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Pet Rats/Two questions about my rat


QUESTION: My rat, Peanut, has residue on her left eye. I have some pictures for examples. I am not sure if it is just brown residue or blood. She had her first vet checkup to see what it was, but the vet gave very little information that helped me. He said red blood cells die and have to leave the body, so they leave from her eyes and nose. I just do not understand why she would have so many red blood cells dying off in her body? My second question is, do rats get depressed if a cage mate passes away but they do not know? My rat Oreo died last Wednesday, and Peanut seems a little sad, but she is still moving and active. I do not think I will ever get rats again because it is too hard having one pass, but if Peanut really is depressed what do I do to help her? Thanks! :) This is her eye: C:\Users\angelina\Pictures\Peanut and Oreo memories\DSCN0224.JPG and this is some residue I wiped from around her face: C:\Users\angelina\Pictures\Peanut and Oreo memories\DSCN0243.JPG

ANSWER: I'm sorry for the delay in responding to you.  I'm so sorry for the your loss of your rat Oreo.  I can't view the photos...would you mind replying to this and posting them using the special link provided in the allexperts question page.

Rats respond differently to the passing of their lifelong companion, but lonliness and depression are very commmon.  I am certain that Peanut senses that something is wrong and she is probably starting to realize that she is alone.  Some rats go into a very deep depression which eventually leads to their death.  Other rats bounce back and adjust to their life alone.  

It sounds like your vet has no clue about the residue and is feeding you a bunch of crock.  If the discharge is reddish in color, it is porphyrin, which is a sign of stress and/or illness in a rat.  Did the discharge begin to show after Oreo died?  If so, that could be Peanut's sad reaction to the passing of her companion.

How old is Peanut?  If she is relatively young (under 18 months), then she may have many more months, perhaps even years, with you.  I feel it would be cruel to not get her a new companion to spend the rest of her life with.  Yes, it is terribly sad and crushing to watch one pass and deal with the lonliness of the other, but hasn't Oreo brought joy and enrichment to your life, and don't you have many wonderful memories of her?  I always think of the expression: "It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all".  

I'm going to provide you with several suggestions and you need to go with your gut and do what is best for you and Peanut.  If you decide to get a companion for Peanut, get 2, not 1.  The best way to keep rats is to always have 3 or more.  A death of one is always hard but the remeaining rats will still have each other.  At that point, you adopt a new one to add to the group, so you always have 3 (or more).  A second option is to try to re-home Peanut to a home that has other rats.  You can go through word of mouth, or contact local breeders or rescues to help you re-home.  The risk here is you will never know if she will be as well taken care of as you did.  Lastly, you can let Peanut live out the remainder of life alone.  You can give her more attention, but nothing could replace one of her own kind.  The risk however is that the stress of losing her sister could lead to depression, common in this situation in rats, which could lead to death thereafter.

Good luck to you and Peanut, and I would love to hear what you decide.

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

QUESTION: Sorry I did not reply sooner, but thank you for the answer! I am going to get Peanut two more companions. I will see if I can find that page to post the pictures of Peanut's eye. Peanut's residue has moved from coming out of her eye, to coming out of her nose. also, I have another quick question, if Peanut is 1 year old, could I get her a younger companion or would she attack it and kill it? Thank you

I am really happy to hear you decided to get Peanut 2 companions.  I think you will feel good about yourself for making this decision and it really is in Peanut's best interest.

To answer your question, it is somewhat easier to introduce young females to an older female but the babies should be at least 6 weeks old.  Females don't generally kill other rats...males tend to be more agressive.  But do expect some agression from Peanut and perhaps even the babies during introductions.

If you've never done rat introductions before, it can be tricky and must be done over time and with patience.  The technique I highly recommend is called "Glove Rat".  Here is a link to a youtube video illustrating this technique -->

That the residue is also coming out of Peanut's nose confirms that it is porphyrin.  My guess is that she is becoming increasingly stressed from lonliness.  You don't need to post a picture as I'm pretty familiar with porphyrin discharge, but if you wish to send pictures, it is not on a seperate page.  You simply go to ask me a question, type your question, and at the very bottom, there is a button that allows you to attach an image from your computere.  Hope this makes sense.

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Irene Murphy


I can answer a variety of questions regarding adoption and care of pet rats throughout their lifetimes, including questions about their health and well being, temperment, diet, bedding, cages, toys, etc. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability in a timely manner and I have an abundant amount of resources to help me to help you with your pet rats. I love rattie pictures, so include pics with your question if you can. You may ask me medical questions, but please be advised that I am not a vet. I may use my resources to answer some medical questions, however, I will need to refer you to your local vet with medical questions that I feel I am not qualified to address.


I have been a huge rat enthusiast for many years. Since becoming a rat owner, I have educated myself in all areas of pet rats from every resource I could find including the internet, books, conversations with local exotic vets, as well as several local rat breeders.

I have a college degree but not in the area of animals. I have obtained my extensive experience and knowlege of pet rats all on my own because in my eyes, pet rats are the most interesting and fascinating creatures you can ever imagine to have as pets. I also am saddened by how mislabeled and misunderstood these amazing and extremely smart animals are by the majority, and my mission in life has become to educate and change as many people's perceptions of rats as I possibly can.

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