Are you considering getting a hairless rat as a pet? Then you should really know what you’re getting into because these rats will require some extra care when compared to other breeds of rats. However, this article will come in your help and will help you understand the hairless rat breed and its care requirements.
YOu might have heard that the hairless rat is also called a “Double Rex” rat. This is due to the two Rex genes that this breed is known to carry. These rats are bred from the Rex breed, which has a coarse and curly coat. Rex rats will only have one Rex gene, but the hairless breed will come with two Rex genes, even though they are born hairless. These pets will require some additional care mainly because they have no coat to protect their skin.
We’ve come a long way since people were looking for a fluffy friend. Nowadays, as hairy pets are more and more common, some people will find uniqueness in owning hairless pets. Hairless rats have become popular after hairless dogs, cats, and even rabbits have also become usual pets. These rats have no hair and are pink and rather small.
Below you will find a list of some essential things to keep in mind if you want to be a good hairless rat owner.
You will have to add more protein and fat to the diet of a hairless pet rat. These pets will have a harder time maintaining their body temperature, due to their lack of fur.
If you want to give these pets healthy food, then you should go for 20% fruits and vegetables and 80% dry food. You should also keep to a minimum any feeding of treats to these rats.
Along with high-quality rat food, you can also add nuts, bananas, grapes, yogurt, sweet potatoes, broccoli, meat, cheese, and avocado to their diet.
These rats shouldn’t consume products that have either caffeine or chocolate.
These rats are also known to consume more water than the hairy breeds. This is why you should consider refilling their water bowl as often as possible.
Hairless rats will also scratch pretty easily, especially due to their lack of protective coat. This is why it is vital that you create a safe environment for them to live in.
Rats like to climb and play a lot, and hairless rats are no different. This is why you should get a large enough cage for them to be able to move freely. Look for cages with a bar spacing of half an inch or even smaller.
You should also look for any wiring that is protruding from the cage and conceal it as soon as possible.
These rats donțt handle low temperatures very well, so the best idea would be to place their cage in a warm and dry spot.
If youțre unable to clean their cage daily, you should at least try to do this three times per week. This is to prevent your hairless rats from developing ugly infections that might put their lives in danger.
These rats will look for something to snuggle in at night, so you should add soft bedding to the cage. This bedding can be anything from soft cotton material, fleece blankets, newspaper shavings, or old T-shirts.
You can also go for a professional version of bedding like those provided by Planet Petco, Kaytee, Carefresh, or similar, which can provide an even softer feel for the rats.
Don’t go for wood shaving or wood chips for bedding because these are not recommended. This is because these can really scratch, poke, or hurt the rats.
As you might expect, a hairless rat will be more prone to skin issues, like rashes or dry skin, than their furry counterparts.
You will also have to bathe the rat at least a few times each year. Most of the time, these animals are very much capable of grooming themselves, but when you notice the pet is really dirty, you should help it with a bath.
You can wash it with antibacterial soap and then dry it with a heat lamp or a fresh towel. This will help your rat stay healthy and avoid catching colds.
You will notice sticky spots on your rat’s skin from time to time, and these should be cleaned using a damp or warm cloth, or even baby wipes with aloe vera extract.
Hairless rats are very prone to dry skin issues. Even so, you should refrain from using hand creams, moisturizers, or baby lotions to fix this issue. This is because, like most animals, these rats will lick themselves pretty often, causing them to ingest the cream or lotion by mistake.
One safe alternative is olive oil which can be used as a moisturizer because it is safe for rats to ingest. To use it, just rub the oil gently on the skin of the rat. This will ensure that the oil will get under the pet’s skin, and the rat will also like the free massage. Even though it is safe for ingestion, you should keep this oil away from the rat’s nose, ears, or eyes.
If you add olive oil in small quantities to your pet’s diet, it will also help make the skin softer. Don’t just give your pet rat oil to drink. Instead, soak a small piece of bread in it and then give it to the animal.
You can add a warm mist humidifier to the cage, which will keep the rat’s skin moist. If this doesn’t seem to help and the rashes or dryness are still present, take the animal to a vet as soon as possible.
The lack of eyelashes will make hairless rats practically defenseless when it comes to their eyes. This is why they can injure their eyes pretty easily.
You will have to wash your hands every time you want to put them near the pet’s eyes.
Any eye-related emergencies should have you take the animal to the vet, as these are very sensitive organs and very prone to issues.
You can have your vet trim the pet’s teeth down if you notice them getting unusually long.
Try to avoid clipping the teeth yourself even if the job might seem easy. YOu will need the vet’s experience and trained hands to make sure you’re not hurting the pet.
When taking the pet to have its teeth trimmed, also have your vet look at its nails, maybe they will also need some trimming.
This is also something you shouldn’t do yourself, as you might hurt the pet.