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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all.
My current pair of rats, Corvo and Silvua, are about seven months old and are littermates. Silvua seems to be the dominant rat in their relationship, and the last few weeks he's been growing more forceful in his behavior towards Corvo.
Corvo is a very laid-back rat; the definition of a male rat. He likes to eat, sleep, and turn into a pancake. Because of this, he puts up with a lot from Silvua without retaliating at all.
Silvua, unlike Corvo, acts more like a female rat. He's bouncy, pouncey and likes to urinate on EVERYTHING. Including Corvo.
Lately, Silvua's general playful behavior has been growing more aggressive. He's randomly charging around, bashing into Corvo, then flipping out and nipping at Corvo's face, haunches, flanks, even his tail. Corvo usually responds by flipping onto his back as quickly as possible, but that doesn't stop Silvua from continuing. He'll pin Corvo down and begin roughly grooming him. Corvo will start flinching, squeaking loudly and trying to push Silvua away, but he won't fight back at all.
When I'm there, I will break it up, as obviously this is affecting Corvo.
Corvo doesn't like me to touch him at all, even on his face, which used to be his favorite place to be rubbed and pet. When I try to pick him up, he'll try to squirm away and squeak at me if I do get my hands around him. The only way I can pick him up now is to scoop him up bridal style, and slide him feet-first onto my shoulder immediately after he's out of the cage.
Silvua, on the other hand, will climb right out onto my palms even if I'm not actually trying to let them out.
I've tried working on Silvua's issues with one-on-one immersion, but it doesn't seem to be helping. I'm afraid that Corvo is going to become even more withdrawn as he seems to be losing his trust in me.
When they are out together, Corvo will very quickly leap back into the cage, a feat Silvua is, oddly, too lazy to perform most of the time. When he is alone in the cage, Corvo is more responsive and will let me pet him, sweet-talk him, and feed him little snacks.
Silvua is not at all aggressive toward me, as even when we play he only licks my fingers and will pounce on my hand and sniff at it, but never uses his teeth at all. He will try to 'groom' my ears and mouth, however, and then he does use his teeth in a nibbling fashion similar to a nursing infant at it's mother's nipples. He's made my ears and lip bleed on a few occasions, and never seems to understand that he's being too rough.

Is there any sort of training that I can try to give Silvua or Corvo that might help resolve this situation? I'm quite attached to both of them, and when Silvua isn't being incredibly energetic the two of them get along quite well, with Silvua even letting Corvo sleep on top of him and groom him. I'd hate to have to split them up.
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