Rex Rat

Scientific NameRattus norvegicus
Common NameRex Rat
Care LevelModerate
Lifespan2-3 years
Adult Size9-11 inches (including tail)
OriginEurope (from wild brown rats)
TemperamentSocial, Intelligent, Affectionate

History & Domestication

The Rex Rat, renowned for its curly whiskers and distinct velvety coat, is a mutation that first appeared in the European rat population. Notably different from the typical smooth-coated rats, this intriguing mutation quickly caught the attention of rat enthusiasts and breeders. The name “Rex” originates from similar mutations observed in other animals like rabbits and cats, wherein the term “Rex” denotes a uniquely textured fur.

Over the years, rat fanciers began selectively breeding for this unique coat texture. The Rex mutation eventually reached other continents, garnering attention from rat lovers worldwide. Today, Rex rats are a staple in many rat shows, often admired for their one-of-a-kind appearance and lovable nature.


A full-grown Rex rat closely resembles its fancy rat counterparts in size, generally measuring between 9 to 11 inches from the tip of the nose to the tail’s end. While males are often more robust and larger, females are slightly more streamlined and smaller.


Typically, a Rex rat’s lifespan varies between 2 to 3 years. This duration might seem relatively short, but it’s bustling with curiosity-driven activities, interactions, and exploration. With optimal care, it’s not unheard of for some Rex rats to edge towards the 3-year mark.


Breeding Rex rats necessitates a comprehensive understanding of their genetics. When two Rex rats are mated, they can produce a mix of Rex-coated and smooth-coated offspring. However, when two Rex rats carrying a double Rex gene are paired, the result is often hairless or sparsely coated offspring, colloquially referred to as “double Rex.”

Unique Features

The Rex rat’s claim to fame is undoubtedly its coat. The fur is dense, short, and curly, providing them with a velvety texture that’s a pleasure to touch. Adding to their endearing appearance, Rex rats also boast curly whiskers, which further sets them apart from their smooth-coated cousins.

Behavior and Temperament

The Rex rat’s physical attributes are just the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the unique coat lies a heart bursting with intelligence, sociability, and affection. Rex rats are inquisitive by nature, continually seeking out new experiences and adventures in their surroundings. They are quick learners, responding well to training sessions, making them great companions for those interested in teaching their pets new tricks or behaviors.


Rex rats, with their friendly and amiable nature, are generally easy to handle. They benefit greatly from consistent, gentle interaction, starting from a young age. Over time, these delightful rodents build trust with their human caregivers, often seeking out attention and even enjoying cuddles.

Grooming Needs

Despite their different coat type, Rex rats are diligent self-groomers. However, due to the unique texture of their fur, they might occasionally require a gentle brush to help remove loose hairs and prevent matting. Additionally, their nails should be monitored and trimmed as needed.

Diet & Nutrition

An omnivorous diet suits the Rex rat best. A mix of high-quality rat pellets, combined with fresh fruits, vegetables, and occasional protein sources like cooked chicken or eggs, keeps them healthy. Fresh water should always be readily available.


Rex rats thrive in moderate temperatures, typically ranging between 65°F and 75°F. They should be shielded from direct sunlight and protected from drafts. A consistent temperature helps in maintaining their overall health and well-being.

Common Health Issues

Similar to other domesticated rat breeds, Rex rats are susceptible to respiratory issues, tumors, and dental problems. Regular check-ups can aid in early detection, ensuring timely treatment and potentially extending their lifespan.

Habitat Requirements

A spacious cage is paramount for Rex rats. Vertical space is particularly appreciated, with horizontal bars facilitating climbing. Toys, hammocks, and hiding spots contribute to an enriched environment. Soft, absorbent bedding, preferably paper-based or aspen shavings, is essential.

Cost of Care

While the initial cost of purchasing a Rex rat might be moderate, the long-term care involves ongoing expenses. The most significant costs typically revolve around the cage, food, enrichment tools, bedding, and medical care. Prioritizing quality can both enhance the rat’s life quality and reduce recurrent costs.

Rex Rat FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)