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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Loki and the Girls

With Pirate having passed, I can't help but wonder how Loki would do if introduced to the girls. It is a scary thought for me, because even if we were able to introduce them, could I trust Loki not to go psycho with no warning and suddenly start attacking them - they way he did with Pirate? If things don't go well, will he start biting people again? The girls are so sweet and gentle and would never think to bite - I don't want Loki to do anything to change that and I don't want them to get hurt or to be afraid.

Our Rat-Safe Play Area (with Pirate when he was still with us)
I have brought Loki over to the girls' cage in a transport cage and he does not get all hunched and defensive like he would do with Pirate. So I started giving him play time in the girl's play pen area - a corner of our basement closed off with plywood and a large sofa. I wanted to see if the smell of the girls would trigger his bad behavior. But he was fine and seemed more interested and active then when he comes out to play in his own play area - probably because of the girls' scents.

The girls also like to come out into the play pen after Loki has been there - they clearly smell his presence and investigate everything looking for the source.

I have gone as far as putting the girls in the Martin's playpen inside the larger play area while Loki was sitting with me on the sofa. Everyone is fascinated with each other, but if Loki gets too close, Ruby and Bela squeak and run away. Jo is the problem child, though. She was the more aggressive one with Pirate - more likely to stand up to him, and it looks like she wants to take the same tact with Loki, which just won't end well. When Jo and Loki are allowed too close, they try to attack each other and that makes me afraid Loki would bite again if they were actually in close enough quarters. Then Loki starts acting all jumpy and frantic, which puts me on edge.

So I think we are going to take this process extremely slowly. The girls are fine as just a trio and Loki does fine by himself - he has seemed to prefer it, so there is no need to rush anything. I will go back to letting them get used to each other's scents in the play area, and won't try putting their cages next to each other for a while yet. It is nice, though, that at least they can share the same play area and the same toys - when Pirate was alive, Loki could not be in contact with any surface he had touched. He seems to handle the girls' scents much better than he handled Pirate's.

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