The Fancy rat is the domesticated form of the brown rat, and they are the most common breed of a rat to be kept as pets.
This type of rat was originally hunted for sport in the 18th and 19th centuries but was later bred as pets. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns and make wonderfully easy pets to care for and look after.
This type of rat was originally hunted for sport in the 18th and 19th century but were later bred as pets.
One of the biggest draws of this breed of rat is that they are inexpensive, compared to other breeds of rats and other small animals.
They are independent and loyal creatures, though they do like to be around other people and animals. As far as rats go, they are on the more intelligent end. They make wonderful pets for kids and adults.
Check: Rex Rat Breed Facts
Table of Contents
Fancy Rat Coat & Looks
Fancy rats come in a wide variety of colors and markings.
Many Fancy rats, being descended from the original wild brown rat, have an agouti coloring, which is basically three shades of brown, all blended together.
This agouti coloring can come in different shades, such as cinnamon, brown, and fawn.
It is also common for Fancy rats to come in a solid color, with black, beige, blue, and chocolate being common colors.
You will also find different colors of eyes on your Fancy rat. The eyes often match with specific coat color, so you will find the same combinations.
The most common eye colors are black, pink, ruby, and odd-eyes. Ruby eyes are eyes that initially look black but, on closer inspection, are actually a deep shade of red. Odd-eyes are eyes that are different colors.
Fancy rats also come in a variety of markings. Self is a common marking and means that the rat comes in a solid color, with each hair having one solid color.
There are also Himalayan markings, which means that the rat has a solid white across their body which blends into a single color on the nose and feet.
There are Berkshires (colored on top and white on the belly), Capped (color on the head only), Variegated (any mismatches in the fur), and many more.
Fancy rats have a thick and coarse coat which also has a softness to it. They generally have black or red eyes.
READ MORE: Dumbo Rat Facts
How Do I Care For A Fancy Rat?
Fancy rats are very social creatures, and we would recommend buying them in pairs to help them socialize. Buy two rats of the same gender so that they cannot reproduce in your home.
Of course, no matter how many rats you have, we always recommend spending as much time with your pet as possible.
You need a cage for your rat, and that cage should be at least 20” x 20” x 20”. If you are housing multiple rats, then add 20% to each of those numbers for every additional rat. As rats like to climb and explore, a tall cage is recommended.
If you have multiple levels, then your rat can climb and explore when inside.
To aid with this, look for cages that have metal bars spaced enough for your rat to climb them like a ladder.
Of course, you should also make sure that the bars are not spaced so far apart that your rat can squeeze through the bars.
A solid floor is recommended for the cage, and you should cover the floor in paper bedding or wood shavings.
The cage should be placed out of direct sunlight, and make sure that it is not placed under any drafts or heating registers.
Rats can survive in extreme conditions, but that does not mean that they should live in them. A solid floor is recommended for the cage, and you should cover the floor in paper bedding or wood shavings.
Make sure to get paper bedding that has not been printed on as your rat will chew on them. You should also make sure that the wood shavings do not have sharp corners or any chemicals added.
The cage should be cleaned regularly, and, at least once a week, you should remove everything and replace it with fresh material.
Along with a weekly clean, you should be spot-cleaning the cage every day. Outfit your rat cage with lots of toys and interactive areas, and your rat will live a long and happy life.
Check: Albino Rat Lifespan
How Active Are Fancy Rats?
Fancy rats are very active animals and love nothing more than to run around.
You may have seen the classic movies of rats running around inside of a spinning wheel and, while this can be good exercise, it is not as common anymore.
If you are thinking of buying a wheel for your rat, buy one which is solid and does not have spokes as they can get their legs caught in the spokes.
The best thing which you can do for your rat is to give them as much space as possible to run around in.
You should let your Fancy rat out of its cage for at least an hour each day. The best thing which you can do for your rat is to give them as much space as possible to run around in.
We recommend an entire room. Clear out the room of anything which you do not want to be chewed, and close all of the doors and windows so that they cannot escape.
You can also furnish the room with toys that your rat will love. Invest in lots of toys and areas which they can hide in. You do not have to spend a lot of money to do this.
Some empty boxes, tubes, and pipes will be enough. You can also provide ramps from one area to the next for them to traverse.
When they are out of their cage, we also recommend spending as much time with them as you can.
Rats create a bond for life, and the more time you interact with your pet, the more of a bond which they will create with you.
What Should I Feed My Fancy Rat?
Fancy rats need a diet that is high in protein, due to being so active. They are omnivores, so will eat anything and everything and one of the best things which you can do for your fancy rat is to feed it a balanced diet.
If rats overeat, it can be hard for them to lose that weight, and health problems can follow.
Pellets are a great way to ensure that your rat gets what they need to grow and develop.
Look for pellets that are high in protein to ensure that your rat is getting enough. You can also supplement the diet with simple proteins like cooked chicken and eggs.
Many rat owners like to feed their rats a seed diet, but some rats are selective eaters and can pick through the seeds, only eating some of the food.
You should also add in some fruits and vegetables. Dark leafy greens are great for your rat, and you can also add in some sweeter vegetables, like carrots.
Fruits can be given too but should be given in moderation. Add in some melon, apple, or banana every three or four days as a treat.
Water should be given in unlimited amounts, and you should always be checking that your rat has enough water and that the water is clean.
Healthcare for Fancy Rats
While Fancy rats are more susceptible to health issues than rats in the wild, they also survive those health issues a lot more frequently than their wild counterparts.
If you take care of your rat and take action when issues occur, then your rat is going to live a long and healthy life.
Most breeds of rats suffer from respiratory issues, and they are born with this, so there is nothing which you can do about it. The disease may never manifest, but there are certain things that you can do to ensure that it never becomes an issue.
The first is to schedule vet visits. They can check on the health of your rat and help with any afflictions. The second thing which you can do is to look for dust-free bedding and litter.
The less dust there is in their cage, the better it is for them. This means that you should stay on your cage-cleaning schedule too.
Rats are also susceptible to tumors.
Rats are also susceptible to tumors. These tumors can be benign or malignant. The best way to combat this is to visit your vet should you notice a growth in your rat.
Both types of tumors can be treated and dealt with if caught in time.
Don’t forget to check out my article, “Best Pet Rat Breed“. It’s an insightful read for those keen on learning about the diverse rat breeds. Enjoy!
Fancy Rats As Pets
Fancy rats make great pets. They are extremely friendly and intelligent. As you create a bond with them, they will come to you and even respond to their name.
They love to interact with people, and you will be able to carry them around on your shoulder or inside of your shirt. When you are sitting, they will love to curl up on you for your warmth.
Children love them as they are easy to take care of, and they can be trained to perform simple tricks. With a little time and effort, they can perform simple tasks.
If a small child is taking care of a rat, then we always recommend adult supervision.
- “Berkshire «Hawthorn Rat Varieties.” 2021. Ratvarieties.com. 2021. http://ratvarieties.com/berkshire/.
- June. 2015. “AFRMA Fancy Rats – Marked.” Afrma.org. 2015. https://www.afrma.org/ratmkd.htm.
- “Pet Rat Care Sheet & Supplies | PetSmart.” 2021. Petsmart.com. 2021. https://www.petsmart.com/learning-center/small-pet-care/fancy-rat-care-guide/A0326.html.
Do you have a fancy rat? What did you name him? Please share with us below!
Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
Follow her on:
Read her latest articles HERE
Learn more about her HERE.