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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Edit: Some have suggested this could be mites and I think you're on to something. However I'm not sure how they'd get mites, as I use fleece and incontinence pads for bedding, no shavings or such, and I haven't introduced any new rats. Is there anything else mites could spawn from?
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I've never had this happen with other rats I've had before and I'm not sure what to do. I'll be consulting the vet, but would like suggestions:

My rats seem to get along well and will sleep together, but when they get into play fights and Archie wins, he grooms Frankie's back to the point where there's little nicks on Frankie. Is there any way to prevent this other than separation?

His claws are fairly dull, though his teeth are slightly long so maybe this could be the problem?

It really doesn't seem aggressive or intentional when he does this. Outside of these play fights and occasionally boxing, they do nothing that would even suggest they want to harm one another. There's no hostile body language, they cuddle, and Frankie will groom him back gently, so I'm not sure what to make of this.

They're small wounds and would heal on their own, but Archie does it continuously, so for Frankie's sake I want to know what the best option is.
 

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I think what you're describing is barbering.

Rats barber- each other and/or themselves- for several reasons, including boredom and loneliness. Do your ratties get time out of the cage every day? If so, for how long and in how large and interesting an area? Are there lots of toys and enrichment in their cage?
If they don't get free roam time, or get under 45 minutes a day then definitely let them out more often- I recommend an hour a day in a rat-proofed room or playpen.
If they don't have a very enriching and interesting cage, get some more toys for them to play with! Foraging toys are very stimulating, and climbing toys like long, thick dog ropes and Ikea tie holders are also very well-loved

Edit: Oops, I didn't think there were any scabs or things. @CorbinDallasMyMan is right- it's entirely possible that it is not barbering too, in that case :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think what you're describing is barbering.

Rats barber- each other and/or themselves- for several reasons, including boredom and loneliness. Do your ratties get time out of the cage every day? If so, for how long and in how large and interesting an area? Are there lots of toys and enrichment in their cage?
If they don't get free roam time, or get under 45 minutes a day then definitely let them out more often- I recommend an hour a day in a rat-proofed room or playpen.
If they don't have a very enriching and interesting cage, get some more toys for them to play with! Foraging toys are very stimulating, and climbing toys like long, thick dog ropes and Ikea tie holders are also very well-loved :wink :
Ah that's probably the culprit, I've been getting them toys and chews, but hadn't thought of Foraging- good idea! I've been trying to take them out more but my dads a stickler for them free roaming since we're in a rental home. An hour or two a day shouldn't hurt! ;p
 

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It sounds like you're witnessing two things, grooming and scabbing. It's possible that the former is causing the latter but it's also possible that they're unrelated. Little scabs, particularly around the neck and shoulders can be a sign of mites. One rat might show symptoms of mites even if their cagemates don't. You could post pictures to get other opinions or you could schedule a vet visit to suss out the cause.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It sounds like you're witnessing two things, grooming and scabbing. It's possible that the former is causing the latter but it's also possible that they're unrelated. Little scabs, particularly around the neck and shoulders can be a sign of mites. One rat might show symptoms of mites even if their cagemates don't. You could post pictures to get other opinions or you could schedule a vet visit to suss out the cause.
That's a good point. The only reason I'd assumed it was from the grooming, was that Frankie squeaks whenever Archie grooms him but Archie doesn't with Frankie. I guess this could just be from touching wounds from mites. Thank you for pointing that out.
 

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I suggest that you put petroleum jelly on Frankie's wounds so that they're not so tough. I know But it helps soothe symptoms (It really helped my rats when they got mites). Consult your event about possibility of mites. If it turns out it is might I recommend buying food grade diatomaceous earth from chewy and sprinkling it in their bedding and even food source before putting it in the cage. It's not guaranteed to kill parasites 100% of the time, but it reduces the chances of your rats getting infected again.
 
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