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I've posted a thread before about the signs of aggression my latest rats are showing. I'm finding it very difficult to cope with them at the moment due to my health but I'm determined to not let it bother me and to get it sorted asap.

Every time my older rats go near one of the youngest newest ones, the new one squeaks at him until he goes away. If he doesn't go away, the squeaking gets worse and a fight potentially breaks out. It's making my adult male go all fluffed up and poofy, and his back arched. The same way my cat does when he sees another cat in our garden.

These two new rats I rescued are causing me more problems than I thought they would. Introductions went fine and my older rats never show signs of aggression, unless prompted. Even when I got a 3rd rat they were fine with him and he was fine with them. The squeaking is keeping me up at night, and I'm a pretty deep sleeper. I have no where else to put the cage apart from my room so moving it isn't an option.

I just really need some advice on how to deal with it and ways to make it better. None of the rats show any signs of being unwell. The only thing I've noticed is that the newest two just poo in the sputnik at the top where they hide and they end up standing and sitting in it, which turns it into this awful sludge and it stinks so bad. They don't seem to care for hygiene like the others. I've just had to give them a quick bath to wash down their fur and tails, as it was pretty grim. I have noticed there was the odd scab on one of the new one's fur, and a few on their tail as well.

I love them all to bits but I'm finding it hard trying to cope with their antics and my life at the moment. I keep trying to get a video of the squabbles but by the time I get my phone out they've stopped. Also just to add, they're not aggressive with me at all, just my older two rats, specifically the alpha of the pack.

Any advice is grately appreciated. I just need to know what to do next as me or my rats can carry on like this. It's starting to stress out my other rats too, who keep out of the way of all the action.

Thanks in advance!
 

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I don't know enough at this point about the group dynamics in your cage to be too much help, but I'd suggest getting everyone out for more playtime every evening... give everyone some space to burn off some excess energy and play together with you. I suppose you might think of it as a group bonding activity. In general a little room helps everyone get closer and your supervision and guidance in fostering the interactions might help the rats to work out their issues faster.

There's always my favorite... I just shout "rats stop fighting" and mine do.

Other than that, earplugs work a treat when you are sleeping in a noisy environment. -32dB and you can sleep peacefully through a nuclear blast, unfortunately you can also sleep through most alarm clocks.

Best luck.
 

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I still find it concerning that he is vocalizing so much. It's unfortunate you can't get a video...

Scabs are a red flag to me, they could have mites. Mites cause rats to act unusually sometimes and can cause aggression. Can you get a tube of Kitten Revolution to treat them with?

Besides more out-time, perhaps also try adding more "things to do" in the cage? The behavior could be related to boredom.
 

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I've noticed Harry in particular has yellow patchy skin as well as a few scabs. Is that all I need to treat mites?

I have their cage littered with things to do, toys and hammocks and stuff like that. Anything you recommend that I could add?
 

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The yellow is probably just buck grease. Scabs are very indicative of mites though.
Yup, for mites, the simplest and safest treatment is Revolution (selamectin). You just get the puppy/kitten formula and put 1-2 drops on their backs, between the shoulder blades. Try and part the fur a bit, so the drop gets on the skin. Distract them for a minute so it dries and they don't groom it off. And that's it. It's good to protect against and kill buggies for 30 days, unlike Ivermectin which is riskier and takes 3 treatments.

What kind of toys?
I'll just throw as many ideas out there as I can...
Plenty of chew things help, I find the Snak Shak Log to be very distracting and time consuming for mine.
Nesting materials like toilet paper (hang a roll in the cage or tear off strips and stuff them through the bars for the rats to drag in), paper towels, tissue paper, fleece scraps, old clothing pieces... Chuck an old shirt in there for them to futz with.
I know some people like to use dig boxes, you can fill them with clothing scraps, papers, mixed small toys (I like the assorted packs they make for cats, just check they are all safe and stay away from small hard plastic ones) and some treats thrown in.
Stuffed or foam toys made for dogs or cats that they can rip up.
They make dog toys from rubber that have small holes to shove treats in, they'll spend some time trying to dig out a Cheerio or whatnot. They also make similar ones for birds, "foraging toys" or you can make your own with toilet paper rolls or small cardboard boxes and paper strips.
Lava ledges / shelves / ropes / ladders arranged in interesting ways to climb around on. Bird toys and baby toys that dangle and can be beat up are entertaining too.
I'm big on as many places to hide and decorate as possible too... Plenty of little houses for everyone.
http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/15/01/23/50f8e6e7102f1be3b8f777c9a617ff3d.jpg
I find the more I put in, the happier they are. My male is kind of a "bully" (despite his being neutered) so I need ways to keep him distracted. In the picture, the two blue balls are the dog toys I mentioned, I put dry noodles, cereals, etc in them.
 
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