Celebrate World Rat Day with some pet rat facts from Molesey Vets

April 3, 2023

If you’re thinking about getting a small furry pet, have you considered a rat?

We have some fun facts to celebrate World Rat Day below so don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family. Just hit the share buttons and you’re all set!

Do you own a fancy rat? Why not share how wonderful they are by posting a photo on our Facebook page?

Share your fancy rat photos on Facebook


How fancy is your rat?

The team at Molesey Vets have pulled together some fun facts below about ‘fancy’ rats, as the pet version is known, to help you decide if one could be right for you.

  • All domestic rats are referred to as ‘fancy rats’. This stems from how humans have bred pet rats to have certain characteristics, with the word ‘fancy’ meaning ‘hobby’.
  • There are seven types of fancy rat that all originate from the same breed of rat, known as Rattus norvegicus. These types are: standard (short smooth and glossy coats); rex (curly haired and may feel woolly); tailless (sometimes referred to as a Sphinx); hairless (completely hair free but they do need help keeping warm); satin (long, smooth, silky coats); Dumbo (these have larger, low-set ears compared to standard rats) and bristle coat (coarse fur).
  • There is a whole society dedicated to Fancy Rats in the UK, where owners can show their pets, either as a representative of their type or in a class against a range of rat types where the rat with the best temperament wins. To find our more visit: https://www.nfrs.org/
  • According to our Vet and exotics enthusiast, Darren, fancy rats love to have a varied diet. Specially-made rat pellets should form the base of their feed, however, being an omnivorous species means they also love to have fruits, vegetables, cooked eggs, grains, and seeds. Darren recommends trying to encourage your rat to use their natural foraging behaviour and use ceramic bowls for feeding to avoid the unpleasant noise made by metal ones.
  • The following foods are harmful to rats and need to be avoided: chocolates, onion, walnuts, raisins, grapes, citrus fruits, and rhubarb. High-fat and sugary foods should also be avoided to reduce the risk of obesity and its associated health problems.
  • You will find your rats eating their faeces – this is completely normal! It helps them to absorb all of the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
  • Naturally, domestic rats are nocturnal and will be most active from dusk until dawn, coincidentally the two times of day when they will eat the most food. They do have some active periods in the daytime but tend to sleep for the majority. Providing your rat with a nest box containing shredded bedding will make sure they get plenty of sleep.
  • Rats are incredibly intelligent, making them easy to train. Using treats (as part of their balanced diet), patience, and positive reinforcement will get them learning all sorts of commands!
  • Did you know, when your rat is happy and bonded with you, they will grind their teeth? This is called ‘bruxing’ and is a rat’s version of purring!
  • Some rats even have pretty important jobs; in some African countries, rats have been trained to detect undiscovered land mines. Magawa, an African giant pouched rat, was awarded the PDSA’s Gold Medal for his devotion to duty, making him the first rat to receive this honour!

Could a fancy rat be right for you?

If you want a cute, furry, intelligent pet that’s easy to train then look no further than a fancy rat! They make extra special pets, and our at team at Molesey Vets would love to see photos of your own fancy rats!

Make sure you join us on Facebook to celebrate World Rat Day on the 4th April 2023!

Share your fancy rat photos on Facebook

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