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Normal or over the top dominance behaviour?

Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:15 pm
by mainey
I am looking after two female rats, trying to 'tame' them. They are doing much better. They don't like being picked up but they will climb onto me to play and one who was bitey has stopped biting for the most part. However, as they've grown more confident with me, I've noticed there seems to be some quite intense dominance behaviour. The black one seems to be in heat every day or every other day and is always chasing the grey one around, trying to climb on her back and pinning her. The grey one squeeks when she grooms to hard and tries to run, tries to kick her away, stands up in the 'boxing' style, bit the black rat is amazingly peristant. I've heard of the no blood no foul rule but it's like the grey one gets no peace and I'm worried it's stressing her. She's much more placid, doesn't seem to play as much as the black rat. Grey just sits around and grooms most of the time (when not being bothered) while black explores and jumps about. Grey seems much slimmer too and gets much more excited about treats. I have seen Black guarding the bowl of fresh food, Grey not being about to get any.

Long story short, I'm wondering if Black has hormonal issues, she was very bitey and defensive to start and is now pestering Grey relentlessly. She seems to be in heat more often than not. Has anyone had this in girls before and were you able to calm the behaviour down?

ETA should I interfere in any way if the behaviour seems to be getting a bit over the top while they're out?

Re: Normal or over the top dominance behaviour?

Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:39 pm
by mainey
Just a little more info, they must be around six or seven months old now.

Re: Normal or over the top dominance behaviour?

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:55 am
by cyber ratty
Usually, when a doe is in heat, it's the rest of the cage which mounts her... but this definitely sounds like a problem.

I would get her spayed - it can't be nice to be in heat nearly all the time, but I would also add extra rats to the group, pairs can rub each other up the wrong way, while a trio or more will offer some relief. These two don't seem to have a lot in common from what you've said.

I'd also stop using a bowl - spread the food around the cage so it isn't a focus point for conflict.

Re: Normal or over the top dominance behaviour?

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:18 am
by mainey
Hi Cyber Ratty,

Thank you for your comments! I have passed them all on to my brother, who has now taken the ratties home (my room is so empty without them :( ). He is going to look into getting Black Rat spayed. I did scatter feed the dry food, it was just the wet food in a bowl. I can suggest splitting it into two at least, though Grey Rat seems to have become a little more assertive and nudges Black Rat out of the way to get what she wants! From your comment on my other post about taming them, I got them some rat rations and dailyRat3 which they seem to be enjoying. Though they really do not like flaked peas, despite absolutely loving fresh ones.

Thank you once again for your comments!