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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Earlier today I got two new rats to keep Luna company since her sister died. They're all females and are roughly around the same ages. I'm curious as to if there are any obvious signs that Luna is upset with having new roomates.

My boyfriend said she seems sad and angry (though he doesn't really know anything about rats anyway) because I got her friends. She was fine being alone, but she still seemed lonely when I wasn't playing with her so I thought some friends would make her happy.

Also, what is normal behavior in general for new female rats meeting, and what are bad signs/dangerous behavior?

I don't know if I just made a mistake getting these new rats or if they'll warm up to each other and love each other. Any help would be much appreciated! Thank you and have a great day/night!
 

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Upset, stressed or unhappy rats tend to show a variety of symptoms and can be hard to pin down unless you really know the rat and how its normal is. For me i tend to look for a rat who looks and feels physically tense, they may brux of boggle more than normal, sit hunched up in corners, be off there food or be snappier with others. To be honest though this kind of behaviour could just as much be caused by grief at loosing a cage mate, stress at introductions or getting a bit fed up of the babies bouncing on them, so its something you have to monitor over time a fair bit.

Full introductions take time too, its more than just getting the rats living without incedent in a cage, theres a lot of settling down to do in terms of sorting out how the group is going to function going forward, establishing rules and the like. The link here http://www.isamurats.co.uk/introducing-rats.html talks through some of the stages intros go through as well as the kind of behaviours you would expect to see in them.

There's also more info on interpriting behaviour http://www.isamurats.co.uk/individual-rat-behaviours.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Okay, thank you so much for your help! I'm going to read through those links and see if I can get a better understanding of their behavior.

They seem to be doing alright I suppose. The two new girls have been huddled up together in the bottom corner of the cage basically since I put them all in there yesterday. They had only met each other once before for about an hour before I had adopted them yesterday (not counting the 1-2 hours of introduction time in the bathtub that I did with them), so technically they knew each other, but not well and apparently one of them would attack the other (however, not drawing blood or anything like that). Though they will move around down there a bit and explore. One of them enjoys climbing the bars and goes on the shelves sometimes, but the other has only done this a few times and would prefer to stay on the bottom of the cage, hidden. I think she's afraid of me at the moment.

My girl Luna will sometimes go up to them and hump them (that's what it looks like at least). Or ride them like a horse. In turn the new girls who are a few months older than her will usually throw her down and just hold her down for a little bit or power groom her. They all seem to groom each other from time to time though. This morning I woke up and all three of them were in the corner of the bottom of the cage sleeping together. None of them fought when I fed them this morning to, so I think these are good signs. (By the way, they all have normal appetites and are eating just fine, along with drinking water.)

However occasionally they'll hold my Luna down (and bite her maybe, I can't tell) as they power groom her, Luna squeaks but she doesn't scream bloody murder or squeel like she's in pain. I've checked them all multiple times for broken limbs or signs of barbering but they all seem to look fine.

Anyway, I'm super worried I made a mistake getting these two new girls.. Maybe Luna really was doing just fine on her own and me thinking getting her friends would help her really wasn't a good idea.. :(
 

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Wish I could give you some kind of comfort in hopes things work out . I too thought the same < I had gotten a lone girl because that's all they had . We were bounding & she would takes treats , chase a ball with me in her cage . Didn't want her to be lonely - sleeping or doing rattie things . After I got her a room mate , she acted almost scared of me after . Makes me kind of sad , took her awhile to warm up to her new cage mate too . Just hard to know what is the best . Finally after 3 weeks , they play more together & sleep together .Still Not as out going as she once was towards me :(
Wanted to let you know how your feeling , but we can't be with them 24-7 . In the end they really need there own kind to do rattie things :)
 

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It sounds like they are getting acquainted. As long as no blood is drawn, things are going ok. They just have to work out the new pecking order. As long as they are willing to sleep together, that is a promising sign.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm sorry Rattie2Love, that's really unfortunate! :( Introducing rats really is a stressful process, especially for them, but for us as well. I hope she starts coming around again though! Let me know if she does, that will definitely be good news. :)

I'm glad you think they'll be alright together, raindear. After a day to observe them and think about it I've come to the conclusion that in the end I think they'll be fine living together (I sure hope so anyway!) I appreciate your feedback and assuring me though, it's always helpful to get opinions and thoughts from others :)

Thank you both of you, I appreciate your responses! :)
 

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Honestly I think your issue is that these girls are all a bit overawed and the big cage isn't helping. If you can I would move them into a smaller cage together, or failing that block off part of your big cage. You want to aim for something where they can move around, get to water (put in 2 water bottles) and food (scatter it around the floor) but not where they can avoid each other or sleep far apart.

It seems harsh but they are kind of stuck in limbo at the moment, and will all be unhappy because they feel unsafe and insecure. Bonding them faster is actually the kindest thing to do, and if this means your Luna may well do a bit more humping (its a dominance thing) and probably make them squeak and force groom them a few times but then they should have things sorted out a lot easier. The larger the space the more work it is for Luna to establish herself as boss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Do you think that would help? I was going to bring them out for free range time today (it's not huge, but as reference probably 3-4 people could sit inside it, so would that be too big as well)?

They've been interacting more since I last posted on here. They have even been sleeping together, all three of them in the new hammock I bought for them and occasionally on the ground. I've also noticed they've been sharing water really well (at the moment I only have one water bottle), but if one is drinking, the other will stand next to her patiently until she's done and then she'll drink (so on and so forth).

They've been running around a lot together to (and standing next to each other, of course) which seems to be a big improvement! I still here little squeaks here and there (especially at night when. I'm trying to sleep, and it freaks me out) lol. I always call their names and they usually stop right away (not sure if I should continue that or just let them figure it out), but there's still no squeeling or bloody murder screams. Still no blood thankfully! No broken limbs!

I did however check them for barbering again (Luna runs right up to me excited every time, but the other girls have to get to know me and are kind of scared of people) so I just inspected them from the cage (and they seemed fine), but when I picked Luna up and was cuddling with her, I saw what might be a VERY small sign of barbering.
Honestly I'm going to have to find images of barbering online because I'm not sure if it was just where her hair was coming out from the angle I was looking or not (I've never seen barbering before, in fact I had never heard of it until somewhat recently). Other than that possibility though, things seem to be going fine now.

Does this all seem like fine and normal behavior? I think it's all good signs, but not positive..
 

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If they are settling down it may not be needed, but you can always do a kind of interim thing and take them out for a walk or to somewhere unfamiliar together in your carrier, or just give them bonding time in it for a few hours if they are avoiding each other much.

Little squeaks are very much part and parcel of being babies, and probably them pinging on to each other and causing baby fights. I would ignore it unless it gets screamy or lots of banging. You are unlikely to catch them at it though, whenever I hear a proper fight by the time im looking at them they are at opposite ends of the cage acting innocent.

In terms of barbering the best way to describe it is a buzz cut, so the fur is chopped short in places, sometimes so short its virtually down to the skin. The location is important as it tells you whose doing it. So the arms are the most common for self barbering, the head, neck or shoulders for being barbered. It looks and feels quite different from fur being pulled out, or balding due to an age or health reason. It doesn't tend to show up well in photos though.
 
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