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Discussion Starter #1
Tonight I went to grab the laundry out of the dryer and when I get back, there is a flurry of rat chasing rat going on in the boys cage. We break it up and Vincent's nose has a huge cut on it, and Templeton is to blame. So now he's in the hospital cage in time out.

What's hard is that he's the sweetest rat to me or my boyfriend, he's shy and never bites or does anything bad, but when he's with the boys he's always chasing someone, and frequently it ends in blood. I just don't know what to do. I've read through the immersion thread and know what to do with a rat that's aggressive towards me, but none of my rats bite and none are aggressive to humans. It's just Templeton who wants to beat up his brother and sometimes Remy.

I don't know if separating them for a night is going to do anything, I don't know if it's safe to put him back in if he's going to continue to hurt his cagemates, and I don't want him to have to live alone. I'm just feeling really stuck right now, and any advice would be appreciated.
 

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I'm fuzzy on the details, but at 1am I woke up cause my boyfriend was yelling that Templeton had bit him really bad. I guess he had heard a fight and gone to break it up. :(
 

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The only bad rat bite I ever got was from grabbing an angry rat in that type situation. Neutering isn't the only answer. There is also Rat Daddy's thread on extreme immersion, in which you confirm your position as alpha rat which may calm things down. You may want to read that thread and then decide.
 

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I've read enough on here to know not to get my hand into a rat fight. This is relevant to me because my wife and I are seriously considering adopting a rescue rat. She is not aggressive. She has shown genuine curiosity at hands placed near her, but she has also made it clear that she doesn't like being touched. If she doesn't bolt, she nips. I can tell that immersion is going to be an adventure with her.

But then I worry about how she'll interact with my rats. I'd have to keep her in a separate cage when I'm not around, but I have to prepare for the fact that there may be fighting. My three rats are accustomed to running the place, and I'm not sure how this broken rat is used to doing things. She's had a partner, but she's solo right now. This new dynamic may freak her out.

In the meantime, I'll just keep reading about bitey rats and learn as much as I can from you guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Dave made me reach in and pull Templeton out. I do think that the only reason he got bit is that he stuck his hand in the middle of a battle. Right now Templeton is still in time out. I'm not sure if we are going to neuter him or what. It's all very frustrating
 

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During the first year of my rat adventure, I had 3 male brothers that I fostered in the hope that they would find other homes. At about the time they were reaching 6 months old, I took them to Orange County, California for a rat adoption event. At that time, one of the brothers suddenly went hormonal and started attacking his brothers pretty much nonstop. We separated the boys, but in exchanging one tired boy for another for the meet and greet part of the event, I accidentally put one of his brothers in the cage he was in and grabbed him to meet people. He bit me and at that point it was decided that those three boys were unadoptable at that time, so I took them home and got all three neutered to add to my mixed (all neutered/spayed) mischief. The final step on my journey to 13 rats. I'm planning on getting the two boys I have now neutered cause it has come to my attention that it can lengthen their lives by a few months and the cost here is not prohibitive. All you can do is assess all your options and choose the one that is best for all the humans and rats involved. Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Templeton has an appointment with the vet on Wednesday. They need to see him before giving a quote on how much the neuter will cost. Maybe they can give some advice on whether a neuter is the way to go or if there is an alternative.
 

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You have time to look at Rat Daddy's extreme immersion and see if you think it would work for you and Templeton. Good luck to all of you.
 

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It sounds like Templeton is bonded to you, so immersion might not be the answer.

If you do neuter, ask the vet not to use surgical glue, as it is apparently ratty salad dressing, and encourages chewing. I found this out the hard way. :p My vet had to do like three patch ups. (She didn't charge me cause she's awesome.)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yeah, I'm the one that Templeton runs to when he's scared. I can also always reach in and grab him without being bit. He ran under the couch today during play time, and I was able to get him out no problem. I've been handling him since he was 5 weeks old, same with the other boys. He really doesn't have any human problems, he's just rat aggressive. I read the immersion thread months ago, and it really helped with Gadget's biting problem, but I don't think it applies here.

I'll make sure to ask about the glue. When they removed Gadget's eye, I'm pretty sure they had two layers of stitches, and no glue. I love this vet, they were amazing with Gadget and all of the follow up appointments that she needed, so I know that they will take good care of Templeton. But surgery should make everyone just a bit nervous because you are putting a tiny animal under anesthesia, and with that comes risk. At this point, I want what is best for him, and I know he can't just live alone. Even these few days of isolation have been hard on him, but I can't have him drawing blood on Vincent anymore either. We need a permanent solution, and a neuter might be the way to go. I guess I'll find out on Wednesday.
 

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Rat on rat aggression can be managed hands on... Basically you bring everyone around you and you "manage" or "oversee" the play sessions. You don't do this in a cage and heavy gloves are a good idea... As soon as one rat gets out of hand you cut in and fall on the culprit like a brick house... or whatever the more reasonable and appropriate version of a brick house looks like when dealing with small animals.... you really don't want to hurt anyone, but a certain measure of shock and awe helps make the point that you are in charge and you don't permit fighting among your kids...

You are going to have to repeat this several times until Templeton gets the message. So stay close and be ready to move fast and don't get yourself bitten in the process.

Once a rat realizes that he isn't the alpha usually his hormones will decrease and his offensive behavior will decrease. Once you have peaceful managed play time you can hopefully put your rats back together under supervision and if that goes well you can eventually have harmony in your household again.

Keep in mind, that at least in the beginning, you are the peacekeeper and peace will rely on you being there... this process requires that you invest a substantial amount of time at least at first. One of the most common reasons a rat gets alpha confusion is that their human has a change in schedule and one rat takes it upon himself to take charge. So I might be talking about time you might not have to invest right now.

Neutering sometimes helps, but I've also seen another rat step up after the first one gets shot down so now you have a second problem rat and then possibly a third until everyone is neutered... and sometimes I've even seen where that doesn't solve the fighting issues.

Rats are social animals... they understand order and status, if you are the only parent or alpha and you are there and hands on, for the most part they will fall into formation. Think about high school. Some teachers were respected and their classes were conducted in an orderly fashion while at least one teacher spent more time shouting and herding students than actually teaching anything. Once the teacher lost control, you could bet some kid would step up and lead the chaos. Same with rats. Templeton is taking charge and he'll eventually start pushing his humans around too if you let him. So far he still respects you, so you should still be able to turn this around, but time is working against you, so start the group play sessions as soon as possible and stay right on top of him... He'll get the message, rats may be stubborn but they are also smart and they don't keep doing what doesn't work or worse yet gets them an adverse reaction from their leader.

Best luck.
 
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