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Pet Rats/Fighting companion


Hello Debbie
My name is Scarlett and I have two rats with my best friend Xzavior and we feel like neglective rat parents. One, Captain is being attacked by Leuiy his younger rat 'brother'. I got Captain when he was about 1.5-2 months old (he was bread as a feeder rat) and about 1-2 months later Zxavior got Leuiy so Captain would not be alone during the day while we were at school. Our babes (the rats) stay at his apartment since I live in the dorms where they are not allowed and the other day Zxavior noticed Captain acting a bit skittish and he had what looked like some dirt on his skin. He tried to look but Captain (the biggest love bug) wiggled away. Today we noticed captain had missing patches of fur under his chin with what we now know are scabs from bites. We didn't know for sure what it was until we gave Captain and Leuiy a bath. When his fur was wet we saw the entire area around his head covered in bite marks (most of which broke the skin) we immediately separated them and are now looking for suggestions. Please give me any insight you or others may have. Captain is the oldest and was there first but he is the only one with bites (we checked Leuiy thoroughly). Even a referral would be greatly appreciated.
  Thank you for your time,

Hi Scarlett,
Relax, Leuiy is not biting Captain. Scabs on the chin are always caused by the rat scratching himself. They most likely have rat fur mites, which can cause some rats to itch, although not all of them do. You need to treat them both for mites. See the article called Skin Problems on my website at on the Rat Info page. That will tell you how you can treat them 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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