Welcome to the newsgroup. Sorry this reply is a week late but I have been
away on holiday. By now you have probably got a new companion for Abe and
they are probably living happily together!! But if not, I hope this helps:
Although I have never introduced a new rat to an older rat, I understand
from previous posts in here that people have had success in introducing
younger rats to older rats. An older male will perhaps take to a male
kitten more readily, providing that the introduction takes place gradually.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to put your new rat in your old aquarium to
start with and leave it next to Abe's cage for a couple of days so that they
can see each other. Don't allow the new rat to run over the top of Abe's
cage because Abe may be inclined to bite his feet! After a couple of days,
allow them to meet each other on neutral territory for some supervised
playtime. It may well be advisable to be prepared to separate them if they
don't hit it off straight away (some people have advised wearing gardening
gloves to separate fighting rats), but that is only in the worst case
scenario - I have heard some very good reports of older males taking to
young males straight away.
Next, allow each rat to inspect the other's cage so that they get used to
each other's scent. Eventually, after a thorough cleaning of Abe's cage
(there must be no trace of either rat's scent so that it is totally neutral
territory - some people put vanilla essence or perfume on their rats to
obliterate their scent) put your new rat in with Abe and watch carefully for
the first few hours.
There will be a definite "pecking order". I would imagine that Abe would
demonstrate that he is boss. He would do this by turning the new rat over
on his back and grooming his tummy. Our two girls do that to each other all
the time - it is difficult to work out which one is the Alpha rat, they seem
to take it in turns!! LOL
Good luck and please let us know how you get on.
>I'm new here to this newsgroup...I'm looking for a little advice.
>I've had my rat, Abe, for about a year now. I've handled him as much as
>possible, but despite all my efforts he's still quite timid. He's calm
>around me and enjoys a cuddle but gets extremely nervous around other
>people, and tends to panic. I realise that he's not young anymore...but is
>there anything I can do to cheer him up? He's very unlike the usual profile
>of the charismatic and outgoing rat that I keep reading about...but I adore
>I just purchased a huge new home [a purpose built rat cage] for him [his
>previous home was a medium sized aquarium] and kitted it out with shelves
>and tunnels and hidey-holes. He's suitably impressed. I was wondering if it
>would be possible to introduce another rat into his environment? I feel
>incredibly guilty that I didnt buy a pair in the first place and can't help
>thinking that I've deprived my baby of vital companionship and stimulation.
>[ Yep, I unfortunately did my research via the book "Rats" by Susan
>Fox...now being used as bedding!!]
>Would he accept another rat at this stage of his life [he's an un-neutered
>male]? If so, what age should I be thinking about? None of the books I've
>read comment at all on introducing companions to older rats. He's very
>unaggressive towards humans, although I'm not sure how he'd react to
>of his species. I'm scared that horrible fighting will ensue.
>I'd really appreciate any input you could give me! I look forward to
>in the discussions...
>~Kali [remove the cabbages to reply by mail!]