Abscesses can be caused by fights and are generally softer than cancerous lumps. They can be drained by your vet.
Excess scratching, sneezing, runny or swollen eyes are signs that your pet may have an allergy. It is worth switching their bedding and substrate to see if this can solve the problem, although if you see no improvement after a few days then it will require a vet visit.
Ball fighting is where two rodents curl into a ball and this is where a fight has escalated and does need to be separated. Gerbils in particular must be separated if this happens.
Barbering can be caused by rodents overgrooming or chewing the fur or whiskers from another rodent. This can be caused by stresses such as overcrowding, poor diet or dominance issues. Excessive barbering may require separation of the animals.
Some rodents rise on their hind legs and bat at each other with their front paws. This can be play-fighting and fairly minor, but if one animal does not back down or lose interest this can escalate.
Bruxing is where an animal grinds or chatters its teeth together quite rapidly. This can indicate contentment, especially when occompanied with boggling. However bruxing can also occur as a reaction to pain or stress — if the sound is louder, and with more sharp cracks, it is more likely to be the animal responding to something bad. Rodents may brux loud (sometimes known as chattering) to comfort themselves if they are in distress or pain.
Rats are particularly known for this.
Bin cages are plastic tubes - often using an RUB as a base - with meshed sides to allow ventilation. These are used as cheap and custom accomodation for rodent keepers.
Do you have a good method, or guide for making these? We'd love someone to write an article on making your own bin cage!
As a prey species, rodents have a strong survival instinct and so when a companion dies they may well eat the body to dispose of it - and thus leave no traces for a predator to help locate them.
Some rodents may cannibalism their young if the nest is disturbed too early, or they are distressed for other reasons. Sometimes this can indicate a lack of protein in their diet.
Cataracts in rodents can be spotted initially be seen as a white dot behind pupil and the lens may develop a gray or milk white discoloration. They are more likely to occur in older animals.
A vet should be consulted and some adaption of cage layout to account for poorer vision may be needed.
Cushings Disease is a disease known in Syrian Hamsters. Signs of Cushings Disease include hair and weight loss, loose and flaky skin, increased thirst, dark pigment patches on the skin and cuts, scabs and wounds to the skin.
For more information on Cushings Disease see the Hamster Central Wiki entry.