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Pet Rats/Skin condition


Hi. I have two male rats just under two years old. One of them looks like they have a skin condition. He has a bunh of spots all over his back. It kinda looks like little cuts. Like when you have a mosquito bit, and you scratch it do much it bleeds. One cut is open a bit more. More like an actuall cut, probably from scratching. I was just wondering if you knew what it could be. Any tips would be great!


Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you.

Even the best of cage mates get into squabbles from time to time. The scratches on the back  could have been caused by your rats wrestling. Intact males tend to get into fights from time to time, most of them harmless.

Another possible cause could be the rats themselves scratching. Mites or lice can make rats quite itchy and excessive itching could cause the scratches. These wounds are usually located around the neck, chin, and face, but could appear elsewhere as well. Both mites and lice can be treated with medication.

Another possible self-inflicted scratching could be caused by excess protein in the diet, especially with males who require a lower percentage of protein in their diet than females. Check your rat's food and be sure that the diet does not exceed 18%. Ideally you would want 14% or lower for males.

Hope that helps!  

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Shawna Laufer


Nutrition has always been an interest of mine as well as creating stimulating environments for rats. I conduct product reviews on my blog so I can take questions regarding products marketed or intended for rats. Other questions regarding basic husbandry, feeding, grooming, and other pet rat care will be accepted. I have very little breeding experience so I would not be able to answer much in the ways of breeding or genetics questions. I can help with some basic health care questions but am not a vet and always suggest contacting your vet for serious inquires.


I have over 13 years of experience with pet rats, having worked in several pet stores, as a veterinary tech assistant, and with my own pet rats. I run a highly regarded blog on the subject of pet rat ownership ( with a corresponding YouTube channel and Facebook page. I have been and always will be open to questions and comments.

A photograph of my lady rat's cage is being published in Worth Publishers' college textbook "How Children Develop, 4e" by Robert Siegler, Judy DeLoache and Nancy Eisenberg on the subject of how complex, stimulating environments and how they relate to the brains of rats.

I have some college experience, but not in the field of animals. I completed the majority of an at-home Veterinary Technician course which I was unable to complete due to financial reason. The majority of my knowledge on rats have come from personal experience, conducting my own research with the help of published medical studies and journal, the internet and through other knowledgeable 'rat people'.

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