25 Great Fancy Pet Rat Facts!

Love Facts? Facts About Pet Rats?

Who doesn’t love a good fact session? I’m digging up a few awesome rat facts for you guys, and hopefully everyone will enjoy them. So just where did the rat come from? Maybe you’re curious about their scientific name; or maybe about why they do the things they do? Either way, everyone can learn something new here! And off we go!


  1. The common pet fancy rat is actually known as Rattus norvegicus.
  2. “Fancy” as it appears in “Fancy Rat” is not actually referring to the rats as fancy. The term “fancy” is used in a way that means to appreciate or like, such as “I fancy my pet rat”.
  3. The first pet rats were domesticated in the 18th century, when people caught & tamed wild, rare albino rats (PEW’s, or Pink-Eyed Whites). These rats were kept for show and breeding purposes, especially for blood sport. Blood sports were later brought to an end.
  4. H.H. Donaldson ( European biologist who came to America) is believed to have brought the first domesticated PEW rats into the United States.
  5. The average lifespan of a pet rat is two to three years.
  6. Female rats tend to have a softer coat than their male counterparts.
  7. Dumbo eared rats do not have dumbo ears because of very carefully arranged breeding; the gene that causes dumbo ears is actually a mutation that results in deformity! Rats with this gene ARE overall healthy; they just have big ears, stockier bodies, and smaller lower jaws.
  8. Cedar can kill a pet rat quickly, as the cedar oils are poisonous to the rats.
  9. Mother rats are SO compassionate, that they will adopt virtually any baby and nurse it as their own with very little thought.
  10. Rats CAN burp, and if they accidentally get into a carbonated beverage, it will not kill them due to gas.
  11. Rat boogers are a red color! This is due to Porphyrin. It looks almost like a bloody nose when they are sick or stressed.
  12. When a female rat is in heat, she will bounce, dance, arch her back, and vibrate her ears.
  13. Rats can give birth to up to 22 babies!
  14. Pet Rats can be trained to use the litter box.
  15. They are also capable of learning advanced tricks and commands, as well as words.
  16. There are tailless rats out there as well, who are naturally born without a tail.
  17. Red eyed rats cannot see as well as ruby eyed rats, and ruby eyed rats can’t see as well as the dark eyed’s!
  18. Chocolate is not dangerous for rats, as it is for cats and dogs. They can have it!
  19. Virtually every pet rat is infected with Mycoplasma; however, it’s a silent infection that normally doesn’t affect their health. Much like the human population is infected with staphylococcus bacteria.
  20. Very few veterinarians practice rat/ small animal medicine, even though small pets are just as popular as larger cats and dogs.
  21. Rats will squint, hide, and cry/whine when in pain.
  22. Rats can reach puberty as early as 6-8 weeks of age.
  23. The average body temperature of a healthy rat is 99.9*F.
  24. Many rat noises are communicated at high frequencies that the normal human ear can’t hear. Therefore, they seem to be quiet pets.
  25. Rats have complex personalities and emotions, as well as social bonds.
  26. Baby rats will begin to open their eyes at around 12 days of age!

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