ratty-sarah said: You got another rat? That’s brilliant! I’m so glad you did. Watching rats interact with each other is a big part of the fun :)
Yup! It was super spontaneous, cause we went out to buy a wedding gift and got home with a rat. xD
Unfortunately, when we got home we noticed a…
Don’t worry, that’s not blood, it’s porphryn (snot/mucus basically!). It appears either when a rat has a respiratory infection, which is very common and is usually easily treated (I use an antibiotic called Baytril), or it could be a sign of stress.
As for introductions - neutral territory is the key. I do my introductions outside the cage, somewhere I can keep a close eye on things and remove a rat quickly if I need to. Googling will give you loads of suggestions about how to do this, but I’d recommend the ‘little but often’ approach - my first introductions are usually brief, about five minutes, to judge their reactions and prevent anyone getting stressed (including myself - rats can sense if you’re stressed, which will stress them out too). I’ll introduce them every day for longer and longer sessions, until I’m happy they get on, which for me takes at least a week. Different people have different methods though, and some rats get on straight away, while others are enemies from day one! Again, Googling will help you learn ratty body language, so you know the signs to look out for. Expect squabbling; rats will wrestle each other for dominancy, but it doesn’t usually get too violent.
When the time comes to house them together, I always clean the cage from top to bottom to remove all scents - again, neutral territory is what you need here.
Most introductions I’ve done have been fine. Rats are sociable animals, so although they need to have a hierarchy (hence the fighting), they generally get on in the end. The one time I had problems, I shoved them all in the bath together with a small amount of water, then put them in the cage - they were so busy grooming themselves, then grooming each other, they forgot to fight! It can be cruel (none of my rats have ever liked water), but it works as a last resort.