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Just because they are brothers does not mean they have to be friends.

Here is the story of George and George, our first two hooded Agouti rats. As children they played, what we thought, was a bit rough. We also read about male domination rituals and how they can inflate themselves in such a way that they look like hedgehogs, how they may flap their tails, and how they may try to push against walls and dig against carpet. We didn't believe it. After all, Rattus Rattus and LJB got along just fine (see "Rats often develop symbiotic relationships.")! So George and George play a little hard, they'll grow out of it!

Wrong. Now George and George, they played hard, and sometimes you'd hear a squeak here and there, but you'd check and no damage was caused. We'd read that some rats are just more verbal than other rats. Besides they were both really nice to us. We just chalked it up to "verbal" and "a bit rough." They even got quiet for awhile. They also both inflated over night! Boy were these guys huge! Well one morning at around 4:00 a.m. they got into a huge fight. We heard "SCREEEEECH" then an earth-shattering KABOOM! It looked like George body slammed George onto the floor. We made up a fresh cage in the kitchen and put the dizzy George in a cage in there. George Muscleman Savage was still puffed up.

I don't know if we were simply unconscious or what, but the next morning we noticed a lot of blood in George's (in the kitchen) cage. Whatever it was though stopped bleeding and even after a very thorough body search, we could not figure out what exactly caused that much blood. We shrugged it off to human-insanity and imagination and continued to give him extra-special treatment, feeding him cereals, bananas, and of course, lab blocks. After a couple of days he lost a lot of weight and we couldn't understand why. After cleaning his cage, we found out.

He was eating the bananas but all of the food chunks and cereal were buried. We checked his teeth. One was missing. We bought a lot of baby food. Unfortunately I don't think he was getting all of the nutrition he needed though and he was getting worse. We tried feeding him soggy lab blocks but he wouldn't eat them. It never occurred to us that he was not sharpening his teeth anymore and that eating was becoming more and more uncomfortable to him. We later learned, after his demise, that such things as tooth trimmers exist. It scared the heck out of me when I saw this lady snip off a bit of a rat's tooth by the way, but for George, I would have done it. That is, I would have done it had I known.

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Disclaimer: There are many non-sarcastic accounts and tips on the web regarding rat care. This is not one of them. These are merely accounts of our experiences with rats, our perceptions of these experiences, where we've failed and where we've succeeded. These accounts are here for two purposes:

    1) To entertain.
    2) To help avoid repetition of mistakes

  Remember! Your rat is not a science project, he is your friend!

All content contained herein © 1996-2007 by Andrew Waltz, Nathalie Baldwin, & the rats of RatRaisins, Inc.  
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