Rattus norvegicus domestica
The fancy rat, also known as the domestic rat, is the domesticated form of the brown rat — a wild species currently found on every continent except Antarctica. Evidence suggests fancy rats were originally bred for companionship and display in 16th century Japan. Rats rose in popularity in Europe slightly later, in the 18th century, primarily for use in terrier hunting competitions. Fancy rats now sit comfortably among the most popular pets worldwide.
Fancy rats are quite distinct from their wild relatives. These intelligent and social rodents sometimes suffer from a negative reputation, but the average domestic rat poses no greater health risk to humans than any other domestic animal.
Lindsay Wildlife is home to two fancy rats – Sugar and Spice.These sisters came to us from Rattie Ratz Rescue in 2021. Sugar and Spice live in our What’s Wild What’s Not exhibit where they help teach the public about proper pet care as well as the important differences between pets and wild animals. You’ll often find them investigating their enrichment, grooming each other, and running through the tube connecting the sections of their enclosure.