Rex Rat: Curly, Kinked Coats

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The rex rat is a long time favorite across the United States, and across the world. They have a very unique coat that kinks and curls evenly throughout the body. The fur itself is a bit more coarse seeming, as it does not lay straight. It also does not possess the sheen that standard rats do. Even though it is a relatively dull coat without much shine, it is still very pretty. The individual hairs will curl and kin, producing a very textured coat. 

When Did the Rex Rat First Come About? Where Did It Originate?

rexed agouti female rat. She's not dumbo eared, but top eared!
rexed agouti female rat. She’s not dumbo eared, but top eared!

The first rexes were founded in 1976, under the care of geneticist Roy Robinson. Since then, they have been internationally recognized with breeders and keepers everywhere wanting to get their hands on them. These rats were located in England; however, there were some rare rex appearances sometime before the early 80’s in the United States. Shortly before 3 English Rexes were important from England in 1983, a few were shown by Mary Sheridan; meaning, the gene was already here in America. It just wasn’t wide spread.

What Do Curly Rex Rat Whiskers Look Like?

blue dumbo eared rex like rat in bed
These whiskers are not quite curled as they should be for a rexed rat. This may point to a bristle coat rat.

The whiskers of a rex coated rat are quite curly. You will usually see that they kink up relatively close to the muzzle of the rat. Generally, the whiskers on standard furred rats will extend several inches from the body. Whiskers allow the rat another sensory tool, so that they may feel what is around them. The whiskers are also super sensitive to movement, much like the whiskers on a cat.

Some rats may seem to be rexed, but may have straight whiskers, slightly curled whiskers that still extend by a few inches, or whiskers that will slightly curl down towards the ground. These rats are not considered rexes, and tend to display a very poorly kinked coat.

When Does A Rex Rat’s Fur Get the Curliest?

As babies, rex rats tend to be the curliest. At around the five week mark, they will have developed a nice, soft, lush curly coat that might lead you to believe that you have one of the nicest rexes that has ever been bred; however, this will mislead you. At the age of six or seven weeks, rex rats “Molt”. Molting means to lose their fur, whether in part or whole, in favor of a new coat.

patchwork hairless rexing rat
This patchwork hairless rat will continue to molt and regrow its hair during its lifetime. Via leschatratbin

When the next rexed coat grows in, you will notice that a lot of the curl has gone. On the rare occasion, a male will receive his second coat with unbelievable curls; the kind of curls that are necessary for showing and improving the breeding lines. Breeders keep male rex rats until the age of 6 months to determine who will retain the best coat. For the most part though, all rex rats will wind up with just a wavy, kinked coat.

Can A Rex Rat, a Dumbo Rat, and a Fancy Rat Live Together?

All of these rats are the same species of animals. They are not different species, or breeds. They only have minor differences, almost all of which are physical. There are few anatomical differences (such as the jaw structure in the dumbo), but these do not hinder whether or not the animals can live together. For the most part, they will get along just happy and live out a normal life.

The only concerns you should have are the dispositions of each animal. Sometimes, there will be poor breeding involved. If rexes are rare in your area, you run the risk of a breeder who sacrificed temperament over looks. If this occurs, you might wind up with a slightly aggressive or highly territorial animal that may need to be altered. Always meet the ratty parents before adopting a baby!

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