White Rats: 8 Amazing Facts & Pictures You Must See

White rats are very beautiful and make excellent pets. However, there are many people who have questions about white rats, and this is understandable.

People often wonder if white rats cost more, if they’re found in the wild, or if a white rat is the same as an albino. I’m here to help and I will answer all those questions (and more).

White is not the most common color for rats. They’re more often found in black or brown so it’s very normal to be curious about questions such as these.

In this post, I’m going to go over everything you need to know about white rats so that you will finally have all your questions answered once and for all!

about white rats as pets

8 Facts About White Rats

1. White Rats are not a distinct species

Wikieditor019, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

White rats are the same species as other colors of pet rats – they’re all part of the Rattus Norvegicus (Norwegian Rat). The Rattus Norvegicus is also known as the Fancy Rat. Now, when you hear fancy rat you might imagine a rat with a suit, top hat, monocle, and cane. While that is one definition of the word fancy, the fancy in “fancy rat” comes from animal fancy which is a hobby involving the appreciation, promotion, or breeding of pet or domestic animals.

Some people believe that white rats are a different breed, but this is not the case. Rats come in many different color variations, but they’re all part of the same species.

2. They are quite rare in the wild

a picture of a white rat in the grass

By far the most common color of wild rats is brown and black. The reason why they’re usually brown or black is that white makes them stand out more and therefore an easier target for predators.

However, white rats and albinos do appear in the wild. They are quite rare, and usually have a less ‘clean’ white color than domesticated rats that are specifically bred for this trait.

3. White rats are excellent pets

White rats make excellent pets. Rats in general are very good animals to keep as pets, and since white rats generally do not differ from other colored rats in behavior and care they’re equally good to have as pets.

Now, notice that I say white rats generally do not differ in behavior from other colored rats. The reason why I say that they generally do not exhibit different behavior is that there are some differences. White rats are usually more friendly and less skittish. The reason for this is not because of the color of their coat, but rather because black rats are more common and therefore bred less carefully.

On the whole, white rats are quite low maintenance, cheap, easy to care for, and very affectionate. On top of that, they’re incredibly intelligent. They can learn tricks, recognize their owner, and play games with toys.

To learn more about keeping a rat as a pet, I highly recommend you check out this article. Furthermore, I suggest you check out these common rat behaviors.

4. Lab rats are white to preserve the scientific integrity

It’s an odd discrepancy – most of the rats you see in the wild are brown or black, yet almost all the lab rats that are used in experiments are white. What gives?

The reason for this is that there is a lot of inbreeding when it comes to laboratory rats which results in them all having the same coloration. They do this because they want the rats to be as genetically close to one another as possible to ensure that the results of their experiments are not affected by differences in genetics.

It just so happens that the coloration they chose to go with is white a long time ago. Since the experiments that have been done a long time ago are sometimes replicated to see how the results hold up, they still use white rats because otherwise the results might be affected by differing genetics.

5. They can be a little more expensive than other colors

You might wonder if white rats are more expensive than their brown or black counterparts. The answer is that it depends on where you buy your rat.

If you buy your rat from a pet store they will probably all have the same price, whereas breeders sometimes charge different prices for different colorations and breeding lines. This varies from breeder to breeder.

On the whole, you can expect to pay about $30 for a white rat if you buy one from a rattery while at a pet shop they will usually cost around $10. It’s suggested to get one from a breeder because they’re usually better cared for, less skittish, and more friendly.

6. They have the same lifespan as every other Fancy Rat

White rats have the same lifespan as other colored fancy rats. They live around 2-3 years in captivity and usually less than a year in the wild.

The reason why they live so much longer in captivity is that they have access to better food, shelter, and medical care.

Also, since you’re there to protect them, they do not have to worry about predators.

7. White rats are not the same as albinos

Nope! People often believe that white rats are albinos but this is not necessarily the case. It’s true that all albino rats are white, but not all white rats are albino.

The difference is in the eyes. If a rat has pink eyes then it’s an albino. If the eyes are black, then it’s not an albino but rather a white rat.

Also, did you know that the pink eye color of albino rats is not actually color but rather a lack of color? Since albino rats lack pigmentation they do not have color in their eyes and you can see their blood vessels which give albinos their pink-colored eyes.

Albino rats also have weaker eyesight and because of this they often sway back and forth when walking, they do this to better judge the distance between themselves and the object they’re looking at.

8. You can give them cool names!

If you’re thinking about getting a white rat as a pet or already have one and are struggling to find a fitting name, let me help you out with some suggestions!

  • Snowball
  • Snow White
  • Artic
  • Glacial
  • Icy
  • Alaska
  • Aspen
  • Polar
  • Blizzard
  • Casper
  • Coconut
  • Cream
  • Crystal
  • Diamond
  • Gandalf
  • Ivory
  • Luna
  • Pearl
  • Mint
  • Sparkle
  • Yeti

Final words

Unlike what many people think, white rats are not albinos, nor are they a distinct breed. They’re simply a different color variation of the fancy rat!

They’re excellent as pets and are quite highly desired for their uniquely colored coats.

ThePetFaq Team