This. Is. Horrible. Simply horrible. In all my years of rodent keeping, I have never seen an attack as vicious as this.
A while ago, Alarum’s cagemate, Nimhe, had to be put down because of a severe respiratory disease that left her on her last legs. Nimhe and Alarum were pretty much best friends, so Alarum became very lonely and despondent at the loss of her roommate.
In order to make her feel more at home, I purchased a pair of juvenile rats from the local pet shop to keep her company. The girls were named Turnwise and Widdershins because they were twins. They were a little bit skittish, but nothing I haven’t handled before. Alarum took to them very well and started treating them as if they were her own babies, cleaning them and even sitting on them to keep them warm. They tamed down quite a bit as well, eating from my hand and cuddling my tummy when handled.
Until yesterday, that is.
Last night, I was sitting quietly in my house when I suddenly heard an awful screech from the cage. When I got over to the cage, Alarum was bleeding all over the place and the two little ungrateful brats were tearing at her head. I managed to get them off, but they’ve ripped a good hole in the back of Alarum’s neck. I pulled her out immediately and put her in a recovery cage while I checked the two.
From the evidence, it looks like Turnwise decided that she wanted to be the dominant one in the cage. Since she didn’t have a hope of winning a dominance fight against Alarum, she decided she’d wait until Alarum was asleep before ripping her a new one.
Alarum is doing fine now, by the way. I disinfected the wounds and gave them a good wash. The wound seems scabbed over and I think she’ll heal from it. She’s eating a whole bunch more than usual and sleeping a whole bunch more than usual, but I think she’ll recover.
As for the little monsters, I’ve returned them to the pet shop. Normally, I’d advocate putting down unruly and vicious rats, but Turnwise and Widdershins are still young and they have shown no signs of aggression towards humans, which means they’re still keepable.