The name, Dumbo rat, should give you a hint as to how this cute little beast looks. Most rats have small, oval ears. This rat has large, circular ears, and looks a little like the famous elephant, and namesake. The ears on the Dumbo rat stick out from the sides of their head. Apart from the ears, Dumbo rats look much the same as all other rats out there.
The large ears are due to the recessive Dumbo gene. The breed inherits one from each parent, giving two copies which result in the jaw bones and ears being altered while in the womb. We should be thankful for these genes in rats because we are not sure that there are any cuter ears than these ones.
Dumbo rats first popped up sometime in the middle of the 20th century.
Dumbo rats are easy to spot due to their large ears. There is almost no mistaking them. They are direct descendants of fancy rats so share a lot of the same characteristics, all except for the ears. Dumbo rats have larger ears than most other rat breeds, and the ears are round instead of being oval.
Dumbo rats weigh around a pound and a half and can reach up to 22” in length. They have flat and wide heads, also caused by the Dumbo gene, and that only serves to make their ears look bigger. They will have either black or red eyes.
Dumbo rats have short straight hair and come in a variety of colors.
The most common colors are black, white, brown, grey, and blue, and they often come in a mix of two or three of those colors.
Your rat will need somewhere to call home. A cage needs to be big enough to give your rat room to exercise, and we always recommend going as large as you can. 24” x 24” x 24” is the smallest you should go for a single rat, and you can add 20% to those numbers for every additional rat which you add.
Rats love to climb, so take this into account when purchasing the cage. Metal bars work best for climbing and chewing, and the bars should be close enough to keep the rat in the cage but also spaced enough for them to cling to it and climb. A cage with lots of levels will give your rat the opportunity to explore and exercise while they are in their cage. Add in a place for them to nest and rest, and you have the perfect home for your pet.
Rats are intelligent and sociable creatures, and there are a couple of things which you can do to help your rat. We would always recommend buying rats in pairs if you have the time and space. That way, you do not have to interact with them as much, though we still recommend that you do. You should also furnish their area with lots of toys to keep them occupied. Interactive toys and puzzles work best and will keep your rat stimulated.
A cage with lots of levels will give your rat the opportunity to explore and exercise while they are in their cage.
All rats are active, and Dumbo rats are no different. While you may have a large cage, it is always good practice to let them out of their cage for at least an hour each day. Dumbo rats are fast and great climbers, so keep this in mind when you do let them out. You may opt for a pen to keep them in a certain area or let them out into a room.
If you are letting them out into a room, make sure to close all of the doors and windows. Even the points of entry which are hard to get to can often be no problem for a rat. Rats love to chew too, so remove all wires from the floor, and anything else from the room which you do not want to be chewed. Long pipes and empty toilet paper tubes make great play toys for energetic rats.
Dumbo rats are easy to handle and love social interaction, and that means that you can easily pick them up. This will help you to create a lasting bond with them. If you do not have the time to interact with them, then a second rat is essential.
Dumbo rats, like all other rat breeds, are omnivores, meaning that they will eat anything and everything. The best thing to start with is rat pellets. If your rat is a picky eater and likes to eat selectively, then look for a pellet mix where everything is mixed together rather than a seed mix. This will ensure that your rat does not dig through the food for the treats and leave the rest. Follow the instructions on the packaging when deciding how much food to give to your rat. We also do not recommend using food created for other rodents. The food will not have the same nutrients which your pet rat needs.
If your rat is a picky eater and likes to eat selectively, then look for a pellet mix where everything is mixed together rather than a seed mix.
On top of the pellets, you can supplement the diet of your rat with fruits, vegetables, and more protein. Rats need a diet high in protein, and boiled eggs or cooked chicken are two treats which they love. Carrots and apples are a favorite too. Try not to give them too much fruit as the sugar can be detrimental to their health in the long term.
Rats also need a lot of water, so make sure that their water bottles are filled at all times and that the water inside is clean.
Most rats live between 2-4 years, and, with the right care, your Dumbo rat can easily make four years. Most rats live a long and healthy life, but there are a few health considerations to think about.
Respiratory diseases are very common in rats, and this includes the Dumbo breed. The best way to discover if your rat has any problems is to have your rat checked out by a vet at a young age. Even if there are no signs, your rat can still have lung problems. To combat this, make sure that you look for dust-free food and bedding. Cleaning our your rat’s cage regularly will help to tackle any respiratory issues.
Feeding your rat the correct amount, and not overfeeding them will go a long way to controlling their weight.
Dumbo rats can also suffer from obesity. When a rat puts on weight, it can be hard for them to shake it so even a little extra weight can make an impact on their health. Again, this is easy to keep in line. Feeding your rat the correct amount, and not overfeeding them will go a long way to controlling their weight. Having the space to run around and exercise is also important. Give them the time and space to run around, and the toys to be able to do so.
Dumbo rats make for wonderful pets. They are incredibly smart, friendly, and affectionate creatures. They are also easy for small children to handle, and do not need a lot of time and attention. Of course, the more time and attention which you can give them, the better. Spending a lot of time with your Dumbo rat will help to create a bond, and that is something which makes this breed great for children.
Once you create a bond with your Dumbo rat, you can train it to respond to its name.
You will also see it run towards you when you come in the door. They often act like little dogs. They are intelligent, and children will love to train them to do tricks and solve puzzles. Once the rat has become accustomed to a child (or an adult), it will ride on their shoulder as you walk around the house, lay on your belly when you are on the couch, and snuggle inside your shirt for warmth.
Dumbo rats are affectionate and friendly and make for one of the cutest pets out there.