Mr. Stinky was a itchy rat. You can’t see it in the photo, but he had scratched a sore onto his neck with his sharp little toenails. The culprits? Well, probably a bunch of Radfordia ensifera making their presence known where they weren’t wanted.
What, you may ask, are these unpronounceable creatures? Here’s a microscopic mug shot:
Luckily for us humans, Radfordia mites are generally host specific, meaning they will usually attack only a certain species host. This is a good thing. I did get Sarcoptes mites once from some unknown mammal, and let me tell you, they were perfectly happy to take up residence on my body. But that’s another story.
We started our rat friend on antibiotics for the skin infection and Revolution for the mites, and he is well on his way to feeling better. Hooray for Mr. Stinky!
Pet Rodent Etiquette Tip: Do not call rodents vermin, varmints, or plague-carriers. Their owners don’t seem to like it if you do.