Fight Wounds in Rats

Jun 19, 2010
Image: Photo Grapher / via Image Bank

Tail Bite Wounds and Secondary Bacterial Infections in Rats

Fight wounds are especially common in male rats (though they can occur in females), especially during mating season when the dominant male tries to fend off challenges from other males for the attention of the desired female. The fighting invariably leads to injuries to the skin and tails.

While fight wounds are not often considered to be a serious problem, unattended cases may lead to serious and sometimes fatal complications due to development of gangrene and/or secondary bacterial infections.

Symptoms and Types

  • Visible injuries on the face, back, genital area, and tail
  • Patchy hair loss and/or skin scabs
  • Greenish/black skin tissue and sloughing off of skin (gangrene)
  • Weight loss


Fighting between male rats is a typical behavior during times of mating, as the males fight for dominance in the group and for control of access to the female rats. If open wounds and abscesses are not treated properly they can become vulnerable to entry of bacteria, causing secondary bacterial infections and making the rat vulnerable to further complications.


You will need to give a thorough history of your rat's health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have led to this condition. A thorough physical examination will reveal wounds on the rat's body.

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