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Discussion Starter #1
So I rescued my current rat from a hoarder. He was all alone in a filthy cage and wasn't handled much. He's about 6 months old and is now the sweetest thing ever. Suprisingly after 3 months he's a perfectly healthy and happy ratty. So, I know rats shouldn't be alone, but mine was left alone before and I wanted to make sure he would come around and like to be held and that he wasn't ill so I waited. Now he's been alone for months and I decided it's time for him to have a friend instead of mommy (aka me) holding him and handling him for 5 hours a day so he doesn't get depressed and lonely. Well apparently I'm an idiot so now I need help from all of you wonderfull rat lovers who've btdt before.

I went to the local pet store and bought a new rat, another male (don't want babies) after trying to find a breeder around here (no litters and they aren't breeding again for months) and shelters (none available). After looking through 4 different stores I finally went to pet supplies plus and purchase one. He was about 5 weeks old, was in a enclosure with good clean bedding, good food, and no other rats other than his siblings. Mother was on site in the enclosure next to him and I was told this was an accidental litter because some idiot sales guy picked up a feeder rat and it jumped down and went into a cage with the males and bam.. instant babies. Anyways, dad was sold mom is there mom seems healthy just unsocialized as all pet store feeder rats are.

I'm sure you are all waiting on the question here (figured you needed back story a bit). I know rats shouldn't be left alone. I know rats should be quanrantined to prevent the spread of disease to my rat. I also know that the smaller the rat that is introduced to my male rat the better chance I have at them getting along. So.... how long should I quarantine? I don't want to leave him in that tank in a different room for months like some websites suggest. I also don't want him to be too old before introducing to my rat because they are both males and I've heard of some big fights with introducing older rats. Every site I go to says to quarantine them for at least 2 months. Every site I go to says to introduce a rat to another male rat around 6 weeks old. Ugh... I'm so confused!! Help please.
 

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I've heard three weeks for quarantine (sometimes 4). 2 months seems excessive. And the new rat should be in a room as far away from your other rats as possible (better yet in a different house altogether, but that didn't work for me). You're supposed to wash your hands between handling the quarantined rat and the other, and even change your clothes.
 

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He's in a different room, they aren't too far away from eachother, but there isn't alot I can do about that though. I can't move the rat cages as the one is big (dresser converted to rat cage) and the other one is a tank (temporary and annoying to have to clean daily) that if I don't keep high enough my dog will try to get in (he thinks rats are food).

I've been handling my rat then going to handle the new rat. I knew about washing hands and changing clothes though.

How common are diseases in rats, it seems like everyone makes such a huge deal about qurantining them that it must be realy common.
 

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The biggest problem is airborne disease/illness, which rats are extremely susceptible to due to fragile lungs. From URIs, to SDA (which can be deadly) and everything in between. And quarantining in the same home (with the same airspace) isn't going to protect from that. It will protect from *some* bacterial problems, and parasites.

http://ratguide.com/health/basics/quarantine.php
 
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