Dumbo Rat

Scientific NameRattus norvegicus
Common NameDumbo Rat
Care LevelModerate
Lifespan2-3 years
Adult Size9-11 inches (excluding tail)
OriginMutation in domesticated rats
TemperamentGentle, Affectionate

History & Domestication

The journey of the Dumbo Rat starts, interestingly enough, with a genetic mutation. This mutation gave them their distinctive ears, which are set lower on their heads and to the side, much like the beloved Disney character, Dumbo the Elephant. The first known Dumbo rats appeared in the pet trade in the early 1990s in the United States. Their unique appearance quickly gained popularity among rat enthusiasts, and breeders began selectively breeding for the trait. Today, the Dumbo Rat is a recognized and sought-after variety of the fancy rat. Their history is a testament to the ever-evolving relationship between humans and their domesticated companions, showing how our preferences can shape the trajectory of an entire breed or variant.


Dumbo Rats are comparable in size to other domestic rat breeds. On average, they measure between 9-11 inches, not counting their tails. However, they can slightly vary based on their genetics, overall health, and diet. It’s worth noting that males tend to be a bit larger than females, often showcasing a more robust physique.


With dedicated care, a Dumbo Rat’s lifespan can range from 2 to 3 years. Like other rat breeds, genetics, a balanced diet, and a proper living environment play significant roles in determining their life expectancy. While some might live slightly beyond 3 years, it remains relatively rare.


Breeding Dumbo Rats requires a deep understanding of genetics, particularly if one aims to produce litters with the characteristic Dumbo ears. Knowledgeable breeders often select pairs based not only on physical traits but also temperament, ensuring that offspring are gentle and amiable. It’s essential for breeders to maintain high ethical standards, considering the health and well-being of the animals throughout the breeding process.

Unique Features

The primary distinguishing feature of the Dumbo Rat is, of course, its ears. Unlike the standard rat, whose ears sit atop its head, the Dumbo’s ears are larger, rounder, and positioned lower, almost to the sides of their head. This gives them an endearing appearance, which has endeared them to many rat enthusiasts and pet owners alike.

Behavior and Temperament

Dumbo Rats are renowned for their calm and affectionate nature. They tend to be less skittish than some other rat varieties, making them excellent pets, especially for families with children. Their gentle demeanor doesn’t mean they lack inquisitiveness. They’re just as curious and playful as any rat, delighting in new toys, mazes, and interactions with their human caregivers.


Thanks to their gentle nature, Dumbo Rats often take well to handling. Starting from a young age can ensure they’re comfortable and confident around humans. It’s crucial to handle them with care, supporting their bodies when picked up. Their trust in humans can deepen with consistent positive interactions, making them wonderful, interactive pets.

Grooming Needs

Much like other rat breeds, Dumbo Rats are self-groomers. They’ll frequently clean themselves, often engaging in mutual grooming sessions if housed with other rats. Owners should still periodically check them for signs of health issues – clean eyes, clean fur, and no unexplained lumps or skin problems. Their nails may require occasional trimming, especially if they’re not worn down naturally in their habitat.

Diet & Nutrition

An omnivorous diet is best for Dumbo Rats. This can be achieved through commercial rat pellets complemented by fresh vegetables, fruits, and occasional protein sources. Fresh water should be consistently available. Avoid sugary or overly fatty treats, as they can lead to health problems.


Maintaining a comfortable temperature is crucial for the well-being of a Dumbo Rat. Ideal temperatures hover between 65°F and 75°F. Ensure their habitat is free from direct sunlight or drafts. They should always have a cozy nesting spot available.

Common Health Issues

Dumbo Rats share common health concerns with other rat varieties. Respiratory issues, tumors, and skin conditions can arise. Regular veterinary check-ups and early intervention when health concerns are identified can help ensure a long, healthy life.

Habitat Requirements

A spacious, multi-level cage works best for Dumbo Rats. This setup allows them to climb, explore, and engage in natural behaviors. Soft bedding, hiding places, and a variety of toys should be present to encourage physical and mental stimulation. They thrive best when kept with other rats, given their social nature.

Cost of Care

Initial costs for a Dumbo Rat include the price of the rat itself, a suitable cage, bedding, and toys. Recurring expenses include food, periodic bedding replacement, and vet visits. Given their social nature, many owners opt for multiple rats, which can affect overall costs. Regular maintenance and preventative health care can help mitigate unforeseen expenses.

Dumbo Rat FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)