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Question
Hi,

Hoping you could give me a little advice on my boys. I've got two 20 month old Males (intact) and normally they get on really well, but over the past few weeks one of my rats, Yuki, has been becoming a bit of a bully. They'll be completely fine then all of sudden Yuki will puff himself up, start huffing and go find his brother so he can beat him up a bit, there's a lot of squealing and it's happening every night and more often than not, only during the night.

Though it may just be their age and them being boys I'm a bit worried as in a weeks time I'm going away for 2 weeks and my nan is going to be looking after them. I'm really worried that without me breaking up the big fights, that Yuki could cause a bigger injury as Kobe already has a few small bite marks. My nan asked about seperating them for the two weeks, but then I'd worry about reuniting them, as I dont have the space for two cages permenantly and I'd also worry about them being lonely as they are always asleep together despite their occasional spats.

I did read that completely cleaning down the cage and rearranging the cage may distract them for a bit, would that work?

It's also been a while since I've had males, my first pair 8 years ago were male and I dont recall ever having issues with them fighting. All my pairs after them have been female, so I'm at a loss if this is all just normal behaviour?

Hope you may be able to offer a little advice, sorry this turned out really long.

Thank you.

Answer
Hi Charlotte,
Although this is later than usual, it sounds like a testosterone surge and the only real solution is to have Yuki neutered. When are you going away for the 2 weeks? Would there be time to do the neuter before you leave? Actually, it can take several weeks in some cases for the aggression to diminish. It would be best to separate them while your gone, if possible have them in cages right next to each other to maintain contact.
Deb

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Debbie Ducommun

Expertise

I can answer any questions about pet rats, but you will probably be able find answers to simple questions more quickly on my website at www.ratfanclub.org/helpfinfo.html. If you have a life-threatening emergency you can try calling me at 530-899-0605. I am not usually on the computer on the weekend.

Experience

I have been "The Rat Lady" since 1985 and am recognized as one of the world's experts on pet rats. I have 3 published books and already answer lots of questions about rats daily.

Organizations
President of Rat Assistance & Teaching Society

Publications
I am a monthly columnist for Pet Business magazine, and my writing has appeared in other magazines. I have 3 published books.

Education/Credentials
BA in Animal Behavior

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