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Pet Rats/Dry Skin/Missing Fur



Hi, for a few weeks I noticed my female rat's skin looks odd. She's just over a year old. The skin on her arms looks dry and I can see scabs and it looks as if some fur is missing. I sometimes see a few scabs on her back that are pretty tiny. I always keep her nails clipped to try and prevent this. It also looks as if a little bit of fur is missing on her left leg.

She eats rat food and plenty of fruit and veg so I'm wondering if there's something missing from her diet or something I should give her to help if her skin is irritated. I treated her last week with a dog and cat treatment which kills are parasites. A few times I've also seen her eating her own poo. I'm really worried there's something I'm not doing for her. Thanks so much for reading.

Hi Shauna,
The picture of her right arm looks like self-barbering. This is a behavior where they nibble their own fur off. We don't know the exact cause, it may be something like obsessive/compulsive behavior in humans. However, scabs on the neck and shoulder area are usually from rat fur mites. See the article called Skin Problems on 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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