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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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Marie-Claire06/28/16101010Thanks for the answer. It's true that .....
Isabel06/28/16101010I may be back with more questions .....

Recent Answers from Debbie Ducommun

2016-07-19 Messaged Breeder:

Hi Shady,  No, it does not necessarily mean the babies are defective. When close relatives breed there is more of a chance for the offspring to inherit two copies of recessive genes carrying poor traits

2016-07-19 New Rat Had Babies:

Hi Shady,  The breeder might have a foster mom who will take over caring for the babies. You should ask them. Babies need to be handled a lot to socialize them and make sure they bond to humans and turn

2016-07-13 Dry Skin/Missing Fur:

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

2016-06-27 Rat Chewing Bars of Cage:

Hi Marie-Claire,  She is doing this because she wants out of the cage, that's all. If possible, you might try putting a board up in front of the cage when she does it to "punish" her by removing the opportunity

2016-06-27 HELP! rat has swollen belly! might need vet?!:

I recommend you print out the antibiotic info I sent you to take with you to the vet, since not all vets know rats can have amoxicillin. Most vets want to give just Baytril, which is good for treating


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