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Hi,

I am hoping to get my first rats soon. We were looking around at the shelter and ran into a very sweet little rat, she was reaching through the bars to get some contact and was very friendly so we went home and bought a cage and stuff and maybe she will still be there. Now I know it is better to have at least 2 and there was another rat that came in the same time as her but was in a separate cage even though they are both female so we were going to find out why they arent together and maybe get both.

How do you introduce 2 rats to each other if you are not sure if they have lived together before? Will it matter since the new cage they will be in doesnt belong to either?

This is a pic of the cage we got at petco. Is it big enough to have 2 rats? If not I can take it back, but I wanted to find out before I got the ratties, the book I have didnt say much about how much space there should be per rat.

Thanks

 

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Hi dogsdirtbike, welcome to the forums :)

The usual procedure for introducing rats is quarantine for 3 weeks, in a separate airspace to ensure neither have any illnesses (the 3 weeks is to allow illnesses that aren't apparent to come out).

After the quarantine, you would introduce them on neutral territory a few times to play. When you are comfortable with how they are getting along, you would scrub the cage to remove all trace of any rat and rearrange it so it feels like a new home to both of them.

However, as your situation is a little different, I think you can skip a coupla stages (I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong! ;))...

As they have been kept in the same airspace, if either of them have something, there's a good chance they both will, so I wouldn't worry about quarantining in a separate airspace.

I would highly recommend letting them get used to each other a few times first, though, before you bung them in a cage together. Somewhere like a bath tub or a bed or large couch where you can get to them quickly to break up any serious fights.

There will be a little rough and tumble as they try to establish hierarchy, but that is quite normal. You can expect to see wrestling, chasing, pushing, boxing, maybe even mounting. All this is normal. As long as there is no blood shed, you needn't worry too much.

Once you are happy that they are friends, you can put them together.

This is the way I would do it. Like I say, others might have different suggestions. I have only ever introduced rats by bringing in a new one to add to a current resident, and so I went the long process of quarantine etc.

Oh, and as far as the cage is concerned, there is a sticky in the rat homes forum with cage calculators. You can put the dimensions of the cage you are considering into the calculator, and it will tell you how many rats a cage is suitable for. Remember, the calculator tells you the minimum requirements... you can never have too much cage space for your rats! :)

Good luck! :)
 

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Donna basically summed it all up! good job donna! Welcome to the forum DDB! just remember, if they start to fight (bloodshed) do not try and seperate them with your hand because they will mistake it for another rat and you might get bitten, instead keep a water spray bottle handy when you do intros and spray them if they get in a fight. From what I know, most (about 90%) of rats hate water. Good luck and I cant wait for pics!
 

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savveth said:
Donna basically summed it all up! good job donna! Welcome to the forum DDB! just remember, if they start to fight (bloodshed) do not try and seperate them with your hand because they will mistake it for another rat and you might get bitten, instead keep a water spray bottle handy when you do intros and spray them if they get in a fight. From what I know, most (about 90%) of rats hate water. Good luck and I cant wait for pics!
Yes, I used a water spray bottle to break up any fights that were getting out of hand when I introduced our girls. I only had to spray them once! Just be careful not to get water in their ears, though. Spray them on their rear end or something. The idea is that they will stop what they are doing to clean/dry themselves off.

You do need to let them play out any wrestling, though - establishing dominance is quite an important thing if they are going to live together successfully. I would only resort to breaking them up/spraying them if there is blood shed or it goes on too long or gets too nasty. It's hard to watch, but it does need to be done.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the welcome and the advice on introduction.

Now I dont need to intro them. We went to the shelter to get 1 maybe 2 rats and I came home with 3! There were 3 female littermate there, we visited with all of them and they were all very friendly, Tally even climbed up my shirt to sit on my shoulder. We figured we would get 2 but I felt really bad leaving the 3rd one alone so we got her too. I ordered a bigger cage online and am just going to give them a lot of time to exercise out of there cage in the meantime.
 

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welcome to the forums, we're looking forward to pictures of your new family members *grins*
 

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dogsdirtbike24 said:
Thanks for the welcome and the advice on introduction.

Now I dont need to intro them. We went to the shelter to get 1 maybe 2 rats and I came home with 3! There were 3 female littermate there, we visited with all of them and they were all very friendly, Tally even climbed up my shirt to sit on my shoulder. We figured we would get 2 but I felt really bad leaving the 3rd one alone so we got her too. I ordered a bigger cage online and am just going to give them a lot of time to exercise out of there cage in the meantime.
That's great! Keep us posted with how you get on, and like Twitch says... we absolutely most definitely need pictures! ;)
 

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Congrats and welcome :)
 
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