I got a pair of male rats from a friend who couldn’t keep them anymore and everything went good for months. They were a sibling pair, named Frederick and Connor.

A couple of months ago, I found Connor dead and half eaten when I was going to bed. After a bit of panic and some research, I came to the conclusion that Connor had likely died of an undetected illness and Frederick eating him was normal, as that’s how they dispose of bodies.

I then got a new rat as a companion for Frederick so he wouldn’t be lonely. I introduced them properly and everything seemed to go well. They were really close and slept in their hammock together every night. However, this morning I woke up and checked on all of my rats, but found the new baby also dead and half eaten. Now I am hesitant to put another rat with Frederick as the new rat was still young and I don’t know how likely it is that he died from sickness.

Should I just keep Frederick alone since he’s going to be 2 in a few months anyways?

edit- I should add that I’ve never had any other problems with Frederick. He had never shown any signs of aggression to Connor or the baby rat.

1 Answer 1


Have you done the integration in the rules between your two rats. It's important to them when you introduce a new individual.

The cause of their death may be due to a fight to establish a hierarchy that went wrong. In rats, especially in males, there is a hormonal aggressiveness that can be hereditary. This causes the rat to be very aggressive because it causes too much testosterone. But to read you, everything was going well between your two rats.

Or as you said, it is also possible that your rats died suddenly (respiratory recurrence, stroke, choking, pneumonia, heart attack, toxic product in the air, ...) or a disease especially if the two dead rats came from the same pet Shop. As far as cannibalism is concerned, as you said a natural behavior in rats. It's a reflex of survival. Indeed, in nature when a rat of the pack dies it is important to get rid of the corpse to avoid attracting predators and to prevent the proliferation of bacteria.

I advise you to go see a veterinarian in case it should have been an illness. After your visit to the vet, and that the problem does not come from your rat and that it is not aggressive towards his congeners then I think that you can find him a new friend. I advise you breeders rather than pet stores.

If you find he's too old you can not buy him a new friend. But as you know, the rat prefers to live together.

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