In my experience, whether they get along can be hit and miss. I would definitely make sure you're in touch with a vet who is experienced in neutering males just in case you end up with an aggressive boy. I had to have my Cato neutered, he was making Milosh bleed and wouldn't let him eat. He would literally move all of the food into a huge pile and lay on top of it while eating. If Milosh went near it, he got attacked.
I actually never had a female until the last couple of weeks and the personality differences are astounding.
My boys have always been pretty slow, lazy and laid back (except Cato, he's a speed demon and can't stop moving... maybe because of the neuter?? Not sure!) My boys have all had quite the nesting instinct. I've heard not all males nest, but they have always built huge, elaborate nests if given the material to do so. They do a lot of sleeping and cuddling. When I take them out, they typically want to be with me for the first 10 minutes, then they want to explore every inch of the apartment.
My intact boys have always dribbled little bits of pee everywhere they go. Milosh peed all over their shelves, dribbled on the carpet, my arm, boyfriend, shoes... it's marking behavior, not a full bladder emptying but it's still pretty gross!
Neutered Cato pretty much litter trained himself and not once did he let a drop loose outside of the cage.
My boys have always been cuddly, licky, mama's boys. When they get startled, they run to me and hide in my clothes.
Myra, my new lady, is SO much different. She likes a bit of cuddles here and there, but she's way to active to sit still at all. When she get startled, she freezes... then goes to investigate whatever scared her instead of running to me.. unless she sees our vet... then I'm suddenly okay to run to. She's hardly ever sleeping by comparison to the boys and goes much more out of her way to nest. I watched her within 24 hour after being spayed --medical emergency -- carry a piece of cardboard bigger than her from the bottom of the cage to nearly the top. She's insanely fearless and active.
There are definite differences in the genders. I'm glad you're getting the opportunity to experience both! Good luck!
For my first set of boys I had lazy Loki who was pretty much a mush but liked to nest and build things. He explored his environment but was definitely more nervous of new things and places. He wasn't very cuddly for a year, but liked quick bursts of attention. He pretty much liked lazying around, his free range time was spending time in the rat forts (card board boxes which a very useful to keep them form marking EVERYWERE, just give them club houses with some litter in it.) Nimbus was more like a female from what I've read on here. He was full of energy, curious about everything, loved going new places, meeting new people...and other animals. Destructive when bored though also very cuddly. Only illness slowed him down in the end. They had some aggression issues a month after they came home, Nimbus was smaller but was dominance humping Loki, who after a while had enough and bit Nimbus in the bits. I didn't opt for a neuter but read up on immersion training in the rat behavior stickies and it sorted itself out... in my case. They didn't know how to play with me though. I could interact with them, help them out with nesting and training but they didn't wrestle my hands or play tug o war like my current babies. Also they were pretty well potty trained with little training.
My new baby boys, Mako and Noodle, are peeing everywhere except on me. They really like using their beds as toilets. I'm trying to train them to not do that. They made more messes this month then Nimbus and Loki did in their life time. I'm not sure if its a baby thing, Nimbus and Loki were already over three months when I got them. They are just over 2 months and very very energetic and pretty affectionate and playful. They love chasing my hands. Currently very fearful outside of their cage. Sunday night was a big night, they worked up the courage to put their little paws of the floor which they treated like lava till now. Its made immersion training and anything else kind of hard though they did like to hop onto my lap and play in my hoodie if I left the cage door open and leave it like a bridge to me.
I never had a female rat, but a friend of mine has had two and said she never wanted to get any more because she was so heartbroken when they died of cancer. (I read that females are more prone to cancer, which is part of the reason I chose to get males instead.)
My males are both really sweet and cuddly, both with each other and with humans. Neither of them has ever bitten or attacked anyone, and they don't do their "business" outside of the cage very often. (If I take them out for long periods of time, I might find a wet spot or a pellet or two, but not in large amounts.) However, since these are the first rats I've ever had, I don't have much experience and therefore can't really be depended on for great advice.
My two boys don't seem super cuddly but I'm not sure because I've never owned any other rats. They don't seem to enjoy scritches that much like I've heard other rats do. When they're in their cage they just sleep or eat but once they come out they crawl on me and run around my room to explore. They are very stinky though and they have peed in my room which I think is pretty gross. Their cage gets stinky very fast too.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that mine don't smell bad at all. I'm not sure if it's because they are young and haven't developed all that hormone stuff yet or if some rats are just less smelly than others. *shrug*
Boys shouldn't smell, with or without rampant hormones. They kinda smell like Frito's a little. I've heard male mice stink but not rats. I bathed my first boys twice over two years and they never ever smelled. Older rats who have a hard time cleaning themselves might smell or really messy boys who use their beds as potties and stew in there over night but a quick wipe down with some unscented baby wipes should help.
I have three boys and two girls. Once they're past the hyper baby stage, I have found the boys to be slower-moving than the girls, and more likely to stay and rest on your shoulder. They seem to enjoy being petted a bit more than girls do, while girls don't want to hold still... they are still destructive to their toys though. Each rat still has its own personality though... one of my boys is laid-back and outgoing and cuddly, one of them will let you pet him and stay on your shoulder if he's in the right mood (especially if you play classical music)! but he'll also sometimes get nervous and squirm, and he was a very restless, squirmy, anxious baby. One of them has a lot of anxiety and tends to shy away from people. They also feel and smell and bit different. Their fur isn't as soft as the girls'. They are a bit smellier and they have a bit of a funky corn chip smell to them. Their cage stinks faster. None of them do scent marking on us. However, I think one of the girls does (or maybe it's because she's so excited and restless she can't hold it?)
Also, there's the issue of possible hormonal aggression or fighting. I've been kind of worried about this myself... I hear a lot of wrestling going on in my boys' cage and I sometimes worry about whether it might turn into too much, and it's hard for me to determine whether this is normal dominance struggling.
My boys are way more into cuddles than my girls. My girls are inquisitive and zoomy, running around like mad and exploring. The boys are inquisitive, but they like to be ON me all the time if they're out. They will explore a room, but I am definitely the most interesting thing in it. My girls love me too--but there are just so many things to CHEW ON!
Boys have coarser coats. I did have to do one neuter for hormonal aggression, and it worked nicely. The eunuch did get chubby fast, though that just makes him all the more snuggly. He likes to curl up in my arm and brux and lick me. The girls don't do that very often. They'll cuddle a bit when they wake up, and they're happy to groom me if I snuggle my hand into their sleepy space for skritches, but they seek me out for excitement and shoulder rides rather than for cuddles.
The boys smell a bit like nachos, and the girls like sweet corn tortillas. The boys stink up their cage WAY faster. I have to clean it twice as often.
And not just cause I have twice as many boys--even when there were just two and two, the boys won the stinky cage championships.
We have so many rat owners in my class this year that a student did a science fair project on how gender affects the nocturnal activity level of rats--and the females were WAY more active. (He used an infrared motion sensitive camera).
So if you have female wheel runners--make sure they're not in the bedroom, heh heh.