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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I picked up some feeder rats about 3 weeks ago and have been having several problems with them. Initially, all four of my pythons refused to eat any of them, which I found strange. About a week later I noticed that the tail and feet of one rat had turned a dark reddish brown color. Later that evening when I returned home I found that the discolored tail area (about an inch) had been eaten off, and the feet were gnawed on. The next day, the entire tail had been eaten. I only have one of the rats left now, and it is beginning to have the same problem. About an inch of it's tail has turned a reddish color and about 50% of its ears have turned reddish brown/black and developed sores. I'm worried that this might be some sort of bacteria or infection that the rats transmitted to each other. I'm also worried about the possible health risks for my snakes that ate the other two, and even for myself! Has anyone seen anything like this before? Thanks in advance!

PS: Yes, I know that most people disagree with feeding live rats. I respect everyone's opinion but I am not interested in discussing it.

EDIT: Just in case it is relevant, I am using Eco-Earth brand compressed coconut fiber substrate.
 

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Then go to the Snake Forum. This is a forum for people who keep rats as pets and love them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your response Vladina. If my question was about snakes, I would certainly follow your advice. I am however fairly confident that it pertains to rats. I still have this particular rat because I decided to keep it as a pet and as I stated earlier, I am concerned that it picked up some kind of infection from the other one. I would greatly appreciate any *constructive* responses. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update: I caught my rat scratching excessively at her ears and chewing on her tail. This brings on a slew of new questions!

1) Could this behavior cause the discoloration and sores that I mentioned previously?

2) I read that rats do this sometimes in response to extreme stress and anxiety. The rat in question was bitten twice, but not constricted. Could the multiple exposures to the snakes cause this type of long term stress?

3) If this behavior is related to the problem, what can be done to stop it?

4) How well do rats typically recover from these kind of traumas? Could she still be a trusting and enjoyable pet?
 

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You need to take the rat to the vet asap. She is obviously in severe pain, and needs immediate medical attention.
 

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I would call your vet.

I'm not sure why you're feeding rats live, though...they won't even take pre-killed? It's odd that you'd risk such pricey snakes (I'm a ball python owner too and familiar with the morphs you have). I have seen a lot of ball pythons injured or killed by live prey, especially when it comes to rats...

Edit: I see that you "don't want to discuss" live feeding but then I'm not sure why you brought it up in a forum for pet rats. Of course people are going to be upset, especially since it doesn't look like any of these rats have received vet care. Listen, I love snakes too but feeders deserve humane treatment too.
 
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