Should I get a third rat?

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Should I get a third rat?

Post by Clari99 » Tue Apr 07, 2020 10:11 pm

Hi there!
About a week ago I got my first precious baby’s whom I now love very much. I got 2 boys, one 8 weeks and one 12 weeks from my local pet shop (reputable and local breeder, trust this shop very much.)

Now they’ve settled in, they’ve begun to play fight and find out who’s the boss. This has led to many nights of me staying up worried because all I can hear is squeaks coming from the cage when the play gets too rough. I’ve also noticed the older, larger boy pinning the smaller, younger one down. I’ve also noticed the smaller one beginning to sleep outside of their house (before the play fighting they slept in there together) more often.

I, of course, did my research before I decided whether to get two or three and decided on two due to it being the easiest option as a first time rat owner. However now I’ve got them I’m reevaluating my decision.

Could I get some advice please? Should I get a third or leave it at two and hope things settle down?

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Re: Should I get a third rat?

Post by Feolthanos » Wed Apr 08, 2020 8:13 am

At this age it's completely natural for them to play fight a lot. My older boys did it when they were younger (now 6 months) and my 10 week old boys do it too (who are half brothers who have been together since they were 4 weeks old).

The older boys clearly had some figuring out on who was boss, but it's the younger boys who are completely mental and really look like they're ragging on each other, but it's all just play.

There's a great article out there that lists and explains different types of rat fight behaviour that I can't find at the moment, but make sure you read things like this as it'll put your mind at ease or at least let you know what your dealing with.

Also though, how long have the rats been together? I'm wondering how much of a bond they have and if the older boy has been on his own at all?

When you say squeaks too, is it short, letting the other rat they don't like it and then it stops, or is one bullying the other and keeping them pinned? Some rats are just a bit melodramatic with the squeaking.

I'd say wait and see for now, but do consider another pair in the future. A third rat isn't going to automatically fix any issues in your group, and if there is a problem, you're better off knowing exactly what that is. Do get a pair of same age rats too. No good breeder will give you just the one.

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Re: Should I get a third rat?

Post by cyber ratty » Wed Apr 08, 2020 8:26 am

Rats really do do best in groups of 3 or more, and if you were able to add another rat of the same age as the younger one, then at least he wouldn't always be on the receiving end.

However, we're in lockdown, and you shouldn't have been able to get rats a week ago, and still shouldn't be able to get another now. So you may just have to hope your pair copes okay until restrictions are lifted, and then add a couple of babies at that point.

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