The Rex rat is one of the most popular rat breeds across the world. The combination of the kinked coats and curly whiskers give the rat a look which is cute and endearing, and they have been kept as pets for many years.
Rex rats were first bred in 1976, in England. The Rex breed then moved to the US in the early 1980s when 3 Rex rats were imported, though there were already some in the country at that time, most likely brought over by individuals. Once the three came over, and the breed was officially recognized, the breed went from strength to strength.
Rex rats were first bred in 1976, in England. The Rex breed then moved to the US in the early 1980s
Rex rats are not only cute, but they also make great pets. They are friendly, endearing, and great around children. They can be taken care of with a little time and effort.
Rex Rat Coat & Looks
The coat of a Rex rat can vary a lot, but they are usually tight and thick. It is for this reason that children (and adults) love them. They are soft and fuzzy and like to be petted. Most Rex rats will have some sort of wave in their coat. At the lower end of the spectrum, this could be a slight ripple, up to a corkscrew-like effect at the other end of the spectrum. The ones with the thicker coats can look like tiny sheep.
Rex Rats also have long, curly whiskers.
Baby Rex Rats start out with a thick and tight coat which will fall out within the first 6-7 weeks, so know that the coat you see on a baby is not necessarily the coat which they will have as an adult. As they grow their adult coat, the curls will slowly thicken and tighten; they can often relax again as they grow, and many Rex rats can end up with bald patches.
Rex Rats also have long, curly whiskers. This is one aspect often appearance which draws people in, and who can resist the whiskers when they twitch? They extend several inches from the body and are used as a sensory tool to feel what is around them.
Rex rats come in all the typical colors associated with rats, including blue, black, brown, cinnamon, etc., and have either red or black eyes.
How Do I Care For A Rex Rat?
The first thing to think about is where your rat is going to live. They need a secure place to call home and a place to nest within that. The cage for your Rex rat should be at least 20” x 20” x 20”, and you can add 20% to those numbers for each additional rat which you have. In the cage, try to have multiple levels that your rat can run between, and lots of places to hide in and play on.
As rats like to nest, make sure that you have a place where they can create their bed.
Rats love to climb. When choosing the cage, take a look at the bars. Metal bars are recommended as your rat will like to chew on them. The bars should be close enough together so that the rat cannot escape, but far enough apart that they can climb up the inside of the cage. As rats like to nest, make sure that you have a place where they can create their bed. A secluded area is perfect, and you can add some bedding to the area and let them do the rest.
Ink-less paper, tissue, or paper towel are great materials for bedding. Anything which they can chew on and does not have any ink or chemicals will work. A lot of people use wood shavings, and you can too. Aspen and other hardwoods are recommended, while cedar and pine are not. Look for anything which does not create a lot of dust as that can cause respiratory problems.
It is important that you clean the cage regularly to stop any parasites or bacteria from developing. A clean cage is one of the best things which you can do for your rat. While they are extremely clean creatures, they cannot do it all. Clean the cage once a week, and spot clean the cage as needed.
Look for anything which does not create a lot of dust as that can cause respiratory problems.
When placing the cage, try not to put the cage in direct sunlight or in a place with any drafts. Rex rats do not do well in extreme heat or extreme cold. They are social creatures, so you should not hide them away, but, at the same time, you should not put them in the noisiest part of the house. They do well with other pets, but it is best to keep them separate from cats and dogs who can hover at the cages.
How Active Are Rex Rats?
Rats are active animals, and one of the best things which you can do for them is to provide lots of space for them to run around and climb. You will need to let them out of their cage for at least an hour a day (we recommend more), and during that time is a good chance for you to socialize with them and create a bond.
When thinking about what would entertain your rat, think about lots of toys. Old pipes and tubes are great to run through.
A pen will let your rat run around, but we recommend an entire room. If you are letting them out into a room, then be sure to rat-proof it first. Close any doors and windows so that your rat cannot escape, and remove anything from the floor which you do not want to be chewed. When thinking about what would entertain your rat, think about lots of toys. Old pipes and tubes are great to run through. Ladders and boxes are great to climb on. Anything which can be interacted with will be appealing to your smart rat.
If you want to buy your rat a wheel, and perpetuate the stereotype of classic rat exercise, then be sure to go for a solid when and not one with spokes. Rats can get their legs and feet trapped in the spokes.
What Should I Feed my Rex Rat?
Pellets are great for your rat. They have everything which your rat needs to grow and develop. If your rat is not a picky eater, then you can feed them a seed diet too. Both have everything your rat needs, but some rats can pick through seed food and take only the parts they like, leaving behind the parts which they need.
If you feed your rat only pellets, they will soon become bored with them, so be sure to supplement the diet of your rat with other foods too.
Rats thrive on a high-protein diet, so you can add in cooked chicken and boiled eggs too. Other proteins can be added, as can fruits and vegetables, such as apples and carrots. We do not recommend feeding your rat too many sweet fruits, and these can be saved as treats or used in training your rat.
Of course, fresh, clean water is a must. The best way to dispense the water is from a bottle. Check the bottle every day and make sure that the water is clean, changing it if it is not. If the water level gets low, then fill it up.
Healthcare For Rex Rats
There is not a lot to worry about when it comes to caring for Rex rats, and this is one of the reasons why they make great pets for young children. Respiratory diseases are common to all rats and can be easily prevented. Regular check-ups with your vet will help to check for any developing diseases, while regular cage cleaning will stop any respiratory diseases from developing.
Digestive diseases are all common to most rat breeds. The best way to keep this in check is with a balanced and healthy diet. Tumors can also grow on your rat and, while there is not much which you can do about this, regular vet visits will help with treatment should they develop.
Respiratory diseases are common to all rats and can be easily prevented.
You also need to take care of their nails. If you do not want to cut them, your vet will do it, but it is definitely something which you can take care of by yourself. A regular pair of nail clippers can be used, and the tip of the nail can be cut, avoiding the pink part.
Rex Rats As Pets
Rex rats make great pets for adults and children of all ages. They are extremely easy to care for and are great for smaller children and those who do not have a lot of time. If a small child is caring for the rat, then we recommend adult supervision.
Rex rats are clean animals and will do their best to clean their own cages, so you will not have to spend a lot of time cleaning out their cages, and this gives you more time to interact and create a bond with your pet.
Rex rats are extremely intelligent, and children will love to train them to do tricks (adults will too). They thrive with social interaction and create a bond for life — a wonderfully intelligent pet.