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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Oh holders of all rat knowledge...I humble myself before you! LOL

I've been doing a lot of reading and tying to educate myself but would be interested in any information about the different types of rats. I've seen some refering to Rex, Dumbo, Norway, Roof and a whole other mess of descriptions that I don't totally understand all over the forums. Is there a quick and dirty primer out there somewhere I can trust?

I believe both of my rats are the same type. Their ears look the same size and shape to me. Cleo is slightly bigger than Roxy although both are more than handful (between 12 and 14 oz) but not huge like some rats I've seen. Some things I've been noticing as I get to know them are that Roxy's fur (hair?) is very soft and sleek while Cleo's is a bit coarse on her back, not nearly as shiny and smooth as Roxy. Cleo's tummy is very soft though so it not coarse like that all over. Both of them have straight whiskers.

Thanks ahead of time for the help.
 

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Pet rats are all Rattus Norvegicus also known as brown rats or norway rats or fancy rats. The rest your mentioned is mostly just markings (hooded, berkshire ect) /coloration (agouti, mink, albino ect) /ear position differences (dumbo vs standard). They are all the same species.

Roof rats are a different species-they are rattus rattus also known as black rats.
 

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Rex and Dumbo are types of Norway rats. They are the same species (Rattus norvegicus), these terms just describe variation in appearance. This site describes what these terms mean http://www.afrma.org/fancyrm.htm mostly in "show standards" but you get the idea.

Norway rats (or fancy rats, or brown rats) are the species Rattus norvegicus. They are the common domesticated rat.

Roof rat refers to an entirely different species, Rattus rattus. They are not commonly bred to be pets (though they were in the past, and sometimes still are) but are wild. Sometimes people adopt wild babies and raise them as pets (they would be considered tame, not domesticated). Roof rats are also sometimes called black rats, ship rats, citrus rats, and a few other less common monikers.
 

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Your girls look to both be standard eared and standard coated. If the girls on the left is solid black (no white on her tummy) she'd be called "self" white marks would either make her "berkshire" or "irish." The other girl I'd call a vari-hood which isn't exactly a pattern type per se, but she doesn't have the solid line down her back for a hooded rat. Here is a good primer on colors, patterns and anything else you might want to know http://www.afrma.org/fancyrm.htm You'll see a lot of people refer to pink eyed whites as PEWs, I think that tends to be the most common confusion for people who are new to rat lingo.

The difference in your girls' coats could be that one isn't absorbing nutrients as well as the other. If it's concerning, you can try adding some good fatty acids to their diet and see if the coarse coat goes away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Your girls look to both be standard eared and standard coated. If the girls on the left is solid black (no white on her tummy) she'd be called "self" white marks would either make her "berkshire" or "irish." The other girl I'd call a vari-hood which isn't exactly a pattern type per se, but she doesn't have the solid line down her back for a hooded rat. Here is a good primer on colors, patterns and anything else you might want to know http://www.afrma.org/fancyrm.htm
Thanks for the link. That helps a good deal. And you're right Roxy is black with white on her tummy. Not sure which she would be. She's mostly white underneath but the black comes around the sides as well. Cleo has black the whole way down her back but it's more of a splotch than a line like the picture I saw. Very cool. I'm having fun learning all this stuff.

The difference in your girls' coats could be that one isn't absorbing nutrients as well as the other. If it's concerning, you can try adding some good fatty acids to their diet and see if the coarse coat goes away.
Good tip. I'll keep an eye on it to see if it gets worse. Right now I'm not sure how to describe it...kinda like how my own hair feels when I have split ends. Just like some of it is coarser than the rest or like it want's to be curly but just doesn't quite make it. *shrug*
 

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Actually, there are several species of rodent commonly referred to as rats. The three species that have most commonly been kept as pets are the brown rat and the black rat (as mentioned above). Domesticated is a matter of definition, but both species will interact with humans and build bonds with them and can live together much like a dog might.

There's currently someone here working with american pack rats or wood rats and the jury is still out as to whether they can become companion type animals and bond with humans. There was another species also very rare in the fancy from Africa, the Gambian pouched rat that supposedly can also bond with humans, but I don't believe there are many in circulation anywhere in North America and of course the Nutria Rat originally from South America which supposedly does will around people but is a highly aquatic species... If you don't mind a giant rat that lives in your bathtub they are actually supposed to become quite friendly. Some folks also keep African soft fur rats that are popular in areas where brown rats are banned that may or may not become good companion pets. I'm sure I've missed a many other species of "rat" that are even more esoteric, like mole rats, but overall 99.999% of the rats in the fancy are brown rats or morphs of that species.

Well and for the most part, with the exception of manx (tailless) and hairless morphs all brown rats are pretty much cared for alike.
 

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You have to understand while looking at those pictures that what you're seeing is "show standards" so needless to say there are a lot of variations in pattern that typically can just be lumped in with whatever it's similar to. If Roxy has a white belly she'd be a berkshire, even though that site shows a full white belly. I'm a big fan of fish oil, both for myself and my pets. Sometimes the nutrient needs of one rat are not the same as another, but supplementing something like fish oil wouldn't be detrimental to the rat that doesn't need the extra fatty acids, so it's a pretty easy fix....assuming that's the problem. My dog has terrible allergies that affect both his skin and hair; supplementing with fish oil keeps his coat thicker and softer.
 
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