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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Awhile ago I got a very young male feeder rat who was also very small and had been weaned too early. He was also pretty sick with a URI. He's probably about 2+ months old now and he's gotten a lot bigger, and a lot healthier. I got a new cage for my other two male rats which are about a year old and would like to put the newest rat in with them once he's a little bigger, so I decided to start intros in a neutral area. I put him in an enclosed area with the more passive one first. He sniffed the new rat a few times, and the new rat kind of swatted at him defensively, he seemed to be a little intimidated, but the older rat didn't react, just wandered off and came back a few times to sniff him some more. Pretty much what I expected from him, he's not very territorial.

However, my other rat who is pretty big and very dominant got a little more upset. He tried to sniff the new rat, but the new rat ran, which seemed to make him more excited and he jumped on/tried to bite the new rat. I've tried to introduce them a few times with the same result, unfortunately. He never harms the new rat, but it seems too intense to not be something aggressive, and the new rat squeals a lot. He isn't like this with all rats, awhile ago I introduced a 3 month male rat who now lives with my boyfriend to him with no issues. I've tried holding the new rat in my lap and letting the older one sniff him, but he still gets a little nippy. I watched a few videos to see if this was normal behavior or aggressive, and it's obviously fighting.

I was thinking of maybe bathing the two of them and putting them in a tub with a little water at the bottom, since I've heard that kind of distracts them. Is this a good idea? I also put a small towel that had been in the new rats cage into my older rats cage, which the more aggressive rat ended up laying on.
 

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I can tell you from experience that the bath introduction works wonders. I did this when introducing two of my boys to another three, and now they're all inseparable.
I also put them all together in a large animal-carrier with a clean towel lining the bottom, so they have a chance to dry their feet and settle in. All five of my boys were all cuddled up together by the time I was ready to move them into one cage together.
 

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You could also try putting a drop or two of vanilla on each of their back, so they'd smell less like strangers to each other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I tried putting them in the bath with a little water at the bottom, and that seemed to work! My kind of aggressive rat hates water so it definitely distracted him. He's very accepting of the new guy now. I put them all in the new cage together, thinking it would be good since it'd be "new territory" and not just my older rats' territory. (not unsupervised of course.) They both tried to cuddle him but he seemed terrified. Any time they would get near him, he would squeak, put his paws on their heads, or plaster himself in the corner of the cage. He only wanted to stay on the level of the cage where they weren't. I put him back in his previous cage and decided that I'll try to find him a rat friend his age to help him build confidence.
 
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