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Discussion Starter #1
I have 4 male rats, two brothers 6 months old and 2 brothers 4 months old.
One of the 6 month old, Karel, is bullying the 2 younger boys.
He chases them around the cage and they scream and run. they seem to be very scared when he behaves that way.
it happens a couple times a day, but nobody gets hurt, only a bit stressed.

I am not sure what to do, I did a new introduction, very slowly, and things seemed to settle down a bit, since 5 days they have gone form half the cage to the whole cage and he seems to be chasing them around more often.

He sometimes sleeps with (one of) the 2 younger boys in a hammock, but most of the time he sleeps with his brother, or alone. to us he is a very affective rat and very calm.

I don't like neutering, simply because i do not like to operate a healthy animal. can i let this go on like this? he hasn't hurt anyone yet and as long as it stays that way....can i let them go trough puberty together?

i also have been thinking about seperating them. I have a large double cage, now used as one cage without the middle tray in it (Little zoo venturer cage).
I have been thinking about putting the 2 young boys in one part, and Karel and his brother in the other part, and seperate them during puberty to not let it escelate and give them peace.

Do you think this would be a good idea? and do you think i can introduce them again later on?
 

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I'm not really a proponent of the "no blood, no foul" rule. Sometimes you can see the train coming before it hits you and it's better to just get out of the way. I've only been through this with one of my boys. It got to the point where the other rats were terrified all of the time. I finally pulled the plug when I found him standing outside a hut with all of the other rats huddled inside. He wasn't letting them leave and nipping at their faces when they'd try to poke their noses out. It was as extreme as it gets without any actual injuries.

Of my current 5, there are 2 that just don't like each other and one chases the other around at least once a day in an aggressive manner but I still find them cuddling together every now and again. I'm letting them work through their differences and hoping they'll grow out of whatever this current thing is.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
What did you do with the first bully ?
Did you neutere him?
And how are things going with your xurrent group?
Do you notice that they settle down since the beginning? What age are they?

I am not sure if i should let this go on.
He does not hurt them and he doesnt chase them for long, it doesnt even last a minute, it just is that you can see karel freezing, the victim gets stressed and als freezes and then runs, karel chases him for maybe a minute, then the young boy gets away screaming and after a few minutes he gets relaxed again. Karel can be on edge for while after such a chase, but he also relaxes after a while again.

Could it be that this happens because of they all go through puberty?
Do they not like eachother?
Can this settle down after a while?
Karel does sleep with all of the other rats, but most of the time he sleeps with his brother or on his own.
His brother is very relaxed and loves the young boys. Karel seems to leave his brother alone.
 

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Neutering supposedly can help with hormonal aggression but I cannot vouch for that since I've never neutered any of mine. Personally my boy rats used to be more bully-like to each other when they were that age but as they aged they became calmer with each other. How do your rats act towards each other when not fighting? Do they avoid each other?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have decided to rehome the 2 young boys.
I suddenly found someone interested, and also because of other reasons, this was the best solution.
Karel and his brother Kees are happy together now. Both are relaxed and no more fighting or stress.
The 2 young boys have found a lovely new home with good caretakers. This is best foe all of them.

Could it be that they just did not like eachother?
 

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It's normal for boys to get aggressive with each other since they are more territorial and hormonal, they can be the friendliest boys ever and still fight with each other, if they were avoiding each other even after fighting or one was showing any fear towards the other when not fighting that would mean that they were really fighting, freezing and screaming can mean that although they weren't hurting each other one of your rats felt more threatened by the other rat. This is why some people put a neutered boy with a girl since the two personalities are good together.
 

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I'm glad you found a new home for the younger boys.

I think your problem was most likely due to hormonal aggression - so if you end up with more boys in the future, it would be worth trying again to mix with the older boys.

My heart rat, who I lost 6 months ago, was generally an absolute teddy bear, but when he was 6 months he was an absolute bully to a younger rat we put in the same cage. He would block the young rat's access to food, water and the upper part of the cage. He calmed down after a couple of months and we never had any problems after.

But on the other hand, one of our adopted rats named Max was aggressive to other rats most of his life. He was okay with his littermate but anyone else he would attack. And in fact he and his brother had many fights, we often found scratches on them. After Max's brother died, we tried to introduce Max to our other boys but it just didn't work - he was either aggressive or afraid, and on our final attempt to socialise him, he was so freaked out by one of the other rats that he ended up biting my son so deeply that we had to go to A&E. After that we basically said "OK no more trying to get Max to be friends" and we had him alone in a cage but near enough to our other cages to see and smell other ratties so he didn't get stressed.
 
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