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I got my first boy last night! (Not only the rat, but a ginormous Super Pet cage almost as tall as I am, tons of those plastic tunnels that link together, some toys, and mountains of Carefresh - all for free, just for taking in her baby... now there is a rat lover!) It was love at first sight, at least for me. But after holding him for a few minutes while talking to his old mommy, he stretched up and gave me kisses on my lip and chin! Neither of my girls has ever done that, except Coconut sometimes licks my fingers. And last night I was petting him and giving him a good rubdown, and he BOGGLED! I was so excited! He did it again a little while later! So now I know it's not just me in love! :D

Okay, enough of the gushing! I do have some concerns that I will ask the vet about when I take him in for a checkup and to schedule a neutering, but it won't be for about a week and half since the vet is on vacation next week, so I wanted to ask here.

First of all, his backbone seems to be protruded. I can feel it very clearly. At first I was worried that maybe he hadn't been given enough food at his former home (he certainly went crazy for the food I gave him, and wouldn't stop eating, plus hoarded some in his igloo), but other than his back he doesn't seem emaciated in any way. My girls are not chubbies at all, but I can't feel their bones that well. Any thoughts on what this might be from? Or is it normal?

I know males have more wirey fur than females do, but this guy looks very scruffy (I've been referring to him as Mr. Scruffles until I come up with a better name), like he needs to be brushed. He's definitely not a rex, he just has that messy hair look, almost like a case of rattie bedhead :lol: He also definitely needs a bath. Today I'm going to take a wet cloth and give him a good rub with it, until we know each other better and I feel more comfortable with actually getting him wet... since he doesn't seem to have ever had a bath ^^; But my question here is, do rats need to be brushed? Is there any way to do it? I was eyeing my little cousin's stash of Barbie stuff she keeps over here, and wondering if one of those Barbie brushes would work :lol:

Okay, final thing. He has a monster of a cage all to himself, but he seems very forlorn when he's in there. I know he's probably lonely and apprehensive at being in a new place, so I'm not too worried about that right now. But is it too big? I know that more space is always better, but is that true for a rat living alone? I want to swap his cage with girls' and have them live in the huge one, but the bar spacing is too wide for little Coconut. While I was setting the cage up last night, I stuck here in there just to see, and first thing she did was stick her entire head out through the bars and grab my shirt :roll: So if I maybe should try a smaller cage, I have two options. Either take off the top half of the big cage, and have him live in a half-size version (since he stays in the bottom half anyway), or let him stay in two Coast Cages (both Rat Ritzes, one without a wheel) linked together by some of those tunnels. Or should I just leave him in the big cage?

Sorry this is so long! I just love my little guy so much already :D Oh, and he's about 9 months old, and just a plain black and white hooded, although his white fur is specked with some brown hairs. I'm going to put up some pictures in the Meet My Rat section later today! :D

BTW, while I was typing, he climbed onto the keyboard and wanted to give you guys this message:

;;;[[[[[[[[[[[ppopppppppppppppppppppppi900000000000000

Maybe your rats will know what he means! :lol:
 

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O_O He said my screen name! POPPY! Hi little guy, I see you have a wonderful new mommy!

Large cage seems fine. If anything, the space is more welcome. But if you wanted to switch the cage, you could cover it in hardware cloth and zip ties for your girlies. I wouldn't worry about the cage. Just get him neutered asap and get started with intros with the girlies 3 weeks later ^_~

Hopefully neuters over there aren't that expensive.
 

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#1 if you're bathing him simply due to an odor, you have to realize that males do tend to have stronger scents than females and constantly bathing them will only encourage the smell to grow stronger... and #2 im not 100% sure on your intentions with him because by the sounds of things you're getting him neutered so he can coexist with your females am i correct?! Where as the biggest cage which would be suitable for all 3 of them doesn't meet the safety requirements necessary for your coconut, why not just adopt another male so as your two females are happy, and your male will be happy and you wont have to go through the costly procedures of neutering... by the sounds of what you're saying your male seems depressed when put into the bigger cage because he realizes that hes alone, i would try getting another male, it seems to me to be your best option.
 

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He's not stinky, he's just dirty. He actually smells a lot better than what I expected from a male.

The reason he is alone is because he does not get along with other males. He is aggressive with them and fights (not just play fighting, real fighting). His previous owner tried introducing him to 4 different other males, with no luck with any of them. She had to let him go because she didn't have the time to devote to a rat who couldn't be kept with the others.

At my vet, neutering is $60. I would rather try the neutering and hopefully reduce his aggressiveness, since we know he just does not fare well with other boys right now. And if need be, I can cover the cage with hardware cloth or something when the time comes to put them all together, if they do in fact all get along. If not, I don't know what else to do, other than try to give him the best life a solitary rat could live.
 

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Wow, someone arguing against a neuter. That's not something you see everyday in rat forums.

I think neutering him is a great idea for reasons you stated above AND the fact female rats have been known to escape and get knocked up many a times when people had seperate cages of intacts. I will never get a female in this house because of that, unless I have enough money for a spay.

Neuters here are $100 D:
 

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i wouldn't necessarily say i was arguing against a neuter, there were just other options to be considered. besides it made more sense to me to just get another male than to go through the whole process of the neutering, before knowing that he is aggressive of course. thats why i just stick with one sex, so much less complicated, they can generally all be housed together without problem.
 
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