Animals / Rodents

The Dumbo Rat

Синонимы и названия на других языках

Order: rodentia

Family: muridae

Subfamily: murinae

Genus: rattus

Species: dumbo


This species is a result of selective breeding, doesn’t occur in the wild. It was first introduced in the USA and the name refers to the cartoon “Dumbo the Elephant” due to the rats’ large round ears. 

Внешний вид

The Dumbo’s head is wider than the common rat’s one. The skull is often raised at the back. The body shape reminds of a pear, it is enlarged at the back, but the rat looks well-proportioned. The snout is sharpened, it is the sign of a pure breed. The tail can be either long or short.

Males are always bigger than females. On average, an adult Dumbo rat reaches 40- 50 cm long.

Their coats can vary. Standard coat is short and silk-like over the whole body. Another type of coat, satin fur, is longer on the body and shorter on the ears, tail and snout. Rex rats have  tougher, but longer and curly coat.  The coloration is very varied too. An interesting feature of dumbo is curly vibrissa, that make those rodents look particularly cute. 


The Dumbo rat is not as active as most of its relatives, but they quickly get used to its owner and can become completely tame. If you train it correctly, the rat can recognize its name, return to the cage on command and even learn different tricks. If you give a treat to your rat, say its name. When you choose a name, remember that it should be simple and clear, since rodents don’t have an ability to remember long and complicated phrases. 

Содержание и уход

A lot of people love fancy rats for their agility and energy. They are much smarter than hamsters and guinea pigs and are quite low maintenance pets. Fancy rats tend to mark their territory, but the owners don’t feel it because they emit very little fluid.

Also rats love chewing and gnawing anything they can put their teeth on, so you should be careful when you let them walk around in your house.  Never put a cage under direct sunlight or in the draught, otherwise they don’t require any special environment. They feel most comfortable under the temperature between 18-21 degrees. 

It is best to get a spacious metal cage, since rodents easily destroy wood and plastic. You should set a hiding place for your rat to relax and sleep in: it can be a house bought in a pet shop or a box. Also your rat will want some ladders, ropes, driftwood and exercise wheel – then it will never get bored. However it is best to keep a couple or a group, then they will feel great. They are not territorial, and they always can hide in each one’s house in case of a quarrel. 


Rats are omnivore, they eat practically everything. In general they prefer plant feed, insects and their larvae, sometimes offal. Rats cannot stand hunger, they die after 3-4 days without food. And of course, when they live near people they eat people’s food. Therefore it is not difficult to feed your fancy rat.

In order for the rat’s menu to be rich in vitamins, you should give it raw and boiled vegetables, some cereals, apples, cheese (twice a week at most), boiled eggs (only once a week) and white bread. You should never feed your Dumbo rat with chocolate, raw potatoes, soya food, beans, artichokes, licorice, rhubarb, blue cheese, sausage, green bananas, spinach. Also you should be careful with such food as beetroot, almond, turnips, pumpkin and sunflower seeds (15 at a time max), radish, cucumbers, sour cream. 


Each rat has its own personality, they can be aggressive. 


Fancy rats are prone to infections. Often they get viral, bacterial and fungal diseases that can occur due to contaminated food or water or through the contact with infected animals. Also diseases can be transmitted with the parasites’ bites.

Average life span is only about 3 years.


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