We’ve done it – the Explorer has been opened up to make one big cage, and all the younger girls are cohabiting more or less happily. I’m hoping that Sam and Susan will have a good influence on the babies, but we’ll see. We discovered that the babies have chewed some rather large holes in the corners of the cage tray – to the extent that we have had to order some galvanised steel replacements. These aren’t cheap, but as we got the cage for free I don’t begrudge spending money on it.
So the girls are in one group but there’s still a fair bit of separatism, though of course it’s been less than 24 hours so it’s early days. Ragweed pursues Susan around the cage a great deal, but I’ve only seen one proper squabble, and that was Susan vs Boots. Yes, Boots – the smallest of the babies, even smaller than Scarecrow and Ragweed who are a month younger than her. We have suspected for a while that she was actually dominant in the group of babies, though Ragweed also wants to boss the others around. Ultimately it depends how bothered Sam and Susan are about being in charge.
To begin with, we haven’t given them any “closed” furniture – no igloos, no tubes, only open flat hammocks – so no-one can hide or get cornered. Just a precaution, really, but there’s no sense in taking risks. So this morning I discovered that the babies had managed to get underneath the towel covering one of the half-shelves, and were all curled up under it. Sam and Susan were pottering around as per usual, though once I opened the cage and the babies started emerging to see what was going on, Sam went and had a nose around under the towel to see what they where doing.
I’ve got a couple of days off, spending today with a friend but have no plans for tomorrow so will no doubt be doing lots of rat-related stuff like mending hammocks. I’m also going to try and sew corners into some of the towels we use for the shelves, to try and discourage them from pulling up the edges.
On the whole, though, I’m pleased with how well they are behaving. Let’s hope it continues!