Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Rat Research

By Shellyane Bryan
A rat owner from England shares tales of living with her first rat, Queen Dumbo Duncanson-Bryan, and a rat named Mouse.

Dumbo the rat
Photo Courtesy Shellyane Bryan
Dumbo the rat has a predominantly black coat, but the base of her fur is gray to brown, and she has bits of pristine white fur.

I’ve been doing a lot of research into rats this week, and I have found out all kinds of things I never knew. For instance, I didn’t even know it was possible to have a dwarf rat! I also had a conversation with a rat breeder about a few of the misconceptions about rats that I had no idea about.

Anyway, while I was looking at the huge array of colors and markings rats can have, I think I finally discovered what kind of rat Mouse is. I’m not absolutely positive of course, but so far it’s the closest I have come.

Originally I thought her coloring was “husky,” but she doesn’t have anywhere near enough gray for it. Then I came across another rat online that looked very similar. It turns out that Mouse may be a Russian Silver Point. She has very sleek, white fur with no hint of other color at the base of the hair, and has two gray spots behind her ears that are very pale, as well as a light stripe down her back.

Comparatively, my rat Dumbo has quite a mix of colors in her fur (though the brown spot on her back is from too much time lazing in the sunshine!). Predominantly her fur is black, but the base of her coat is gray to brown, with the white bits of fur she has being pristine.

I think I’ve decided that I would like to get a Siamese dumbo and a Russian blue dumbo when I next get a pair of baby rats. That is, of course, if I can find any!

I have been looking at various British rat breeders, and one I came across even breeds dwarf rats, but I am not sure having a dwarf rat in my hands would feel quite the same as carrying a hefty, dopey, full-sized rat. I have also been looking to tailless rats just out of curiosity, and the rat breeder I spoke to told me that they actually regulate their temperature just fine without a tail. I still think it is sort of cruel to intentionally breed rats without the tail though.

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