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 Post subject: new baby rats, one very dominant
 Post Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:38 pm
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Hi, I am new in the rat world and have my two baby males for 3 days now. They are 7 week old brothers but very different in size. When I first met them they were 4 weeks old and the same size, when I came to pick them up one (Peanut) is almost double the size of the other (Whisky). Paradoxically it's the small one who seems to be quite dominant. He's also much braver and social than his brother. I am just not sure if it is normal for baby rats to display such dominance. Whisky is attacking Peanut a lot, play fight him, pushes him off the way and steals his food. He will literally snatch bits of food off his hands and run off. He will physically push him away when I give them treats and won't let him have a go. Is that normal rat behaviour and nothing to worry about?


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 Post subject: Re: new baby rats, one very dominant
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:07 pm 
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Fancy Rats Team
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:47 am
Posts: 5731
Location: South Cambridgeshire
It would be unusual for brothers to be such different sizes at this age - are you absolutely sure both are male? (There are reference pictures here.)

If they are, then there may be problems ahead due to them being unevenly matched, not just in size, but in nature. It's one of many reasons why it's best to have a group of three rather than just a pair. Is it still possible for you to a third brother?

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Mary x

Zephyr Rat Stud


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 Post subject: Re: new baby rats, one very dominant
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:38 pm
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They both have quite a big pair of testicles so I'm rather sure :D

I think they get along fine most of the time, cuddle and groom each other and I've noticed Peanut starts initiating some fights as well, but he's usually the one pinned to the floor in the end. I was convinced that a pair of brothers would be a good match. We were not planning on getting 3 rats but will think about it if things don't improve. Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: new baby rats, one very dominant
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:51 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:31 am
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It sounds like their doing fine to me. With my last pair of girls, one (Berry) was MUCH smaller than her sister (Latte) when I got them at 3 months of age. Latte was about 2 times bigger than Berry, yet from day one, Berry relentlessly dominated her. When I introduced Berry and Latte to my Larger female (whose size was around 3 Berry's put together at the time :P), Berry tried to dominate her. Shadow wasn't having it, so Berry and her shared a comfortable and mutual relationship. Latte, on the other hand, has continued to be about 50% bigger than Berry, and now, almost a year and a half later, Berry still dominates her. Now that I've added 2 new rats to their group, Berry dominates the whole group! She's just a crazy little thing, and she wants the others to respect her rules. She's never hurt anyone, even if she is sometimes a little harsh. So as long as your boy isn't hurting the other rat, I wouldn't worry. In some cases like mine, you just get a dominant little rattie, and no matter how many rats you add, it doesn't change.

As for the food stealing and pushing, all but one of my girls has done that to their cagemates. Rats are just super food motivated, and sharing is not really in their nature :P


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 Post subject: Re: new baby rats, one very dominant
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:36 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:47 am
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Location: South Cambridgeshire
Ratties4Shadow wrote:
In some cases like mine, you just get a dominant little rattie, and no matter how many rats you add, it doesn't change.

Thing is, if there are only a pair of rats, it's always the same rat at the receiving end of the dominance behaviour which can be a bit wearing for them, with a group of 3 or 4 then everyone will get some respite. ;)

I agree though that at this stage, most of it is probably just playful.

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Mary x

Zephyr Rat Stud


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