Everything about the Rex Rat | Care, Lifespan, and More

When a cute mouse races across the floor, some folks may roll their eyes. Rats make a lot of people nervous, whether it’s because of the plague or beneath sewers. If you’ve ever spent more than a few minutes with rats, you’ll immediately realize how adorable these animals are. 

Rats are one of the most misunderstood and undervalued breed animals on the planet. Many people are afraid of rats because of misconceptions about these fascinating creatures. Because most rats are so cute, charismatic, minds usually change fast after meeting one.

Rats are calm, soft, affectionate, and extremely intelligent. If you’ve ever seen a rat with curly fur and wondered what you could learn about them, you’ve come to the correct place. Let’s take a look at all of the exciting elements of being the owners of the rex rat.

Who is Rex Rat?

The Rex rat is one of the most well-known and distinctive species of rats today. Even if they’ve never seen an average rat before, they’ll recognize Rex’s curly coat and wild whiskers right away. The Rex rat is a favorite with breeders, showers, and casual rat owners alike because of its attractive appearance and velvety coat that demands to be caressed.

Rex rats will astound you with their eagerness to learn, even if it is something you don’t want them to know. If left alone, they can be destructive, so keep an eye on them. Rats appear to be drawn to ropes, material, and generally everything you don’t want them to have for some reason. You must keep a watchful eye on them when they are out to ensure that they do not get into any mischief. Rex rats will thrive in your home with the right habitat and connection

rex rat

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Here are some quick facts about Rex rats:

  • Species Name: Rattus norvegicus
  • Related Family: Muridae
  • Temperature: 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Age: 2-3 years
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Size: 9-11 inches
  • Weight: 1-2 pounds
  • Color: Albino, grey, black, blue, cream, buff, platinum, silver, siamese, sable.

History of the Rex Rats

The Rex rat originally creates in 1976, when a geneticist named Roy Robinson bred them in England. The National Fancy Rat Society standardized them that year, and they began to spread over the world. 

It only took a few years for Rexes to create popularity in the United States. The first bred Rex rats in the United States were purchased from private dealers, universities, or specialized pet shops before 1983. On October 8, 1983, Mary Sheridan presented the first two recorded Rexes. 

Unfortunately, the first three English Rex rats were smuggled into the United States in late November 1983, immediately after this show in England. This animal breed was Black Berkshire Rex, a Cinnamon Res, and a Black Shelf.

Genetic Breakdown of Curly Whiskers Rex Rats

It’s intriguing to read about the genetic makeup of a Rex rat, as they’re not the only type of rat that can have curly hair. Rexes are created by the dominant gene Re, separate from the genes producing color and pattern. As a result, you can breed a Rex rat with any other rat and have a litter of Rexes. 

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Hence, the trademark Rex coat can be combined with any other marking or color that exists. The Re gene isn’t the only one that causes a rat’s coat to be curly. Roy Robinson identified five genes that result in curly hair in his book Genetics of the Norway Rat. 

  1. Curly-1 (Cu1) 

A dominant gene that causes the rat’s coat to curl at two weeks old, disappear in less than two weeks, and then reappear on the rat’s back at roughly seven months.

  1. Curly-2 (Cu2) 

A dominant gene that causes curly whiskers, fewer guard hairs, and a coiled and rough undercoat from birth.

  1. Cowlick (CW) 

A recessive gene that causes a whorl of hair to grow in the center of the back of a rat.

  1. Kinky (k) 

Curly whiskers, short rough coats in adults, and short thick coats in younger rats are all caused by this recessive gene. These characteristics are relatively stable and consistent throughout a rat’s life.

  1. Shaggy (Sh) 

Similar to Curly-1 and Curly-2, this is a dominant gene. Cu1 and Sh together produce a curlier coat than the Cu1 gene alone.

Appearance and Varieties of Rex Rats

One crucial feature distinguishes and defines the Rex, and that is its curly hair. The hair can be any color, and the curls might vary widely in tightness, but the curls are always present. 

The National Federation of Rat Societies (NFRS) has established requirements for designating a Rex rat, which are:

  • The coat is equally dense and not unduly rough. 
  • As few guard hairs as feasible.
  • Curls are evenly distributed throughout the coat, with fewer curls on the belly.
  • Color is consistent with a known color or pattern.

These terrific pets come in a wide range of patchy coat colors and patterns. Let’s take a look at it.

Rex Types:

  • Standard Rex: Curly hair
  • Double Rex: Curly whiskers, patchy fur

Rex Coat Colors:

  • Gray
  • Cream
  • Sable
  • Black
  • Silver
  • Black & White
  • Platinum
  • Tan
  • Fawn
  • Tan & White
  • Siamese
  • Gray & White

Rex Coat Patterns:

  • Hooded
  • Berkshire
  • Irish
  • Masked

One thing to keep in mind is that just because a rat is classed as Rex rat doesn’t imply, they’re all the same. Rex rat babies have the most uniformity and adherence to the NFRS requirements.

As seen in the rat specimen above, the baby starts with an extremely tightly coiled coat. They molt into their adult coats after about a month and a half or 6-7 weeks, and most of the curl vanishes, replaced by waves.

When it comes to coats, the female and the male will never recover from previous free beauty. Although their coat may alter slightly, unfortunately, the adult will never revert to the tight curls they first developed (female in the matter). Some males have the ability to reclaim their posts glory and acquire a curled, luxuriant coat.

Behavior and Activity of Rex Rats

Rex rats are highly gregarious, amiable, and curious pets. A rat’s memory for its name and the sound of its owner’s voice is not uncommon. Rex rat is a surprisingly clean dumbo animal, grooming each other constantly. They can even be taught to use a litter box rather than going to the bathroom all over their cage. Cleaning up the cage will be a lot easier if you start training them early.

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Rats are one of the most bright organisms in the world, ranking among the most intelligent animals. Rats are quick to search up commands, master mazes, and perform a variety of tricks. All rats have a high level of empathy, which is similar to how human brains are built. They have so many characteristics in common, which is likely why bonding with your rat will be so simple. 

You’ll have their allegiance for the rest of your life if you earn their trust. Long amounts of time should not be left alone with Rex rats. They thrive bit on attention, even in their tight social circles. You should take your rat out as much as possible to play. The more time they spend with you, the closer they become to you. 

Rex rats make excellent first pets since they are so docile. Rats are less likely to bite than more popular creatures like hamsters or guinea pigs, causing some parents uncomfortable. They’re also less wary of strangers and more physically affectionate.

Care Guide of Rex Rats

Don’t want a bald and hairless pet in your cool photo? Then, have Rex Rats. They are surprisingly low-maintenance pets. You’ve taken care of the majority of their needs as long as you have the right-sized cage, supply appropriate sustenance, and keep their living environment clean. Rats, like humans, require social interaction. As a result, always make sure they have a playmate and receive plenty of outside playtimes.

Habitat Guide

Cage Requirements

You should always keep rats in pairs, and your living space must be large enough to accommodate both of them. Your cage should be at least 29” x 15” x 18” for two fully grown rats. The distance between the bars should be no more than half an inch. Rats thrive in multi-level cages that allow them to climb and explore. Make sure there are no sharp edges or huge gaps in your cage. Your rats will be master escape artists, so you never know what they’ll be able to get through. 

Accessories

Your rex rats will adore having things to do about their cage to keep them occupied. They like interacting with one another as well as new and exciting objects. Rats, like humans, enjoy spending time together. You may buy them intriguing floor toys outside of the cage to keep them occupied while they explore. It includes:

  • Huts or houses
  • Treat balls
  • Hammocks
  • Ladders
  • Tunnels
  • Dangling toys

Bedding

When it comes to bedding, you have a few options to choose from, so you can select the one that best suits your needs. Best bedding selections are the following:

  • Fleece linen liners: Washable, changing is easy
  • Aspen: Clean smell, can be messy
  • Paper pulp: Non-toxic, absorbent
  • Recycled pellets: Non-toxic, cost-friendly
  • Shredded Paper: Easy to change

Never give your rat cedar or pine bedding. Rats and other small rodents are affected by phenols in these wood chip selections.

Food Guide

Rats of the genus Rex are omnivores, meaning they eat both vegetables and meat. Fortunately, pre-packaged, well-balanced diet cubes are available in all major pet stores and online. These cubes are packed with all of the nutrients your rat requires to keep healthy.

Most commercial foods provide adequate nourishment, but adding fresh foods is even better.

Foods to give:

  • Fruit: Apples, bananas, cherries, berries, strawberries, melon
  • Seeds & Nuts: Sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts
  • Vegetables: Peas, green beans, carrots, leafy lettuce, broccoli, kale
  • Dairy: Unsweetened yogurt
  • Meat: Lean chicken, liver
  • Beans: Soy, kidney, garbanzo, black
  • Grain: Whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, bran
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Foods to avoid:

  • Green potato
  • Chocolate
  • Dried corn
  • Junk food
  • Wild insects or mice
  • Caffeine
  • Citrus fruits (for male rats)

Ensure that your rat has access to fresh water at all times.

How to Keep Your Rex Rat Healthy

Rats, however, have a limited lifespan. In captivity, they are expected to live for two to three years. Don’t let the fact that they only live a few years prevent you from having one of these magnificent creatures. You must provide a suitable environment for your rex rat for it to live as long as feasible. They thrive in multi-level cages with plenty of ventilation but don’t place the cage too close to any doors or air vents.

The following are some of the biggest health concerns for rex rats:

  • External parasites
  • Internal parasites
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Urinary tract infections

Rex Rat Breeding

As per the Rex rat’s basic genetics, breeding isn’t a challenging subject for this rat species. Because the Rex gene is dominant, when a Rex rat is bred with any other type of rat, around half of the offspring in the litter will be Rex. This makes producing additional Rex kids a breeze! 

Rats have a 22-day gestation period. So you’ve got some time to get the nesting space ready. After a few days, you may observe some apparent belly, and the mammary glands will swell. Make sure you’re providing extra nutrients for Mama by filling her up with nourishing foods. Even though rat fathers are generally fine with their offspring, the male is removed before birth to allow the mother some room. 

Rats can become pregnant again soon after giving birth, and they must recover. By 14 days of age, baby rats have completely developed eyes and fur. To ensure joyful attitudes, remember to socialize the babies as much as possible.

It’s tough to predict if Rexes will grow up to be strong Rexes while they’re young. Because babies have curly whiskers, it’s easy to detect if they’ll be a T-Rex in the first start. The newborn breeding baby pet has curled critters that breeders usually keep monitoring how they develop. When the babies are about six months old, they are recognized to see if they are suitable for displaying or should be maintained as a regular pet.

Purchasing Rex Rats

Even specialty rat strains, thankfully, aren’t prohibitively expensive. When breeders choose the price, it is sometimes based on the rarity of the color or pattern. If you adopt a rex rat from a breeder, it will cost you between $20 and $50. Some breeders offer discounts if you adopt multiples, while others won’t sell to you until you acquire a pair. These fancy dumbo baby animals create an adorable, soft, cute, quality pet. 

Always purchase rats from a reputable breeder. It’s a fantastic idea to get great pets into your home if you’re considering having a cute Rex rat for fun and show in the future. In the best-case situation, the animals develop into a perfect Rex who is ready to display. Worst-case scenario? You bring home a charming, healthy pet rat who is a delight to have around. You can’t possibly lose. 

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Gulshan
Hi, I am Gulshan, a pet blogger, and author. I've been working with the local pet groups for the past five years. I have been fascinated by our pets and am here to share that wonder with you.