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Pet Rats/Scab and wounds caused by cage mate barbering


I've had my two girls for a year now and the wounds and scabs on Aries are getting worse no matter what I do. Revolution and cage clean out and bathing didn't help. The other day I paid close attention to their behavior and it seems that the squeeking that I thought was playing turned out to be Artie running behind Aries and nipping her on her scabs which made her squeek. I hear them squeek in the cage but it's never extensive so I brushed it off. Today I realized that the squeeking was cause by Artie painfully grooming Aries on her neck and head and it's becoming worse by day. I let them free range once a day but I wish I had more means to entertain.

Hi Gina,
It's a common misconception that scabs around the neck and head are caused by overgrooming. Actually they are almost always caused by rat fur mites. Not all rats with the mites develop the symptoms of scabs.  I highly recommend you treat your rats with moxidectin or Revolution, and I'm pretty sure that will clear up the problem. See the article called Skin Problems on my website at for instructions.

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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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