Dumbo rats are scientifically known as Rattus norvegicus. Although there is no definite record of the first dumbo rat, many people believe that dumbo rats originated from north-west of the United States. This species of rats is different from other types of rats in that that ears are protruding. Perhaps dumbo rats derived their name from their ears being slightly lower on their heads; their ears stick out sideward at some distance from their cheeks. Dumbo rats come in various colors, and this is serves as the basis to classify them. Thus, there are blue dumbo, Siamese dumbo, curly-coat dumbo(Dumbo rex rat), and black dumbo. Dumbo rats are rodents, similar to other mammals, including chinchillas, hamsters, and guinea pigs. Male dumbo rats are slightly larger and heavier than their female counterparts. In general, dumbo rats are cute, intelligent animals, and are easy to tame and teach different tricks and behaviors.
Nutrition and Health Aspects of Dumbo Rats
Foods for Dumbo rats include lean meat, rat pellets, fruits, vegetables, and beans. Essentially, rat pellets are what dumbo rats depend upon. In other words, rat pellets make up the largest proportion of the entire dumbo rat feeds. However, dumbo rats also feed on green vegetables like other rats and rodents. Vegetables provide vitamins and minerals to dumbos. Vegetables are also rich in antioxidants which are beneficial to dumbos. They also enjoy fresh fruits especially when this is given to them as treats on occasions. Just as for rabbits and other rodents, fruits are the main source of vitamin C for dumbo rats. Giving seed mixes to dumbos should be avoided because they will only eat their favorites from the mix and leave the remainder. Cereals and grains should also be fed to dumbos but should not be more than once or twice per week. Foods rich in protein, including bland chicken and scrambled eggs, should be included regularly in the diets of dumbo rats. Proteins are essential for dumbo rats for building new tissues and for repair of worn-out tissues. In addition, different brands of pellets and seeds contain fibers that helps to aid digestion and support dumbos’ digestive system. Seeds and pellets also contain carbohydrate which provides needed energy for dumbos. Young dumbo rats should be fed 2 or 3 times per day but the feeding should reduce to only once per day when they grow to adults.
Even though dumbo rats require adequate nutrition for effective performance and productivity, their feeding should be regulated to avoid unwanted, worrisome conditions. Conditions that may become a concern for dumbo owners include diabetes and obesity. Diabetes may develop from excess sugar in dumbo feeds especially fruits with high sugar contents. In addition, dumbo rats may develop obesity when they are overfed with higher carbohydrate than they require. Feeding is the most likely cause of health concerns in dumbos although infections may also develop, resulting from handling and cuddling because dumbos enjoy love and embrace. It is vital to seek veterinarian’s assistance when health concerns arise.
Breeding of Dumbo Rats
Reproduction of dumbo rats is quite simple, perhaps simpler than for other species of rats and by extension, other rodents. To breed dumbo rats, all that a dumbo owner needs do is to introduce a male dumbo into the space of a female dumbo. No special tactics or cajoling is required. As a norm, a male dumbo should not be introduced into the space of a female dumbo as this may result in terrible fightingor sometimes, death as in the American lop rabbitreference. Usually, a female dumbo should be about 5 months old before it is brought into contact with a mature male for mating. This procedure is to be sure that the female dumbo will be able to go through the reproduction process without any complication; and does not mean that female dumbo cannot be mated at a younger age. Female dumbo who is ready for mating will normally display signs that will inform a male dumbo to come close. Gestation period in rats in typically 22 days. A pregnant female dumbo needs nutritious diet, extra nesting material, and exercise. At delivery, a pregnant female may give birth to as many as 20 kittens per litter although average number of kittens per litter is 6-13 kittens; and an adult female dumbo can produce about 6 litters per year. Kittens are born hairless, blind, toothless, and with short tails and limbs. Dumbos are really very prolific. A dumbo should be removed from female a few days to the expected date of the delivery of new babies to avoid killing of kittens. Young dumbos can be weaned at about 4 weeks old. During weaning, male dumbos should be removed from their mother while female dumbo may be left to remain with their mother in the cage.
Caring for Dumbo Rats
Dumbo rats are naturally active, agile, adventurous animals. Thus, they may not require extravagant care. Their main care concerns their feeding and shelter. In general, dumbo rats, just like Abyssinian pigsreference, require a tidy, spacious shelter for optimal productivity, although their space need may be relatively smaller than that of Abyssinian pigs. In contrast, however, dumbo rats require multi-level shelter, preferably a tank, because they enjoy to climb and explore. Wire tank is ideal but the strings and bars should be close together as not to allow dumbos to make its way out of the tank. In addition, a solid surface, made of a recyclable material such as a newspaper or aspen shaving, should be used to cover the floor of the tank. Also, cedar or pine shaving should not be used on the tank floor because they release toxic gases that can dumbos to fall sick. Also, it is vital to keep dumbos’ tanks clean daily.
Dumbo rats are small or medium-sized animals. And because they are easy-to-tame, intelligent, social animals, many people prefer to keep them as pets. However, in a few places, across the world, dumbos are forbidden for the reason of their high breeding rate. Despite this, dumbo rats are doubtless one of the best maintenance-friendly pets.