The hairless rat is also known as "Double Rex" rat. Double Rex refers to the two Rex genes that these rats carry. These rats are bred from Rex rats, who bear curly and coarse coat. Rex rats carry only one Rex gene. However, hairless rats with two Rex genes are born hairless. As their skin is not protected by a coat, it becomes necessary to take surplus care of them.
The idea of a "hairy friend" has changed nowadays. With furry-fluffy pets becoming commonplace, owning "hairless" pets is in vogue. Like hairless cats, dogs, and rabbits, hairless rats are adopted as pets too. Small and pinkish in color, these rats are completely bald. Without a single hair strand on their body, these adorable pet rats need a little extra attention.
We list out the essentials to look into so that potential pet owners know the needful.
- Hairless pet rats need more fat and protein in their diet. Without their fur, these rats need to maintain their body temperature with the energy produced from the food given to them.
- A healthy diet for these pets is advised to include around 80% of dry food and 20% of fruits and vegetables. However, feeding treats to these rats should be kept to the minimum.
- With high-quality rat food, avocado, cheese, meat, broccoli, sweet potatoes, yogurt, grapes, bananas, and nuts prove beneficial to the pet.
- Avoid feeding chocolate and caffeine to these rats.
- These rats drink more water than their hairy counterparts. Therefore, it is always a good idea to keep refilling their water bowl.
- Without the layer of protective coat, hairless rats get scratches easily. Therefore, it is necessary to provide a safe environment to them.
- Like any other rats, hairless rats require a large cage in which they can play and climb. The ideal bar spacing is ½ inch or smaller.
- Any wire should not protrude from the cage. If so, conceal it with utmost care.
- Placing the cage in a dry and warm spot is a good idea as these rats can feel chilly very easily.
- Clean the cage daily, and if not, at least thrice a week. It will prevent any infections that the hairless rats might quickly succumb to.
- These cages need soft bedding for the rats to snuggle at night. The bedding can be made with materials like an old T-shirt, newspaper shavings, fleece blankets, or any other soft cotton material.
- Ready-made bedding products from Carefresh, Kaytee, Planet Petco, etc., are available in the market, which can be used to provide a soft retreat.
- Any type of wood chips and shaving for bedding is not recommended. There are high chances that the shavings might poke and cause scratches to the rats.
- Hairless rats are more susceptible to skin problems like dry skin, rashes, etc., than rats with a furry coat.
- Bathe your hairless rat for a few times in a year. Usually, these animals groom themselves; however, you can help your pet by cleaning it if it gets very dirty.
- Wash it with an antibacterial soap, and dry it completely with a towel and a heat lamp. This will prevent the rat from falling ill (catching a cold).
- To clean a sticky spot on the rat's skin, use a warm and damp cloth or baby wipes with aloe extracts.
- Dry skin is a major issue with hairless rats. However, using baby lotions, moisturizers, and hand creams for the problem is not recommended. These rats often lick themselves and can consume the lotion/cream by mistake.
- Using olive oil as a moisturizer is the best option as it is safe for the rats to consume. Gently rub the oil on the rat's skin. Your pet will enjoy the gentle massage, and it will ensure that the oil seeps in the skin too. However, keep the oil away from the rat's eyes, ears, and nose.
- Another option to keep the skin soft is to add the olive oil in their diet. Soak a little piece of bread in the oil and give it to your pet rat.
- In this way, oil gets transferred to the rodent's body and as it licks, it spreads all over the body as well.
- A warm mist humidifier helps retain moisture on the rat's skin.
- If the dryness and rashes continue, consult your vet immediately.
- Hairless rats have no protection for the eyes due to the lack of eyelashes. It makes them prone to eye injuries.
- Always wash your hands before taking them near your pet's eyes.
- As the eyes are a small and sensitive part, contact your vet for any eye-related emergencies.
- If your hairless rat's teeth are getting longer, take him to a vet to trim the teeth down.
- Do not try to clip the teeth yourself. The trained eyes and hands of the vet will trim down the teeth easily.
- Just like trimming down the teeth, it is always a good idea to go to the vet to file your pet's nails.
- Filing the nails at home might injure the rat unknowingly.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and should not be substituted for the advice of a professional veterinarian.