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My little best friend Oxnard's cagemate/brother that I had since babies passed away 2 weeks ago. I got 3 new males immediately and they've been living in their cage right by his ever since. They're all intact, and I haven't introduced them face to face yet, kind of scared to. :( I don't want to rush it. The new male in question is definitely the most jumpy out of the 3, and he also shows aggression towards Oxnard through the bars of his cage whenever Oxnard gets close to sniff through the bars. When I did the cage swap, he almost got into a fight with his brother in Oxnard's cage because he was so on edge.

Anyway. This behaviour has happened twice... I will get done petting and scritching Oxnard, getting his scent on my hands, then put my hands palm-up at the door of the 3 boys' cage. The boy in question (Lugo) comes up, sniffs my hands, and then gets super comfortable with me out of nowhere; he'll walk all over my hands and even let me pet him. Otherwise he is not so comfortable with me. The strange part about it is though, while he walks on my hands he pees ALL over them.

is he marking my hands? trying to cover up Oxnard's smell? Is this normal or is he being really territorial or something?

Any advice will help, or any videos/threads you can link me to with helping introducing all males.
 

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Yes he's scent marking you. It's normal and rats do it for a variety of reasons. Outdoors Amelia scent marked us and every spot we put her down simply so she wouldn't get lost. Fuzzy Rat immediately marked me the minute I got out of the shower, so much for ever smelling clean. Some rats mark their friends some mark their territory.

I'd recommend getting intros out of the way as soon as you can after quarantine... the longer your rats are apart the worse intros can get. In my experience the longer rats face each other through bars the more agitated they tend to get. Everyone has different intro practices, I've had some great intros and I've had some go sideways, the longer I waited to do intros the worse they tended to go... but with female rats I have to wait until our new pups are old enough to introduce and I like adopting pups. With adult rats, it's same day in same day intros... and those tend to go better for me... I know I should quarantine, but I usually get healthy rats from reliable sources.

Honestly, I wouldn't worry too much about diagnosing your current problems unless you intend to keep your rats apart, as you are most likely to do intros soon, things are going to change dramatically and that will create a whole new scenario to deal with. Once you have everyone in the same cage helping your rats work out their social issues will be of greater concern. For now all you really need to do is get your new rats bonded to you as best as possible, so it's easier to transition them into your family without getting bitten.

Best luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes he's scent marking you. It's normal and rats do it for a variety of reasons. Outdoors Amelia scent marked us and every spot we put her down simply so she wouldn't get lost. Fuzzy Rat immediately marked me the minute I got out of the shower, so much for ever smelling clean. Some rats mark their friends some mark their territory.

I'd recommend getting intros out of the way as soon as you can after quarantine... the longer your rats are apart the worse intros can get. In my experience the longer rats face each other through bars the more agitated they tend to get. Everyone has different intro practices, I've had some great intros and I've had some go sideways, the longer I waited to do intros the worse they tended to go... but with female rats I have to wait until our new pups are old enough to introduce and I like adopting pups. With adult rats, it's same day in same day intros... and those tend to go better for me... I know I should quarantine, but I usually get healthy rats from reliable sources.

Honestly, I wouldn't worry too much about diagnosing your current problems unless you intend to keep your rats apart, as you are most likely to do intros soon, things are going to change dramatically and that will create a whole new scenario to deal with. Once you have everyone in the same cage helping your rats work out their social issues will be of greater concern. For now all you really need to do is get your new rats bonded to you as best as possible, so it's easier to transition them into your family without getting bitten.

Best luck.
Thanks for your reply, I'm always learning new things from you guys. :)

Could you share some things that you've done with introducing rats that helped you so I can try them? I plan on introducing them in a new pen I'm going to make out of cardboard on the floor in my bedroom. Usually Oxnard plays on my bed so it'll be a new place for him too. I'm going to sit in the pen with them as they all meet Oxnard one at a time. Also going to put vanilla extract on them.
 

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I'm not big on the tricky stuff, rats sniff each other's butts to tell who is who and in the end they have to get to know who their new roommate is.... If you parents put your old clothes and scent on a stranger and introduced them to you as your brother or sister at breakfast, one that you just never noticed around the house all of your life, would it really fool you?

I like the hands on approach, but wear thick gloves or oven mitts just in case. Oddly I've been bitten by the new rat I was defending rather than the old rat that was attacking the new one... I really didn't expect that I'd find blood squirting out of the wrong side of my hand... bring a towel along too. Many intros go pretty well, but it pays to be prepared, one nasty and infected rat bite can screw up your whole day.

Best luck
 
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