Thursday, February 19, 2015

How to Care for a Hairless Rat

Hairless rats, also known as naked rats in the rat community have no hair on them so they need some special care taken with their exposed skin. Their skin may appear wrinkled or a little bumpy but will feel much like human skin. If you've decided to adopt a hairless rat there are some things to consider before getting one since they do require special care in the areas of skin treatment, temperature and housing.

Skin Care
Because hairless rats don't have fur to protect their skin from the everyday scratches and cuts they might get by being walked on or playing with other rats, you may have to keep all the rats nails clipped to prevent more scratches.

The exposed skin of hairless rats may dry out just as mine or yours does and in their case you can rub a tiny amount of extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil on them to keep their skin moisturized. You should apply the oil with your own hands as this is the most effective way of making sure it gets in all the right places and it also acts as a bonding time for you and your rat since they love to be petted. The oil can be applied once a week even if your hairless rat isn't having a dry skin problem, it's a good preventative measure to keep them from getting dry skin and it keeps their skin soft. Soft healthy skin is less likely to suffer scratches so easily. Extra virgin olive oil is natural and won't harm your rat if they lick it off.

Since a hairless rat doesn't have that extra layer of fur to keep them warm, they will need bedding, houses and cozy places to hide out and sleep especially in the winter time or in rooms where air conditioners are running. Because they can get scratches very easily, bedding such a wood shavings, hard pellets and newspaper are not suitable bedding. Newspaper has dye that can rub on onto them and it's not absorbent enough to keep urine from staying wet which can cause rashes and infections for hairless rats.

The best thing to line the rat cages with is fleece blankets or material. The soft fleece will not irritate their skin and is nice and soft for them to lay on. It's also good to cut pieces of fleece big enough to put inside their houses for them to cuddle under and rearrange the way they want to. Some people will use CareFresh bedding and while this is a really good bedding for rats that have fur it's not ideal for Hairless rats because small particles of the bedding can end up in their eyes, under their eye lids which will lead to a veterinarian visit to flush the eyes out. Hairless rats don't have eyelashes to keep small particles of bedding material out so it's up to you to make sure you use the proper bedding for them. It's a good idea to wipe your rats face and eyes with a damp baby washcloth each day. This will remove any dust, sleep gunk or anything else that may have accumulated on their face or around their eyes.

Hairless rats have a higher metabolism and need a little extra protein in their diets. So things like boiled eggs, chicken, turkey, beef and dog kibble high in protein are all good sources of protein. They only need a little extra since they are small animals but it's good to keep this in mind. A hairless rat will eat more in order to keep their body temperatures up. They will also drink more water and therefore urinate more so their cage may need to be cleaned more often.

Hairless rats make great pets, I have one myself. They may take a little extra care but they repay you with love, cuddles and rattie kisses.