Rats can be wonderful pets and are not difficult to care for, as long as you offer them the right living conditions. Rat cages, rat food, and rat toys are specifically designed for the needs of your pet rat so that he or she can enjoy a happy and healthy life. Although they have been included in the pet category relatively recently, rats have quickly become some of the most popular pets.
Dumbo rats are famous for their adorable, rounded ears that set them apart from other fancy rats. Whether you choose a Siamese Dumbo, a black Dumbo, a Dumbo rex rat or any other variety, you will be happy to discover a playful and affectionate small pet. If you want to take care of your Dumbo rat as best as possible, here are the most important things you should know.
How should Dumbo rats be housed
First of all, it’s preferable to choose a specialized rat cage instead of improvising one, that may end up being uncomfortable or unsafe for your pet rat. A good cage for rats needs to have certain characteristics. It should be large enough and also have multiple levels. A wire cage that is tall and spacious enough is preferable. It should have horizontal bars, platforms or ramps.
Ventilation and cleanliness are other important factors when it comes to choosing the right cage. Wire cages provide better ventilation and are easier to clean than aquariums. However, the base of the cage should not be made of wire, as this is damaging for Dumbo rats’ paws. Try to provide uniform flooring made of wood or some other type of solid material.
The inside of the rat cage is also very important. Rats simply cannot feel comfortable without having some type of nesting material. The adequate bedding for your Dumbo rat pet can be made of paper, paper towels, paper tissues or pelleted paper. You can even add wood shavings, except for cedar or pine wood.
The general rule for a good rat cage bedding is to choose something highly absorbent, safe for rats, that will not create dust. Besides bedding, Dumbo rats need additional items where they can sleep, hide or nest. You can choose a special nest box or improvise by using a cardboard box, a flowerpot placed on its side or a plastic tube. Make sure whatever you choose, that it is safe.
Adequate housing also means proper hygiene. Your little Dumbo rats will certainly pick a certain spot as a bathroom area and the bedding in that area needs to be scooped out daily. Add as much fresh litter as necessary and change the entire bedding and litter on a weekly basis. Don’t forget to clean the cage as well and provide enough fresh air for ventilation.
Where you place your Dumbo rat’s cage is also very important. Rats need to feel safe, and that is why placing their cage at a certain height from the floor, on a table or some other stable surface, is advisable. They need privacy and a quiet space, especially during the day, but do not isolate them completely. Be careful not to place their cage under direct sunlight.
Make sure your Dumbo rat pet is protected from any extreme weather conditions and other dangers in the surrounding environment. Heat is particularly dangerous for rats. Also, keep in mind they would feel threatened by other pets, such as cats or dogs, so it would be best to keep their cage somewhere separate from other pets.
What should you feed a Dumbo rat?
First of all, Dumbo rats need daily fresh water. If you choose water bottles with sipping tubes, make sure that your rats are able to use them and actually get enough water. Also, make sure that they don’t drip, as otherwise, the bedding will quickly become wet and dirty. Food dishes are also important, so choose ones that won’t be easily tipped over and that are easy for you to clean.
The adequate food for Dumbo rats should consist of vegetables, fruits and a source of protein and fat. Rats need food with a minimum of 16% protein and 5% fat. Store-bought rat pellets or cubes will provide your Dumbo rat the necessary amount of nutrients, to which you can add a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits.
Dumbo rats enjoy a lot of vegetables, such as various greens, broccoli, cabbage, carrots and peas, as well as a multitude of fruits, including citruses, apples, pears and melons. Remember that any of the vegetables and fruits you choose are only an addition to the basic menu.
The pellets should not be too high in fat and over-caloric. Grain or seed mixes also tend to make Dumbo rats obese because they provide too many calories and not enough vital nutrients.
Dumbo rats enjoy a nice sugary treat once in a while, as long as you don’t overdo it and provide them with a healthy daily menu. You can feed your Dumbo rat biscuits, cooked pasta or rice, breakfast cereals, and bread, but only occasionally. Junk food and concentrated sweets should be avoided.
As far as foods that are entirely forbidden, there is a long list and the best rule to go by is to simply stick to what you know is safe for your small pet and don’t take risks. Don’t offer your Dumbo rat pet any new treat without knowing if it’s safe or not. Unsafe foods can cause choking, gastrointestinal problems and even death.
It’s undeniable that the ‘elephant’ ears make Dumbo rats some of the most adorable small pets. They come in a variety of colors and are just as intelligent and curious as the other fancy rats. Some consider Dumbo rats to be even more affectionate than other fancy rats, possibly because the most gentle temperaments were originally chosen for Dumbo breeding.
Dumbo rats have different personalities but, generally speaking, they are considered sweet, they enjoy human company and do not bite or display other aggressive tendencies, as long as they don’t feel threatened. Rats are famous for being very social, they naturally live in communities and are highly interconnected.
It would be really sad for your Dumbo rat to live alone. It’s highly advised to have a pair or a group of Dumbo rats. Keeping multiple rats doesn’t cost a lot and it’s an essential condition for their wellbeing. They also need exercise and playtime outside the confined space of their cage. Be sure to let them roam outside the cage at least for an hour every day.
On the other hand, keep in mind that the space where they are free to exercise is rat-proofed. They can obviously slide through almost anything and also chew almost anything. Keep any door, window and crack closed. Keep plants, electric cables and anything that could be dangerous for them away.
Your Dumbo rat pet is just as playful and active as the top-eared rats and he or she will enjoy rat toys and anything that is fun and exciting. A rat cage should never be simple, but built with several tunnels, platforms, bars and even ropes. An exercise wheel could be fun, as long as it’s solid enough for them.
You can choose special rat toys that are more complex or create some homemade toys, from rope, wood or paper. Even simple paper bags or cardboard items can be fun toys for Dumbo rats. Avoid buying plastic ones, as your little rat would destroy them quite fast. Wooden ones are preferable, such as blocks of wood. Also, try to alternate toys for your rat, in order to avoid boredom.
Dumbo rat health
Rats generally have a low lifespan. As a domesticated breed, Dumbo rats live longer than wild rats and can live for 2 to 3 years, if they are properly cared for. Make sure to keep them either in same-sex pairs or groups, in a large and clean cage, with proper food and water. If you keep them away from possible dangers and avoid any forbidden food, they should live a healthy life.
Rats that are kept in clean cages do not smell and are some of the cleanest pets. Never squeeze them or hold them by the tail. Make sure children handle them with care, as well. Preventive care is essential for Dumbo rats, as it is difficult and expensive to provide medical care for these tiny pets.