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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have two male rats; Nemo is about 5 months old, the other, Fidget is 8. We got Nemo because Fidget's buddy died and he became very sad and lonely. They have always play fought then groomed each other, occasionally a more snippy altercation once in a while, but never anything very loud or violent. We all moved in May, and everything was fine. Somewhere in July they became more easily aggravated with each other, and the play fighting escalates to a loud squeak of pain more often than before.
It's not like they are constantly fighting, but the upward trend in rough play has me concerned.
As of late, they wake me up at night from time to time with all the sudden shrieking fury of a mini bar fight. Fidget often has those greasy patches on his hindquarters now, which wasn't very common before I moved, and Nemo (who has always been more sniffly and nervous) has begun making that wheezy sound and sniffling more. I did the rat phone and his lungs sound fine, and there's no red boogies on his nose or eyes or anywhere. I think it's stress thats making him sick, maybe from the brawling.
I don't know why its becoming so easy for them to get this rilled up. Is it the heat? Is this just the age they are at?
Maybe the cage is too small and they need more space and more interesting things in it? (They are both full grown, and share a Super Pet - Habitat Defined)
Thoughts?
 

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Your boys are becoming adults and some will get more hormonal than others. Some will calm down after awhile, others may not.

Stress imo is one of the biggest issues of aggravating a respiratory flare up. Keep a good eye on Nemo in case he needs to go to the vets to get antibiotics. Ailments can go from not bad to terrible rather quickly in rats.

I have that cage as a travel cage here because the base is very small and fits in my jeep. I would not put 2 full grown boys in it, especially if one is hormonal. If you can get a bigger cage I would do that, keep an eye on craigslist and also look at bird cages on there, there are usually lots of really nice flight cages which work great with rats. Just make sure no matter what you get that the bars are not too far apart.

Now I have 8 boys, so I know only too well the pains of growing pains. My boys are all 8 months and brothers. So far no one has to completely separated. The things my boys need-nice sleeping quarters separate from each other and a larger one that they can share if they desire. This depends on individuals, some of mine like soft fleece hammocks and others prefer a plastic tube or basket. I put food somewhere that no one wants to sleep so not to encourage any one hogging the food bowl or water bowl.

Too much change, or cleaning seems to stress my boys. Unlike my girls who delight in changes to their cage and don't seem to care about the change in smell when I do full clean ups, my boys are more sensitive. When I do big cage clean outs I have to check and sniff items and if they don't overly smell they go back in without cleaning and I try to put those items back where they were originally.

If everything gets changed I have more spats with them all trying to figure which sleep spot is theres, who gets what chew toy ect.

Make sure there are plenty of different types of toys. Such as easy to chew things like cardboard boxes, or paper. (taking an empty toilet paper roll and stuffing it full of paper makes a good foraging toy) Hard to chew items like wood blocks, even twigs from safe tree's you might have in your yard that haven't had any chemicals put on them. Lots of easy to carry and stash toys-wiffle balls or cat jingly balls, small bird toys ect, little bits of braided fleece. Hang a couple carrots in the cage for them to work at getting to.

Keeping boys busy with other things helps them. So just think of things you can give them that they can chew, stash, climb in, climb on ect.

I keep a box of toys, both hand made, baby toys from thrift stores, bird toys, chew toys ect and a little pile of some kind of dry treat (crackers, popcorn, cereal ect) and if I hear a scuffle I bring something for both the offending parties to take from me. Distraction can work wonders.

Good luck with your furs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I might suggest a larger cage. Also does your present cage have a wheel? I think wheels are great exercise.
I tried a wheel before, and they hated it. It just wound up being a tight spot for one them to pin the other under in a spat. I even tried a large ball. They just sat in it and pooped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks mimsy, for the advice.
I'm planning on getting them a Critter Nation cage, it appears to be the best choice for the space they need and the space I have. I hope the move to a new cage won't stress Nemo out even more.
 
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