RSCPA Rescue + Intro's

Discuss rat companionship, introductions and behavioural problems such as biting or shyness or tell us about your rat's unusual habits.
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jennifer-rat
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RSCPA Rescue + Intro's

Post by jennifer-rat » Sun Nov 08, 2009 5:03 pm

Well here goes, get comfortable because it's going to be a long post :lol:
Ok, so a few of you may remember a few weeks ago when I was struggling to decide whether to take on a young, lone rat from Pets At Home. I decided against it, as finances were tight and life was hectic. Recently, I've gained more hours at work so have more money, my driving lessons have become less frequent due to my teachers other comittments and life is generally less stressful. I check the Derby RSPCA website every month, and this month found that a lovely lad called Capricorn was still there, as he had been for the last 5 months.
So me and my boyfriend went to view him yesterday (got completely lost on the way and ended up getting a taxi :lol:). He was on his own in a large cage (some version of the Freddy I think), but with no toys or stimulation - just sawdust, a suspended hamster ball which he was asleep in, a very chewed plastic tube and a cardboard box. The lady in the small animal room let us stroke him, but she forewarned us that he panics when hands are put into his cage and that they didn't have the time to have him out everyday. He let me stroke him, even rubbed his head on my hand, the poor little guy. We decided then and there to take him home, gave our donation, signed some papers, showed the staff some pictures of our Explorer and that was that. Into the carrier he went with some cucumber, and he didn't seem the least bit fazed at all, which is a huge acheivement considering the journey home included a taxi ride, 25 mins on a busy bus (I can't drive yet) and a visit to the pet shop to get him a water bottle, food bowl and some new toys.

We got home and let him roam about on the bed, he was very confident, clambering over us both, sniffing, and generally enjoying the space and freedom. We disinfected the Explorer, set up the bottom for him and in he went, with my 4 lads in the top. He settled down in his new cage for a few hours, and came out on the sofa with us to watch X-Factor. After an uneventful night, some more handling this morning before I went to work, I decided to to slowly introduce him to my quietest boy, Carrot. I thought Carrot would be the least likely to establish dominance and he's close to Stuart's (Capricorn's new name) age. Stuart came out first onto the bed, and I let him explore for a while before getting Carrot out. Sat down on the bed, and within seconds of them noticing each other, Carrot flew at Stuart and they started fighting. I, not wanting either of them to get hurt, stuck my hand into the fray and Carrot latched onto my hand and wouldn't let go, I had to prise his jaw open. Both boys were put back into their cages while I tended to the bite (it's very deep - is there anything I need to do with it? I've cleaned it up, put antiseptic on and a large plaster).

I now have no idea what to do next, as far as introductions go. Should I leave them for a few days to cool off before trying again, bearing in mind Stuart hasn't been with other rats for at least 5 months, although I was given the impression by the RSPCA staff that he had been brought in alone. Should I try him with a different rat? Thanks in advance for any advice :)
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Remembered forever: Norman, Nesbitt, Scamp, Stuart, Jasper and Carrot.

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Re: RSCPA Rescue + Intro's

Post by fuschia » Sun Nov 08, 2009 5:20 pm

Ouch! That must've HURT :(
You could try intro's in the bath tub or in a carrier :luck: If he's been on his own for so long he may take awhile to remember normal ratty social skills though.
He's very lucky to have a good new home at last :D
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Re: RSCPA Rescue + Intro's

Post by jennifer-rat » Sun Nov 08, 2009 5:24 pm

It definately did hurt, my hands still numb, his teeth went in about 2 cm apart and he bit down so hard they connected under my skin :o
I think I'll try again in the bath - I thought the bed might have been better as it was somewhere Stuart was familiar with and it was newly changed so no-one's 'territory'. Norman might be my next 'victim' in turns of intro's, he's an old guy, spends his time plodding around and eating, I don't think he's got it into him to start a fight like Carrot did (but then again I didn't think Carrot would start a fight in a million years! :lol:).
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Remembered forever: Norman, Nesbitt, Scamp, Stuart, Jasper and Carrot.

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Re: RSCPA Rescue + Intro's

Post by Blossomgirl » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:47 am

I don't have any advice about intros, but a bite that severe should perhaps be looked at by a doctor. You may need a course of ABs to prevent infection. Maybe worth visiting your GP?

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Re: RSCPA Rescue + Intro's

Post by yoshimi » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:16 am

Having just done an intro with a lone rat to a group, there was one thing I realised 5 minutes in that only seemed logical after I realised.

as sweet as the lone rat is, they are just as likely if not more so to be agressive, due to having been on their own so long and not necessarily speaking rat very well. Even though Carrot was the one to start the fight the problem may well have been that stuart didn't react the right way. This means that putting them somewhere stuart is familiar with will only exacerbate the problems,a s he is then even less likely to back down.

Try introducing them somewhere completely neutral to both. I also found that my lone girl really stressed my other rats out in seconds, whereas when I put two of them with her at once, they both stayed calmer as they could each walk away, and try and let the other deal with it.

Finally, apart from your injury (hope it's feeling better) were ether of the rats hurt? as this will make a difference to wat steps you take next.
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Re: RSCPA Rescue + Intro's

Post by maddy » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:46 pm

sorry you were bitten
:(
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Re: RSCPA Rescue + Intro's

Post by jennifer-rat » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:28 pm

Will try again in the bath tomorrow I think - in terms of trying 2 of them with Stuart, I'll try that with my 2 older rats, the alpha Scamp and his brother Norman.
My bite's been cleaned and dressed, but it's swollen, the area is red and hot, and my arm is achey so I'll be off to the doctor tomorrow. Having some trouble with mobility in 2 of my fingers too, not sure if that's just the swelling or something worse. I'm a little bit worried :-?
Neither of them were hurt, I stuck my hand in way too fast for that, as soon as Carrot was preoccupied with my hand, Stuart backed off. I had them both out after my hand had stopped spurting blood :sickrat: and gave them a full check over, neither was hurt, Carrot was still huffing but nope, no injuries.
Fingers crossed tomorrow goes better - I've invested in some very, very thick gardening gloves! :lol:
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Remembered forever: Norman, Nesbitt, Scamp, Stuart, Jasper and Carrot.

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Re: RSCPA Rescue + Intro's

Post by yoshimi » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:12 pm

It's worth baring in mind that some fighting is inevitable, and to some extent you are just going to have to let them get on with it. Realistically you shouldn't intervene unless someone gets hurt. It's really hard to see I know, but it is the only way they're going to sort out the hrirarchy.
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Re: RSCPA Rescue + Intro's

Post by jennifer-rat » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:19 pm

Definately, I know when I introduced my 2 rescue babies to the 2 older lads there was a fair amount of scuffling, so I know it's to be expected - it's just this time it seemed so vicious and with Stuart not being with me for very long and never being with other rats, I was naturally protective - looking back I might have been a bit hasty with introductions and should have let them get used to the smell of each other first but hindsights a gift as they say :lol:
Don't suppose anyone has any experience of severe rat bites? This one's worrying me a bit!
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:dumbo: Puck, Pitri and Diesel
Remembered forever: Norman, Nesbitt, Scamp, Stuart, Jasper and Carrot.

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Re: RSCPA Rescue + Intro's

Post by Bizzie_Ladie » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:40 pm

jennifer-rat wrote: Don't suppose anyone has any experience of severe rat bites? This one's worrying me a bit!
Unfortunately yes I have :cry: They hurt like bo-diggery don't they :lol: If you think it's really bad you might be best to get it checked over by your gp or nip down to a&e to get it checked over (or if you've a walk-in centre near you they're usually better), even if it's just to put your mind at rest that no permanant damage has been done. And you might want to check your tetanus is up-to-date too :D Otherwise just keep it as clean as you can and take some pain-killers if you need them. Apparantly they hurt so much because the rat's teeth are so darn sharp so you get a 'good' slice effect when you're bitten (bit like a paper cut really but on a grander scale). I've found that the wound does heal quicker if you leave it open to the fresh air as much as possible rather than keep it bandaged up. Yes hun, they do swell up so don't worry too much about that, took a couple of days for the swelling to go down on mine and I couldn't bend it during that time either. Hope you feel better soon xxx

Here's a pic of the bite I got:

Image

It took about a week before I could bend the finger again, and I've still got little feeling in the side of my finger months later, just tingling when you touch it :roll: Like your's the rat's teeth met under the skin, on the side of the finger (you can just see it if you look closely), the cut across the top is because I pulled my hand back (stoopidly!) with the rat still attached and the top teeth slid across my finger.

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Re: RSCPA Rescue + Intro's

Post by jennifer-rat » Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:57 pm

Oooft that looks, and sounds, awful! Glad it healed so well!
I'm keeping mine clean, so far no weeping and the swelling and redness has gone down overnight, althought my arm is aching quite a bit and mobility in my hand is still minimal. I have to keep it bandaged up quite a bit just to avoid getting it mucky, what with cleaning out the hen coop, looking after small children and working in a cattery, :lol: but I am trying to give it a few hours breathing time every day.
Stuart has spent most of the morning in my pyjama top, enjoying his 'forced handling', but it's not really forced anymore - he climbs into my pocket of his own accord. He's still very very funny about being removed from his cage, he panics a lot, although fine being held out of the cage. I've taken to letting him climb into his Sputnik and lift him out this way, as it doesn't stress him out. He's paddling about on my laptop keyboard trying to chew my fingers now :lol:
I've also noticed he's an absolute clean freak, he spends most of his time grooming himself or rearranging his nest. His poo's are very hard currently :sickrat: but I'm guessing that's just lack of veg? He's also a little bit skinny, so is getting lots of extra's lately.

Here he is:
Image
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:dumbo: Puck, Pitri and Diesel
Remembered forever: Norman, Nesbitt, Scamp, Stuart, Jasper and Carrot.

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Re: RSCPA Rescue + Intro's

Post by papermoon » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:46 pm

My son got bit on his lip once when he tried to kiss the ratty. We took him to doctors but they didn't give any medications. Try leather gloves next time and grab the rat which is less angry ( the victim one ). I've rescued two girls few days ago and I'm really worried about inros as I never did that before. My boy was very friendly with them in the rescue place, but now I think he changed his mind and they are in separate cages staring at each other with their backs arched :-| I'm going to give them few more days and then will get their cages swaped. It is hard to understand why the boy doesn't want to accept girls...he only got neutered few weeks ago :roll:
Far from perfect...Slowly working on it

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Re: RSCPA Rescue + Intro's

Post by jennifer-rat » Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:21 pm

Introductions with my 2 older lads, Scamp and Norman, have gone absolutely brilliantly tonight! I'm beaming, so so happy. I put Stuart in the bath first, and had Norm and Scamp in a carrier on the toilet, popped Scamp in the bath first and he set off pootling round the edge of the bath, with Stuart in tow, nose firmly stuck to his bits! :lol: Then I put Norm in, who didn't bat an eyelid at Stu, started grooming himself and was promptly unended as Stuart stuck his nose under Norm's back end, bless him. After a few minutes they were all grooming each other without a squeak, Norm and Scamp were sat side by side and Stuart walked round the back and squashed himself in between the two of them, he looked like he was thoughroughly enjoying himself. They all had a trundle around the bathroom after, not a problem at all, although the two oldies did look slightly put out at Stuart's close inspection of their bits :lol:
I put them away after 45 mins as Stuart was beginning to get a little boisterous and Norm and Scamp were looking a little irritated, but no scuffles, squeaking or huffing, so I'm happy as pie!
All of them are back in their cages now, Jasper and Carrot gave Norm and Scamp a good sniff when they went back in the cage, and Stuart immediately ran up to the mesh grate (the gap where I've turned my explorer tray around to block off the ladder hole) where Scamp was waiting for him and they were pawing each other through the wire, definately love at first sight for those two!
They're all eating Applaws now to say thankyou from me for such a peaceful evening.
On the downside, my bite is definately infected, caught it earlier and out squidged a load of gross-ness :sickrat:, doctor's tomorrow, for sure!
Jen, plus:
:dumbo: Puck, Pitri and Diesel
Remembered forever: Norman, Nesbitt, Scamp, Stuart, Jasper and Carrot.

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Re: RSCPA Rescue + Intro's

Post by fuschia » Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:21 pm

:D Yeah, great news!
:( But boo hiss about the puss filled finger!
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Re: RSCPA Rescue + Intro's

Post by jennifer-rat » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:09 pm

Ok...intro's seem to have hit another wall tonight.
Had Stuart out in the bath with Norman and Scamp for another half an hour, again no huffing, squeaking or anything remotely hostile, just lots of grooming and bruxing. So I decided to see if Stuart would accept Jasper, brought Jasper in and popped him in the bath, cue Stuart huffing up, then Jasper, and Stuart launching himself at Jasper. I removed Jasper quickly and then Stuart went for whoever was closest - unfortunately Norman, who sustained a small bite on his back. I let Stuart calm down for a few minutes whilst I held Jasper, then put Jasper back in the bath at the opposite end - he plodded down to Stuart's end, Stuart fluffed up again and began shoving Jasper with his back end before launching at him again, I split them up quickly before either was injured, as Stuart's clearly out for blood - he isn't just squeaking or flipping, he's going a bit mad, as he just attacks whoevers nearest once Jasper's removed :-?
Any ideas? Do I just keep having him out with Scamp and Norman till he's 100% with them before trying Jasper again?
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:dumbo: Puck, Pitri and Diesel
Remembered forever: Norman, Nesbitt, Scamp, Stuart, Jasper and Carrot.

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