper Cricket annoyed our older shy girl Sips and so Sips would corner her in a house and beat her up pretty bad, little scratches here and there, till she started to calm down. Sips still doesn't like her to much but she tolerates her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for taking the time to reply. I really appreciate it :) I think I was so worried that Karma would be hurt, even though she is a bit of a bully. This put my mind at ease.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I successfully introduced Karma to her sisters tonight. To my surprise, she didn't kick their butts. She actually jumped on them and started grooming away! After making sure they were completely safe to be together, I moved them into a new, large home. They love it! I am happy to report they are snuggled up in a corner together, Karma on bottom :) So happy!
 
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