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Hey guys, I've had an issue with fighting between Maggie &; October ever since I got them, and I really need help, because I'm really worried. This post might be long, so I'd really appreciate somebody reading this. I got my Rats on October 1st, I believe, from a large pet store chain. They were sisters, and I was concerned about separating them by just buying one, as I know they should've bought in pairs or more, so I bought both. I had never asked about fighting, because I figure it had always been a small problem in rats, especially siblings, so nobody mentioned anything to me. They were three months old, the guy had said, making them around a year old today. The first month was fight-free. But the second month I heard squeaking, and broke up their fights, examined each rat, looking for cuts and the like, finding nothing. Ever since then, I'm still unable to determine which of my ratties is instigating the fights, as I never actually see them occur, and they never happen when they're outside of their cage. Usually, Maggie is the victim, I believe. I often find red stains on her fur, but I can never find any cuts or scratches, even right after a fight. I can't even find any sensitive spots that may have been the result of previous spats! I often put her in a separate container, complete with food and water for roughly an hour before putting her back. On occasion I rinse her off, to get the stains out of her fur, but it's in vain because they come back as early as two days afterwards! However, I have seen the fights, and all they do is groom each other. Because of this, I think it's fighting over dominance, but they're a year old, and they've lived together that whole time, shouldn't that have been worked out? I've tried the vanilla essence/extract trick, where you dab a drop or two on their backs and base of their tails after cleaning their cage in order to get them to groom each other and essentially "reset" their scents in the cage. Of course, it didn't work. They don't seem to have any other qualms about anything else; they eat together, they sleep together, and all the time, too! I just don't get it! Is this normal at their age, under these circumstances? If not, how can I fix it?
I've currently decided on letting it go for three more months, and if it hasn't stopped by then, removing Maggie from the cage permanently, and giving her a new home, with a new owner, as I don't have the money to buy more resources for a second cage, and I want her to be happy and healthy. Even then, what if October becomes depressed? Is it safe to get her a new cagemate, and when? Will I discover them fighting too, and realize that October is the problem rat, and that I gave Maggie away for nothing? Is it possible, somehow, to keep a rat alone as long as it gets the attention and care that it needs and then some every day, if it comes down to that?
 

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This is a difficult question to answer. Spats between rats is common as is rough play. Not being able to see exactly what is going on, it's difficult to know whether it is something that is getting out of hand or is normal. Red stains depending on where they occur could be caused by porphyrin rather than blood, and the fact that they recur after a couple of days makes me suspect that they are porphyrin. If what is going on is just normal spats or play fighting, then there is no cause for separating them and changing one rat for another will not make a difference. Not knowing more about what is exactly happening makes it a tough call. Generally, "No blood, no foul" maintains, so if you aren't actually finding blood or wounds, odds are that what is happening is normal rat behavior. Most of what I hear between my rats is a certain amount of bouncing around and a few squeaks. If it goes on too long or a rat screams, then I get involved, but that happens extremely rarely.
 

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Our youngest girl is full of energy and mock attacks her old roomie every day.... several times and she mock attacks me several times a day too... but it's just mock combat and all of her bites are mock bites and it's actually funny to watch her clutching onto my arm or leg and mock chomping on me to show dominance. Half of the time I pick up Cloud she's all wet from Misty mock biting her all over... Cloud's an old girl with lots of patience, she's big and could defend herself if she wanted to... I suppose I could discourage her assertive behavior too, but Misty's having fun and there's no harm done so for now we put up with her craziness.

If it starts to get out of hand just shout "Rats, stop fighting!' That usually works for me.
 

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I have a similar problem if not the same problem with my girls. I bought them from a large pet store chain as well and have had them together their whole life. They had spats for awhile in the beginning and it sort of stopped later. Now that they are older I've noticed them doing it once again. I'll hear a squeak here and there and my boyfriend gets up every time and breaks it up, cause he's worried that they are hurting each other. I'm not so sure they are though. We believe it's Cassis instigating the fights, because when we check on them, Hope is the one who has the reddish coloration on her fur. But now I'm starting to think it's just play fighting or just rat play, cause I can't find any marks, scratches, or scabs anywhere!

I've also heard that maybe it's because they are fighting for space? I'm guessing because mine currently don't have a huge cage, but it's big enough for two rats. I'm working on getting them a larger cage though.

I wish I could answer some of your questions, but I'm unsure myself. I'd really like to get an answer about this too.
 
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