When it comes to pet rats, there are many different types and colors to choose from but one of my favorite colorations is the Husky Rat. The husky rat, also known as the Roan, is a rat that’s easily distinguished from other rat types because of its markings that are similar to those of a husky.
In this post, we’re going to put the husky rat in the spotlight and go over everything you need to know about this particular rat. I will discuss their lifespan, their size, their diet, whether they’re good pets, and much more. Let’s dig in!
What is a husky rat?
A husky rat refers to a specific rat coloration. The husky is born solid, but as they grow older, they change in color. Once they’re about 4 to 6 weeks in age they will start “Roaning” which means that there will be an increase of white hairs that are intermingled with the colored hairs. This process is caused by a recessive gene and gives them a very unique appearance that is kind of similar to that of a husky, hence the name. Take a look at the picture above to get an idea of what they look like once the roaning process has completed.
The “roaning” process takes quite a while to complete, often the rats are well into adulthood before the process is finished in its entirety.
It’s unclear where exactly the husky rat originated from but most people claim that it comes from Eastern Europe or Russia. This rodent is particularly popular in Europe but recently has gotten more attention in the United States as well.
The husky rat is also known as the Roan rat and these names are used interchangeably. These are two names for the same rat, in Europe, the name “husky” is more commonly used while American breeders often use the name “roan”.
It’s also important to understand that the husky rat is not a distinct breed. Just like other pet rats, such as the dumbo or the white rat, it’s a Rattus Norvegicus and thus part of the same breed as any other Fancy Rat.
Husky Rat Lifespan
Because husky rats aren’t a different breed than regular fancy rats they do not have a shorter or longer lifespan. In other words, their lifespan is the same as that of a regular pet rat – around 1.5 to 3 years.
You can extend their lifespan by giving them a healthy diet, a good living space, and regular vet check-ups, but since rats naturally do not have a very long lifespan they will never become very old which is something you need to be prepared for when you’re adopting one of these animals into your home.
How big do husky rats get?
Since Roans are simply a different coloration of the Fancy Rat, husky rats are on average the same size as regular fancy rats – around 9 to 11 inches + a tail of 7 to 9 inches for a total size from nose to tail of 16 to 20 inches with males being slightly larger on average.
Male husky rats weigh around 450 to 650 grams while females weigh around 350-450 grams.
Husky Rat care
Since Husky Rats aren’t any different from other kinds of pet rats, the way you care for a husky rat the same way that you care for any other rat. I’ve written a guide that teaches you the most important things about caring for pet rats which you can find here but I’ll also go over some of the basics here.
Husky Rat Diet
Rats are omnivores so they can benefit from eating both plants and meat.
The diet of the husky rat is the same as that of other rats. The majority of their daily food intake should come from pellets with a smaller amount coming from fresh fruits and veggies.
A good general rule to keep in mind is that about 80% of their daily food intake should come from commercial pellets and the remaining 20% from fresh fruits and veggies. You can also feed them a piece of meat, fish, or chicken occasionally as a treat.
Rats are not very picky eaters and can eat many different kinds of food which makes it a lot of fun to experiment with their food to see what they like and dislike. Keep in mind though that some foods are unhealthy or can even be dangerous. Always make sure to do your research before you feed them a new kind of food to find out if they can safely eat it. You can find a good list of what rats can and cannot eat here.
Playing, bonding, exercising
Rats are intelligent and active animals. Because of that, you need to play with them and provide them with toys so they can stimulate their mind and body. If you do not do this, they’ll easily become bored and can even become destructive.
A good way to stimulate your husky rat, both mentally and physically, is by taking them out of their cage and playing with them. This is also a great way to bond with your pet rat.
When you take your rats out of their cage it’s important that you keep an eye on them because, just like most rodents, they like to chew on things and it can happen that they chew on the wrong things such as electrical cords which can have disastrous results.
If you’re not around or do not have the time to play with your rats, then toys are a decent way to keep them stimulated and occupied. Pet shops and online retailers have tons of different toys available for pet rats. Click here to find my top 7 favorite rat toys. However, while toys are a decent way to keep them busy for a while, it’s not a substitute for taking them out of their cage and playing with them.
The last thing I’d like to note is that it’s very important that you know that husky rats, just like all rats, have teeth that grow perpetually. Therefore, it’s crucial that they have access to chewing toys 24/7 to grind down their teeth. If they do not have access to chewing toys to grind down their teeth it can result in problems such as malocclusion.
Husky rats for sale
If you’re interested in adopting one of these beautiful rats then you might be wondering where you can purchase one. Since husky rats are more popular in Europe than in the United States they’re easier to find in Europe, sometimes they’re even available in pet stores if you’re lucky!
In the United States, you might have to look a little harder but it should still be quite easy to find a husky rat for sale. Many breeders such as OnceUponAMischief have husky rat lines available (tip: if you’re in the US and looking for a husky rat breeder try searching for a breeder that sells roans instead because this term is more commonly used in the United States).
You can also try to use sites like Petfinder or ask around at an animal shelter to see if they have any husky/roan rats available for adoption.
On average, expect to spend around $40 for a single husky rat or $60 for a pair. You should also keep in mind the other costs of owning a pet rat. Recurring costs such as food, vet costs, and bedding are around $50 per month. Your rats also need a place to live, so don’t forget to budget for expenses such as their cage and toys. To get a more complete idea of what it costs to own a pet rat, check out my cost breakdown here.