pink eyed white rat laboratory animal

White Rat: About Pink and Black Eyed Whites (PEW & BEW)

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If you’ve been around pet rats, you are probably familiar with the “white rat”. The white rat is either going to be a Pink Eyed White or a Black Eyed White; but there is also the Odd Eye White as well. The Odd Eyed rodent is an interesting creature, and I myself have always wanted one. They have one dark eye, and one pink eye. The dark eye could be black, or ruby. White furred rats are a unique derivative of the Rattus norvegicus species, as is the rest of the majority of the pet fancy rat population.

pink eyed white rat laboratory animal
White rats were a rare occurrence in the wild, but then scientific purposes caused their populations to explode.


Is The White Rat Considered an Albino?

As a matter of fact, it would be considered an albino. If the rat is solid white without any pigment, with completely pink skin and bright red (pink) eyes, it is in fact an albino.

However, there are nearly white rats who may have a spot or two of color, but still maintain mostly pink skin and bright red eyes. These rats ARE NOT albino. Odd eyed rats are also not albinos.

Why Do White Rats Bleed from Their Eyes?

White rats usually have red eyes; and new owners might mistake the porphyrin for blood. The rat is not actually bleeding. This porphyrin is actually their tears! Sometimes a rat will get a little sneezy, maybe catch a little ratty cold, become stressed, or irritate their eyes. It could even be due to old age. Whatever the case, the porphyrin acts much like our tears. It is also what rat snot is made of (just like human boogers are made from tears from the eyes). When they flare up, the porphyrin gets everywhere.

What Is A Black Eyed White Rat?

A black eyed white is just like a PEW rat; however, it has pigmentation. It is not an albino. Therefore, they may keep all of the pink coloring in their skin, or they could have darker colored skin and white fur. They may have a small spot on them somewhere as well. Black eyed rats are a lot more rare, as the PEW are common due to being laboratory rats.

Why Are PEW Rats So Common?

baby white ratThe pink eyed white rat has become incredibly common because they were extensively bred throughout the world as experimental animals in laboratories. There are actually dozens of sub species, or varieties, of white rats throughout the scientific world. Different rats were bred to have particular traits; some were bred to be smaller or larger, others were bred to be at risk for specific health problems such as diabetes or heart failure, and others were bred to carry specific genes. With millions of rats being bred in laboratories and some being retired to the public, it is no wonder why they are so common in the pet world.

Are Pink Eyed White Rats Blind?

blind white rat pink eyed
As you can see, this rat is most likely blind. It has cloudy eyes, and they are blue tinged even though it is a pink eyed.

While it is possible for any rat to be blind or become blind, these rats are not blind. They just have red eyes. They do have a bit more trouble seeing than the average ruby eyed or black eyed rat during the daytime, so you will see the rat bobbing and weaving frequently. The head sways side to side, in an effort to get a clear visual of what is going on around them. They will respond to movement, but are much more reliant on sights and smells than other rats are. Rats have poor eyesight in general, making it much worse on the pink eyed rats. Since not all white rats are pink eyed, not all of them will have trouble seeing.

If a rat is blind, it will usually have bluish white, cloudy eyes. Whether the eye is pink or black, it will look similar. If the eye is clear, healthy, inflammation free, and properly colored as is the other eye, then the rat should be able to see out of it. IF it looks comparably different from the other eye, then it is quite possible the rat is blind in one eye. If the coloring of the eye suddenly changes one day, I would recommend taking the animal to a vet for an exam.

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