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African Pouched RatKali aged 6 weeks
Kali's vital statistics
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Species: African Pouched Rat (Cricetomys gambianus)



30 September

Ambaa and Jaali have had a few introduction sessions so far. These take place in a large divided pen so they can see and smell each other but they can’t get at each other. This way there is no possibility of them fighting.

So far in the introductions neither rat has shown any signs of aggression. They haven’t actually shown much interest in each other at all! On the few occasions where they have sniffed each other through the dividing mesh Ambaa has has seemed disinterested and Jaali has run away to the opposite site of the pen. He seems to be quite scared of Ambaa even though he is now much bigger than she is. He squeaks loudly and tries to climb out of the pen and on to me.

Both Ambaa and Jaali seem much more interested in getting out of the pen than in anything else. Ambaa managed to escape and hid behind the bed for a couple of hours before I could get her out. Jaali also tries to escape and he climbs onto me and sits on my shoulder – safe in the knowledge that he won’t meet Ambaa up there.

Before the next introduction the pen needs a top to stop them climbing out.

22 September

Introducing the rats

Jaali is now five months old and he is old enough to be introduced to Ambaa so that they can live together in the same house.

They need to be introduced in a neutral space to avoid one rat feeling its territory is being invaded. Neither of the rats have been in our spare bedroom so this is where the introductions will take place.

The rats will be in a large pen divided into two areas. They will be able to smell and see each other and get close to each other without being in direct contact. This should prevent them fighting if they do not get on.

To start with there will be two dividing panels set a small distance apart to that there is no possibility that they can bite or scratch each other. If the initial introductions go well I will try again using just one dividing panel.

Jaali has been close to Ambaa’s house a few times already. They have ‘met’ a few times through the bars. Every time so far Jaali has squeaked loudly and run away. Ambaa’s reaction has been very calm – she just goes back to doing whatever it was she was doing before.

4 September

Thanks to everyone who has contacted me about the video of Jaali. I’m glad you all enjoyed watching it. I have shot some more video of him and also some of Ambaa. I will put these up in the album in a few weeks.

It is nearly time to start introducing Jaali and Ambaa so they can live together. Jaali will be five months old by October and fully mature. He will be old enough and he is certainly big enough to stand up for himself if Ambaa has a go at him. I need to build a divided pen so they can be next to each other but not be able to get at each other in case a fight breaks out.

I’m looking forward to them living together in the same cage. They will be able to play together and keep each other company. They will both be able to come out at the same time and I will only have one cage to clean out.

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