they were actually discovered in a lab in 1977 but just recentley made there way to the pet scene. they have a mutant gene that reduces their growth hormones so they are identical to normal size rats but stay 40to 75 percent smaller. they also are resistant to quite a few cancers that often plague rats. they live the same amount of time as well but so far i have only seen online breeders in the california area and they wont ship this far, or it would cost a couple hundred dollars to have them sent air freight.
as cute as they are i cant spend that much
i wish there was one a bit closer to canada though. the only ones i've found are still too far away. also being that small, what would be the maxium cage bar spacing be for them? would a 1 inch spacing still be able to hold them?
I actually have a directory in my bookmarks of all the ratteries I could find that breed dwarves... I've become kinda obsessed with adding dwarves to my menagerie, but most of the breeders seem to be on the West coast.
Also, only some of the breeders ship, but the cost is prohibitive ($150+). It's also stressful on the ratties.
also, dwarf rats cannot usually be housed with regular rats. big rats will usually try to kill the little rats. i'm pretty sure it has to do with the predatory rat response to mice. adult dwarf rats are about the size of a 4-month old standard rat. rats that have been raised together may get along better though.