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  1. #1
    Grabbin life by the Balls Snow Balls's Avatar
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    Cannibalism in rats?

    So on Sunday morning I made my regular rounds to the reptile shop and got myself 6 live feeders for my picky eaters who refuse FT. 3 small rats and 3 weaned rats. I normally go before I leave for work so the rats normally stay together for somewhere between 8-10 hours. I’ve never had a problem until this past Sunday. I opened the box that the 6 rats were in and I found that 2 of the weaned rats died and one of them was half eaten. Any ideas what happened? Bad feeders and they past away in the box? Trampled by the bigger smalls? Why was one half eaten and the other untouched? If anyone has experienced this and has any answers I’d appreciate it


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  2. #2
    Registered User DatBoiAJ_'s Avatar
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    well i breed mice and the only cannabalism is sometimes the momes with their babies...but idk about your situation..pretty wierd. I did find that when i was buying live rats that they would be agitated when i had them in a box-and only a short period of time but then again it was just a small box for the time. I dont know about your situation but maybe the box size has something to do with it

  3. #3
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Rats have a very high rate of metabolism- they need food AND water at all times. Were they crowded in the box- maybe overheated too? Can't tell you why only one was eaten- but from now on, try to be more prepared when holding them for so long. Young rats are like teenage humans- hungry all the time. They were probably not immediate family to each other, so they may have been squabbling some too. Rats are normally quite social & not inclined to eat each other- that's a desperation move though- that was WAY too long without food (& water?).
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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  5. #4
    Grabbin life by the Balls Snow Balls's Avatar
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    Re: Cannibalism in rats?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Rats have a very high rate of metabolism- they need food AND water at all times. Were they crowded in the box- maybe overheated too? Can't tell you why only one was eaten- but from now on, try to be more prepared when holding them for so long. Young rats are like teenage humans- hungry all the time. They were probably not immediate family to each other, so they may have been squabbling some too. Rats are normally quite social & not inclined to eat each other- that's a desperation move though- that was WAY too long without food (& water?).
    The box was probably 8x8x8 plenty of room for them to move and not be crowded. Definitely not over heated. Like I said I’ve never had this happen to me and they’ve been kept the same each time


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  6. #5
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Maybe you've been lucky, or maybe this time the rats were under-fed to start with- the business you bought from "trying to save money"? Or in otherwise poor condition?
    Did they at least have water to drink in that box? A box that size will build up a LOT of body heat from the rats- which increases thirst. Next time put some moist food in there- 8-10 hours is a LONG time in that box. Rats eat ALL the time, & drink often.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 01-05-2022 at 01:35 AM.
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  8. #6
    Grabbin life by the Balls Snow Balls's Avatar
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    Re: Cannibalism in rats?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Maybe you've been lucky, or maybe this time the rats were under-fed to start with- the business you bought from "trying to save money"? Or in otherwise poor condition?
    Did they at least have water to drink in that box? A box that size will build up a LOT of body heat from the rats- which increases thirst. Next time put some moist food in there- 8-10 hours is a LONG time in that box. Rats eat ALL the time, & drink often.
    I wouldn’t say this happening 1/100 of other times I’ve done this would be getting lucky literally every week. I wouldn’t count out the fact that the business could’ve been saving money and they were underfed too begin with. I also no longer put water in with them, they knock it over every time and I come home with a mess to clean up after all the water (and rat waste) has soaked through the box


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  9. #7
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Cannibalism in rats?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snow Balls View Post
    I wouldn’t say this happening 1/100 of other times I’ve done this would be getting lucky literally every week. I wouldn’t count out the fact that the business could’ve been saving money and they were underfed too begin with. I also no longer put water in with them, they knock it over every time and I come home with a mess to clean up after all the water (and rat waste) has soaked through the box


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    They need a water bottle, the kind designed for rodents w/ ball bearings in the sipping tube- not a bowl, as you've found out. Or at the very least, some romaine lettuce & moist bread, something like that. It's cruel to leave them so long without food & water, even if "they're only feeders".
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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  11. #8
    Grabbin life by the Balls Snow Balls's Avatar
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    Re: Cannibalism in rats?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    They need a water bottle, the kind designed for rodents w/ ball bearings in the sipping tube- not a bowl, as you've found out. Or at the very least, some romaine lettuce & moist bread, something like that. It's cruel to leave them so long without food & water, even if "they're only feeders".
    How would you attach a rodent bottle to a cardboard box?


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    Re: Cannibalism in rats?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snow Balls View Post
    How would you attach a rodent bottle to a cardboard box?


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    Tape it sideways on the top, or vertically on the side of the box, with the tube poking thru a hole in the box. You're lucky the rats were still in a cardboard box at all, they can chew right thru it- at least the small ones can. They might also eat some of the cardboard, which will end up inside the snake you feed. You really ought to spring for a plastic animal carrier with the ventilated top & handle to carry it with.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  14. #10
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    8x8x8 is not large enough for 6 rats with no food or water. If this is a regular thing that you do, you are extremely lucky that the rats haven't cannibalized or escaped before. A cardboard box is not something to keep rats in for more than a quick trip.

    Rats will cannibalize for food and water. In the case of feeders that have been kept overcrowded and without enough food or water stress will increase the chances of cannibalism.

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