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Pet Rats/Rat peeling and chewing paint


My male dumbo has recently developed an interest in the paint on my walls. He has never shown interest in it before, but today he keeps peeling the paint off and eating it. He has plenty of food and water and his cage was just cleaned today.  
I have heard about rats eating paper and other materials when they have upset stomach, and I am curious if that is what my boy is trying to do. He has been on antibiotics and pain killers for the past week to help him recover from a bad bite wound that he got from rough-housing with his cagemate. Is is possible that his meds upset his stomach and that's why he's eating the paint?
Also, any suggestions for what I should do to make him stop??

Hi Lauren,
So, obviously your rat has free roam of your room, is that right? It could be that he is doing this because of the meds he is on. In my experience, pain medication is often not necessary for injuries to the skin, because rat skin doesn't have nearly as many pain receptors as our skin does, and certainly not after just a day or two.  It is also very rare for minor injuries to get infected, therefore, antibiotics are not needed. I suggest stopping the medications and see if the paint-eating behavior stops.

I highly recommend my Rat Health Care booklet, which you can read about on the Books page of my website at

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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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