People often ask about introducing Roof Rats that don’t know each other into the same cage. You can, but some combinations will be harder than others.
In order of easy to hard:
- Baby rats (until maybe 7-8 weeks.) No problem. Just pop them in and all will be well.
- Baby rats with adult males males (>8 weeks.) You should observe the introductions, but this will usually be fine. There may be a little bit of drama, mostly the babies running around nervous and hiding. But eventually they will be friends (in about a day.) Obviously, if you put female rats in a cage with a adult male, she will eventually get pregnant, and probably younger than you’d want.
- Adult Females with Adult Males. Of course, this usually works: otherwise, there’d be no more rats! But be prepared for some drama, and it could be days before they settle down and be friends. Whether a male will be able to mate with a female is usually decided in their first few minutes together: the female attacks and, either the male stands up to her, they “box” and he subdues her…or he runs in terror!
- Adult Females with babies. This can go either way. If the female is accepting of the new cage mate, all will be well. If not, she could injure or even kill the baby faster than you could react to separate them. I usually wait until the baby is big enough to somewhat defend itself (>6 weeks), and do the introductions in a place with hiding places for the baby just in case. There are some females that I know are gentle and friendly and it will work, but otherwise I mostly avoid doing this.
- Adult Females with Adult Females. If I know both females are friendly and gentle, and never fought with Males when I bred them, then I am mostly confident that they will be friends (or at least not fight) when I them in the same cage. Maybe about half of my adult females are like this. Otherwise, it can be messy and I avoid it.
- Adult Males with Adult Males. Don’t bother: it almost never ends well! I sometimes have males that will accept strange males in their cage. These are also the males which are useless at getting females pregnant. But they make wonderful pets. I’m sure there is a correlation. If you want a really great pet rat, let me know you want one (or two) of these males. But they are greatly in demand so be prepared to wait!
This video is an example of a successful introduction. I put those 3 male babies in the cage with the adult male the previous day. After a little bit of drama, they were soon all friends! I just love it when things work out well.
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