If you are looking for a pet that is cute, cuddly, and easy to care for, you might want to consider a curly hair rat. Curly hair rats, also known as rex rats, are a type of fancy rat that have curly or wavy fur and whiskers. They come in various colors and patterns, and have personalities that are friendly, curious, and intelligent. In this article, we will explore the characteristics, history, and care of curly hair rats, and why they make great pets for anyone who loves rodents.
What are Curly Hair Rats?
Curly hair rats are a genetic mutation of the common brown rat, Rattus norvegicus. They have a recessive gene that causes their hair to curl or wave, giving them a soft and fluffy appearance. Their whiskers are also curly, which makes them look even more adorable. Curly hair rats are not a separate breed, but rather a coat variety that can occur in any breed of fancy rat. Fancy rats are domesticated rats that have been bred for their appearance and temperament, and are different from wild rats that are considered pests.
Curly hair rats have the same body shape and size as other fancy rats, which are typically 9 to 11 inches long, including the tail, and weigh between 10 to 18 ounces. They have the same lifespan as other fancy rats, which is around 2 to 3 years. They also have the same intelligence and sociability as other fancy rats, which means they can learn tricks, bond with their owners, and get along with other rats.
How Did Curly Hair Rats Originate?
Curly hair rats were first discovered in the 1970s, when a breeder in England noticed a litter of rats with curly fur and whiskers. The breeder named them rex rats, after the rex rabbit, which has a similar coat. The breeder then selectively bred the curly hair rats to produce more of them, and soon they became popular among rat enthusiasts. Curly hair rats were introduced to the United States in the 1980s, and have since spread to other countries as well.
Curly hair rats are not the only type of fancy rat with a curly coat. There are also other varieties, such as the teddy bear rat, which has longer and denser curls, and the velveteen rat, which has shorter and softer curls. There are also hairless rats, which have no fur at all, and are often crossed with curly hair rats to create different coat textures.
How to Care for Curly Hair Rats?
Curly hair rats have the same basic needs as other fancy rats, such as a spacious cage, a balanced diet, fresh water, toys, and companionship. However, they also have some special requirements due to their curly coat. Here are some tips on how to care for curly hair rats:
- Brush their fur regularly. Curly hair rats need to be brushed at least once a week to prevent mats and tangles, and to keep their fur clean and healthy. Use a soft-bristled brush or a comb, and gently work through their fur, avoiding their eyes and ears. You can also use a damp cloth to wipe their fur if it gets dirty.
- Trim their nails. Curly hair rats have curly nails as well, which can grow too long and curl into their paws, causing pain and infection. You need to trim their nails every few weeks, using a pair of small scissors or nail clippers. Be careful not to cut the quick, which is the pink part of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves. If you are unsure how to trim their nails, you can ask a vet or a groomer for help.
- Check their ears and eyes. Curly hair rats have curly whiskers that can sometimes poke into their ears and eyes, causing irritation and infection. You need to check their ears and eyes regularly, and remove any whiskers that are causing problems. You can also use a cotton swab or a soft cloth to clean their ears and eyes if they get dirty or crusty.
- Provide them with a humid environment. Curly hair rats have dry skin, which can cause itching and flaking. You need to provide them with a humid environment, by placing a bowl of water or a humidifier near their cage, or by misting their fur with water occasionally. You can also add some oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil, to their food, to help moisturize their skin from the inside.
Why Choose Curly Hair Rats as Pets?
Curly hair rats are not only cute and fluffy, but also have many other qualities that make them ideal pets. Here are some reasons why you should choose curly hair rats as pets:
- They are friendly and affectionate. Curly hair rats are very social animals, and love to interact with their owners and other rats. They will greet you with squeaks and licks, and enjoy being held and cuddled. They will also bond with you, and recognize your voice and scent. They can even learn their names, and come when called.
- They are smart and playful. Curly hair rats are very intelligent animals, and can learn various tricks, such as fetching, spinning, jumping, and more. They are also very curious and playful, and love to explore and have fun. They will appreciate having a variety of toys, such as tunnels, hammocks, wheels, and balls, to keep them entertained and stimulated.
- They are easy to care for. Curly hair rats are relatively low-maintenance pets, and do not require much grooming, except for brushing and nail trimming. They also do not need vaccinations, and are not prone to many diseases, except for respiratory infections and tumors, which can be prevented or treated with proper care. They are also clean animals, and can be litter trained, which makes cleaning their cage easier.
Curly hair rats are a unique and adorable pet that will bring joy and companionship to your life. If you are interested in getting a curly hair rat, you can look for a reputable breeder or a rescue organization that specializes in fancy rats. You can also do more research on curly hair rats, and learn more about their characteristics, history, and care. Curly hair rats are a wonderful addition to any family, and will reward you with their love and loyalty.