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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.

Experience in the area

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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    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
Amanda10/09/14101010Thank you so much for the super-prompt .....
Tanja10/01/14101010Thank you for your thorough response. I .....
shauna10/01/14101010Thanks for the help, will do my .....
Anna09/26/14101010Only one word is needed .... excellent. Deb .....

Recent Answers from Debbie Ducommun

2014-10-22 Pneumonia or mycoplasma?:

Hi Morri,  These are definitely symptoms of a respiratory infection.  Based on my 30 years of experience, for a rat who is sick, no matter the symptoms, amoxicillin is the first treatment I recommend.

2014-10-15 Do rats fight over territory?:

Hi Julie,  It sounds like she already has her mind made up, but you can try referring her to this link    Apparently some lines of domestic rats have been bred

2014-10-08 Odd Male Rat Behavior:

Hi Amanda,  It is probably because of the smell of the other boys, and maybe because a girl is in heat. He is demonstrating intense territorial marking and aggressive behavior. The scrabbling is scent

2014-10-04 strange behavior after babies 'lost'.:

Hi Melanie,  It sounds like maybe all of Chippie's babies were born dead and she ate them, which is the normal thing for them to do. Now her hormones are still making her feel maternal. Depending on when

2014-10-01 respiratory distress:

Hi Tanja,  Sounds like she has pneumonia, but I disagree with your vet about the treatment. I recommend you get her on amoxicillin ASAP or she will likely die. See the info below.  Deb    Based on my 30


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