Pet Rat Varieties

Learn about the different varieties of pet rats in this Howcast rat video featuring veterinarian Anthony Pilny.

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Rats make wonderful pets. What? Don't believe us? Take a look at these videos; veterinarian Anthony Pilny is here to show you why a rat just may be your new best furry friend.

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Something that people often get confused about pet rats is the way use certain types certain nomenclature to describe the types of rats. We are very used to using the term breeds for rats cause we think about breeds let's say dogs were you may have a poodle or a German Sheppard or a chihuahua, but we don't use the term breed to describe rats. The majority of rats that we see are classified by their variety and depending on which organization or which system of classification you use, most of the time they're classified by one of six varieties of rats. All of our domestic fancy pet rats generally originate from ancestor rats, the so-called brown Norway rat, so they're all generally part of a single ancestry, there aren't different breeds or species of rats, there are different varieties. Some of the varieties that rats come in do include hairless rats, the ones that have no fur on their bodies. Some of the other varieties, one of them does include the dumbo rat like you see here, named so for their wide large set ears, the dumbo variety. There's also a standard variety of rats that are just a pretty typical looking, regular coat, no additional or unique features. Some rats also come in a rex variety these are the types that have curly whiskers they have a more velvety type coat. They can be classified generally by their variety but within their varieties they're also classified by their coat colors. The association of fancy rats, or the American Association of Fancy Rats and Mice does classify among these six varieties about 38 different color varieties as well, and these might be everything from a solid coat color to a patchy coat, to hooded type varieties, to those that just have specific color pattern and specific parts of the body, but 38 different color varieties that exist six different varieties of rats that they're classified in to properly we don't use the term describe them, we use the varieties that they exist from. The majority people that choose to own a rat this information may not be as significant, but there are also people who when it comes to showing rats that get more specific in to the different color patterns.

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  • Dr. Anthony Pilny

    Anthony Pilny, DVM, ABVP (Avian) is a graduate of the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine. He completed an internal medicine and surgery internship at Florida Veterinary Specialists in Tampa and a residency in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine and Surgery at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners certified in Avian Practice. Dr. Pilny has lectured nationally about exotic pet medicine and has published numerous articles and book chapters on birds and other exotic species.