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Discussion Starter #1
I apologize if there has been some coverage of this. I have scoured the forums and found many bits and pieces that have portions of my issue but I'm still confused as to what I am seeing. So, as a refresher, I have two female rattys, they came from different litters at a pet store, Ripley and Newt. Ripley was sick with a respiratory infection and spent two weeks at the vet so Newt had a lot of bonding time with us on her own. After Ripleys return they seemed to get along but for the last three weeks, after about a month or so back from the vet, Newt has become what seems to be extremely dominant. Newt for some reason is bigger than Ripley and much more outgoing and curious. At first we thought it was just personality but with the dominance we think it might be more of suppression.
Many times we will hear long bouts of squeeking from the cage, and we see Newt chasing Ripley or on top of her. Last night, which prompted this post, Ripley was on her back legs up frozen. I have seen Newt dragging her around by the skin on her rump or on her back. The bouts are very much one sided, and are occasionally pursuits where Ripley seems to be just trying to get away. But in the morning, they are sleeping together. Im so lost.
But, Ripley continues to stay rather small in size and doesn't like to leave her fleece house. If I take her out on her own this seems to agitate the aggression even more from Newt. Even if I'm petting Ripley, Newt has attempted to drag her by the skin.
Last night I held Newt in my hands on her back and squeeked at her, gave her a resounding "no!" and put her back in the cage. She just stared at me like "wtf?" But it seemed to stop the antics for one night. But she was back at it again this morning.
Basically I'm worried that one rats dominance is essentially destroying the others prosperity. What do I do, if anything needs to be done? Thank you so much.
 

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How long have you had them? Standing up on hind legs is a sign they are trying to work out a hierarchy. Be sure there's no blood though, if there is seperate them.
 

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You could get a third, stir up the mix a bit.

Honestly, though, I have no idea if that would help. Just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
There is no standing on hind legs. Newt chases her down or drags her out. I can't tell if it's jealousy or over food or what. It seems to be one of her favorite things to do.Meanwhile Ripley seems to just hide when she can. A third is an idea but a good quarantine period will leave the situation for a few more weeks.
 

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There is definitely going to be an alpha rat in every pack and they have to work out their hierarchy and figure out who's dominant. Things can be seem a bit iffy while that is happening. it depends on the pack for how long it takes to sort this out. It took my two boys at least a month or more to figure out who was alpha and honestly they both seemed like bullies while that was going on because my alpha boy is smaller in size so my big boy fought back for quite a while before completely turning into his sweet submissive personality. I honestly was so sure my big boy was the alpha and it wasn't true at all in the end. He's such a laid back sweetheart and my little guy turned out to be the feisty one but yet my alpha is my sweetest boy with me and a true shoulder rat but is very serious with the other rats. Anyways, it is hard to tell at first how it will turn out and can be sad to watch and you want to break it up and everyone to just get along. If a fight gets serious, such as blood is drawn or you hear squeaking that you know means business (you will know your baby is in pain when you hear it) then break it up, otherwise they must work out their hierarchy. Of course though, you are the alpha of everyone ;) After it was worked out with my boys they never ever have dominance fights like that. They just live in complete harmony and chill in their cage together and cuddle all the time cuz it's understood who's the boss and my alpha knows he is not threatened. You will hopefully get to that point as well when all is settled. It seems like Ripley does have a submissive personality which will probably make the process go faster. That's good cuz it's much worse if two dominant personality want the alpha position. It worries me a little that Newt drags her around cuz that sounds a little like bullying. That's sad but I also think girls can be more rough than boys cuz when I added a girl to my family she is so much more aggressive than my boys and is a huge bully it's ridiculous. She might just be a rough girl and hopefully will stop soon since Ripley doesn't fight back. For now I would just assume it is part of her dominance fighting and keep an eye on things for a few weeks and if it still doesn't stop we should address some other solutions to the problem.

My girl wanted to be alpha but of course my boy is already alpha and would never give up his position so that's too **** bad for my tiny girl that joined the family late but she would always bully him because of it and bite him and chase him around the cage constantly and was very aggressive and would hold my boys down and groom them very hard. It was really annoying. She would also nip me alot for no reason to be dominant over me. It happened especially when she was in heat cuz her hormones were crazy. They go psycho when they are in heat lol. I got her spayed and honestly it has been a million times better. I've had no problems at all since. the aggression is gone. And spaying is great for a female's health as well. So there are possibilities that could help if she truly has a problem. But i would wait and see.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for your insight. I filled their cage with a whole bunch of new stuff. I cut up boxes and made a mini fort, added some fleece tubes, made them a scrap dig box and activity seemed to occupy them. There was a some minor scrapping between them so I am assuming it is indeed a dominance issue and Newt is possessive in a way over new things in the cage, but the new stuff seemed welcomed by both. Ill keep an eye on them and maybe let them tussle it out despite its one sided nature. There is no blood or marks or torn hair or anything so I'll be patient a bit longer. Thanks for the advice!
 
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