Owning rats, or as some say, being owned by rats, is a journey. For me it began with being intensely rat-phobic to where I am now, rat-obsessed (ok, i admit it).


Is it Better to Be Alone or to Have a Mean Little Friend?

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Well, I didn't write about it. I think I was hoping that if I didn't write it, it wouldn't really be real. For several days I have had 8 rats in 4 separate cages.

There were 3 days of blissful goodwill and friendship among the 3 girls after Bailey was taken out and then all hell broke loose. I don't know what provoked it, but Pickles gave Dinky a fairly serious bite to the neck, although I didn't realize it at the time (pic is of the bite after 3 days of healing).

I saw the ball of fur roll down the ramps. It looked just like those old-time cartoons where you see a ball of flailing arms and legs, exclamation marks and fur flying (and there was actual fur that flew!). I took Pickles out and put her in the travel cage for a time-out (recently vacated by the last inmate, Bailey, for her new custom-built "cage-for-one"). Dinky climbed into the hammock with Luna and it wasn't until the next morning that I saw the blood caked on her neck. That pretty much settled it that Pickles couldn't stay with the older girls. I don't want the last of their lives spent being stressed out.

So, we figured we'd put Pickles and Bailey together in the slightly bigger cage, give the two older girls the new smaller cage, since they're more sedentary, and put the boys in the big Martins.

Um... yeah... well, that was the plan, but it didn't go quite that smoothly. Pickles and Bailey first had to duke it out big time. We reintroduced them. Coated them both with vanilla. Bailey immediately pursued Pickles, mounting her and hunting her down. Her tail was swishing and she seemed excited by the chase. She has an obssessive nature that is difficult to understand.

Pickles didn't initiate the fights but she wasn't about to back down either. Although she is quite a bit smaller, she managed to raise herself up on her tiptoes to be taller than Bailey. She was able to hold the position longer and seemed to win the alpha role after about an hour of them boxing and fighting each other. Both of them pulled out handfuls of each other's hair but there was no bloodshed.

Only towards the end did Bailey start to seem slightly more submissive. They are now in the cage together and it has been quiet so far, but I'm sure it won't be the last of it.


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  • Portland, OR, United States
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