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Backstory: So a while back I made a post about my alpha Merry being aggressive with my newest rat Sam. (Here is that post: http://www.ratforum.com/showthread.php?292193-PLEASE-HELP-post-introduction-aggression ) I followed the advice about moving Sam back into a different room to get Merry to relax, but soon after that Merry got injured (Reference post: http://www.ratforum.com/showthread.php?293513-Favoring-dragging-hind-leg-and-behavior-change ) so then I had three rats in three different cages. After Merry healed up I tried to put him back with Pippin, and he almost immediately started becoming aggressive towards Pip. Would back him into the corner all puffed up and make Pippin scream and fear poop. When I noticed they were being bad I'm the cage I changed to having them try to meet each other again out in the play pen. Merry just kept getting more aggressive and drew blood almost immediately after seeing Pippin (who never tried to fight back at all). I resolved to just moving Merry into a cage alone (the bottom half of the DCN) and letting Pippin and Sam live together in the top half. That arrangement was (and is) going great but I still feel bad having Merry live alone. He seems to be perfectly happy (he also enjoyed people more than the other rats), he has plenty of toys and I'm going to try and start training him soon to keep his mind more occupied. I know there is the option of neuter, but I'm worried that it would just be in vain since he is almost a year old and just started being aggressive towards the cage mate he has had for his whole life. I also can't afford that now (especially if it doesn't for sure help) since Sam just had to have surgery yesterday due to some bad tail degloving (I'm not sure what happened but I came home to that issue after work)So my question is: what can I do to make Merry as comfortable as possible being a lone rat?

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Although Fuzzy Rat had three roommates over the course of her life, she was a lone rat for much of it. We took her with us everywhere we went and she pretty much lived on my desk or behind it always being nearby or underfoot. She had so much human interaction, she barely slept and she always seemed happiest when she was surrounded by a mob of kids. She may have been a lone rat, but she was anything but lonely.

In part, I think the reason she learned to understand humans and communicate with humans so well was that she really thought she was one... When Fuzzy Rat was old, her last roommate was Amelia. Amelia was a huge and very bright rat, but the joke around the house was that Amelia, was Fuzzy Rat's pet rat. Aside from the tail and whiskers, you couldn't tell they were the same species.

I'm not an advocate for raising only rats, not so much because it's hard on the rat, which it really might not be... mostly it's hard on the humans. Rats, especially when they are young, have the need for lots of companionship and it's hard for someone with a life and perhaps a job or a family to dedicate the time to fulfill their needs.

And oh yes... at two o'clock in the morning, I recall taking Fuzzy Rat out to the soccer field so she could run around and burn off her excess energy before going to sleep.... And somewhere in the dark, cold and wet, I began to realize just how bad an idea it was to raise an only rat as she scurried along the top of the chain link fence with me in hot pursuit. And I recall having a list of all rat friendly stores, restaurants and pharmacies that we could shop and eat at... A happy only rat can and will change your life.

Best luck.

At work with your rat...

Day at the beach with your rat...
at heel on beach.jpg

Take your kid and your rat to the playground...

Dinner with your rat....

It really was pretty great, but life with a rat 24 X 7 is a lifestyle which isn't for everyone...
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