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Pet Rats/taking a biting rat to the vet


QUESTION: I have a very sweet ratty who I love although we sometimes refer to her as 'evil' because she has never let anyone pick her up without biting (hard) and drawing blood. Even if you try to stoke her she gets all jumpy and tries to bite. She is somehow friendly though and I let her run around and she always comes to see me but you just can't touch her. Now I have a massive problem in that she has a massive lump on her face which I suspect is a tumour. It looks very similar to a tumour a previous rat had (which the vet at the time said was a papilloma - we had to have him put to sleep in the end). She is not suffering for the moment and is eating and running around fine but it is getting bigger and has grown in the space of about 1 week. I am so worried about taking her to the vet. I'm fairly certain she will try and bite her and I'm not even sure how the hell I will get her in the box. Even with leather gloves on she is so fast and jumps through my hands when I try and pick her up and now she is suspicious of the gloves. Are vets ok dealing with such animals? Help I am desperate for advice!

ANSWER: Hi Maria,
If it is a tumor, a vet couldn't do anything for it anyway. Do you want to send me a picture of it so I can maybe tell what it might be?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Deb, here is a picture of her. It looks so horrible although she has been running around this morning and grabbing chocolate out of my hand. Let me know what you think. Thanks!

I'm pretty sure it is cancer. I suspect that it won't be too long before she starts feeling bad and you'll need to euthanize her. See the article about euthanasia on my website at on the Rat Info page for a method of euthanizing rats at home.

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Debbie Ducommun


I can answer any questions about pet rats, but you will probably be able find answers to simple questions more quickly on my website at If you have a life-threatening emergency you can try calling me at 530-899-0605. I am not usually on the computer on the weekend.


I have been "The Rat Lady" since 1985 and am recognized as one of the world's experts on pet rats. I have 3 published books and already answer lots of questions about rats daily.

President of Rat Assistance & Teaching Society

I am a monthly columnist for Pet Business magazine, and my writing has appeared in other magazines. I have 3 published books.

BA in Animal Behavior

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