Barbering is not strictly speaking an illness or condition. Excessive grooming in which the fur is nibbled off and/or over grooming by a rat, either on itself or another rat. You should look at the rat’s environment and make sure that it is not due to boredom or anxiety. Rats may barber each other, in which case frequent areas of barbering and subsequent bald spots on other rats are the head, face, neck and shoulders. If the bald patches are on the face, neck or shoulders, it will probably be another rat doing the barbering. Dominant rats may barber subordinates. Lactating mothers may have barbered stomachs, either as the result of nibbling by the babies once their teeth have erupted, or by the dam herself in response to irritation from the nursing.

Self-barbering is also found in non-lactating rats, in which case the rat may nibble off fur from its forearms and chest. If the patches are on the front legs or stomach, it is probably self-barbering. Barbering is sometimes caused by Demodex mites, or as a result of mutual grooming when the rats’ diet contains more than 20% fat. Other possible causes include skin ulcers (pyoderma), other external parasites, genetic disorders,caloric or protein deficiencies, abrasion on rough surfaces, hormonal imbalances, chronic renal disease, ringworm (dermatophytosis), and intensive breeding.

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