Some rats are dangerously picky!
We read a lot about obsessive grazers but never really had one until Gotchubah. Gotchubah was a runt. He was so small and so very sensitive! In case you were wondering, we named him Gotchubah because he was so fond of those "Got Yer Butt!" games (see "Cheap ways to entertain yourself and your rats.").
Gotchubah wasn't originally that sensitive, that is, he was fine until he met the other rats. Gotchubah didn't know about dominant rats, if anything, he had no reason to because he was the dominant rat. He then introduced himself to George VI (see "Some rats have psychological problems.") and George beat him up pretty well. After that, the "Got Yer Butt" games had to stop because Gotchubah was taking them a bit too seriously. He never understood the difference between George the Rat and Nat the Human. He also started taking to ritualistically cleaning off all the scabs, infections, and otherwise bothersome nubbies. He was chewing holes in every part of his body, including his feet. When he got sick, we couldn't even give him Doxy shots because he'd turn a pin hole into a crater.
What did we do about it? Well, if it was really dry, we applied baby oil to the area. If it managed to get infected, we applied Hydrogen Peroxide, and for a bit we tried a collar but when he had the collar on he just did more damage to his lower extremities. Sometimes it seemed like he did it just to get the attention. He was always the jealous type.
Some rats aren't too hard on themselves but are awfully obsessed with those human nubbies such as knuckles, cuticles, and nails. If your rat starts cleaning a finger, bend them so your knuckles are tight and move your fingers as necessary to keep them away from your nails and cuticles. Sometimes it doesn't hurt too bad, but when your nail is folding backwards it feels a bit funny!
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Disclaimer: There are many non-sarcastic accounts and tips on the web regarding rat care. This is not
one of them. These are merely accounts of our experiences with rats, our perceptions of these experiences, where we've failed
and where we've succeeded. These accounts are here for two purposes: