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Pet Rats/Bathing a rat; cleaning a rat tail.


Hi. I have 2 male rats just under two years old. One of them is white, and has a very dirty tail. Do you have any idea of how I could clean it? Also how could I bath them?
Thanks, any tips you have would be great!

Dear Sydney,

Rats rarely need to be bathed. Some love it, some hate it. You only need to if they are actually dirty. Sometimes males get greasy, and then bathing is a good idea if they don't hate it. Otherwise, spot cleaning with a warm washcloth is better.

Keep them warm. Warm room, warm water, dry thoroughly and don't put them back into their cage till they are dry. Use baby shampoo.

Rats' tails do get filthy sometimes. In general you wash a rat's tail with a little warm water-- if he will let you dip the tail into water while you give him a treat, that is great. Baby shampoo or very mild dish soap is good. Take a toothbrush and brush towards the tip of the tail. Do not stress the rat out; just do a little a day if necessary.

I had a rat with a very filthy tail-- which is partially caused by a thick build-up of dead scales. What I did was I used that setup but I didn't feel like the tail was coming clean. So I very, very gently pushed my finger/fingernail against the scales in one small spot, taking care not to stress him out. It should not hurt and it is possible he will enjoy the attention. Mine didn't. I ended up pushing back-- not removing-- the scales on about an inch of tail and let it be. When he was washing his tail that night it bothered him to have those rough scales and he chewed them off. That section of his tail was clean the next day. So I continued like that, day by day until the whole tail was clean.

After that, either the rat will keep himself clean or you can use the simple toothbrush method on a more regular basis.

Do not stress out a sick rat by worrying about its tail.

Best of luck.



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Natasha Millikan


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