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).


The Prisoner

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Bailey "i'll- huff- and- i'll- puff" Brown is in prison tonight.

Bailey is one of my rescue rats. I call her my little ship rat and Pickles my little sewer rat cuz they are a bit rough around the edges and are always getting in fights. Bailey has always been on the aggro-side with her cagemates, but lately she is just out of control. She has attacked Dinky and Luna repeatedly until they are screaming. If you have never heard a rat scream, believe me, you do not want to. I am worried that they are going to be permanently traumatized from being hunted down and attacked by her.

One odd side note is Pickles' role in all this. She and Bailey formed a really strong bond when they first arrived and she is like Bailey's sidekick. If Bailey attacks someone, she will come running to join her and will start attacking the other rat with her (even though she usually gets along peacefully with the others). I've never seen that happen with my other rats. Sometimes one will opportunistically power-groom a rat that another rat is already power-grooming, but never have any of them doubled-up on someone during a serious fight.

Poor Luna came from a home with one elderly cagemate who passed away. They never even fought. I think she is about to have a nervous breakdown from all the tension.

And all Dinky wants in life is a cozy hammock, a snuggle buddy, a bowl of good food and out time with mom and dad. Her scared little face as she tried to run away from Bailey (managing to waddle VERY FAST) and into my shirt brought out all my protective instincts. I told John she was Piggy from "Lord of the Flies".

I have been doing small time-outs with Bailey in the travel cage, which have helped, but not solved the problem. Tonight was a bad one. So tonight, the little ship rat is spending the night alone in the travel cage. I feel sorry for her, but I don't know what else to do. It is unbelievable quiet in the girls' cage right now.

I read somewhere that agouti-based rats are more aggressive (found it). John insists that this is racist and dubious. However, out of all the rats we've had, the two who were the cage terrorists were both agouti (Bon, cinnamon agouti and Bailey). Coincidence? Maybe.


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  • Portland, OR, United States
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