Manx Rat - Origin, Characteristics, Feeding and Care

Manx Rat: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. Rodents represent a fairly diverse group of mammals and are...

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Rodents are a fairly diverse group of mammals and are found throughout much of the world. Depending on the species, they can either have terrestrial, subterranean, semi-aquatic or arboreal habits. Among the different families that make up the order, we have the Muridae, which include different types of rats and mice. Although it may seem less usual, the rat has been domesticated for many years and is part of the pet group. From the species known as the brown or common rat (Rattus norvegicus), some varieties of these rodents have emerged and spread as pets.However, it is important to understand that a rat, like any other animal, also needs care and attention, and should never be confined to a cage 24 hours a day or it will not be happy.

One of the most peculiar and popular varieties is the Manx rat, characterized by the absence of a tail. This is why, in this PlanèteAnimal file, we invite you to discover all the characteristics of the Manx rat!

Happy reading!


  • America
  • Europe
  • United States
  • United Kingdom

Origins of the Manx Rat

Rodents such as rats and mice have been widely used for scientific research over the years, a use that is at the center of debate due to the suffering of these small animals. This is why it is essential to continue research to implement alternatives to animal testing.

Tailless rats have been around since 1915, when they were produced from a mutation obtained in a laboratory in the United States. Then, in the mid-1980s, studies again reported tailless rats appearing in several litters, and from there, tailless rats became more common. It has also been mentioned in different documents that English breeders, around the aforementioned date, obtained rats without a tail, however, it is unclear if they are related to those born in early 1900.

On the other hand, in 1983, rats were imported from England to the United States and in 1984, a litter was born in the United States in which there was a female without a tail. This is the first recognition of this variety and it is thought that this is probably the moment when the official breeding of this type of rodent with the particularity of not having a tail began.

Although the aforementioned breeding did not develop successfully, due to some he alth problems initially associated with these rats, over the following years individuals with this trait continued to be born and, as they were he althy, the Manx variety was officially standardized in November 1993.

Manx Rat Characteristics

The distinguishing feature of the Manx rat is the total absence or weak formation of the tail, which comes from a recessive genetic mutation that produces this congenital effect, that is, during the formation of the embryo, this member does not develop. In this sense, Manx rats are characterized by the fact that they are born without the vertebrae that are arranged in the tail, in addition, the sacral and lumbar vertebrae can also be modified. When this happens, the posterior area where the pelvic girdle sits sinks in, giving the animal a rounded shape.

This is the peculiarity of these rodents, which is why, in terms of color, coat or size, they can be variable, without any particular condition in this regard. So they can be gray, gray and white or gray and black among many other combinations. However, over time, breeders have established certain parameters for this breed, such as attractive colors, smaller sizes, and sturdy bodies, but at PlanetAnimal we do not support the breeding of these animals solely for the purpose of exhibition and marketing.

Manx rat character

Domestic rats differ from wild rats in character, as the latter are generally more aggressive and they can usually react suddenly to certain stimuli or if they feel in danger. In particular, the Manx rat tends to be outgoing, playful, inquisitive and very familiar with its human family, with which it develops a pleasant relationship and may even show displays of affection such as licking.

If the Manx rat lives with other types of rats, the behavioral distinction can be clearly noticed, as he is usually the dominant rat in the group due to his strong character.

Manx Rat Care and Feeding

The brown rats that give rise to the domesticated varieties originated in Asia, but later spread to Europe and then to every continent except Antarctica. These animals therefore have a great capacity for adaptation.However, this is not quite the case with the Manx variety and we will now see why.

Even if they are at home, it is very important to provide rats with a suitable habitat so that they are happy. When it comes to Manx rat care, two factors, in addition to cage conditions, are very important to consider. On the one hand, rodents are characterized by the continuous growth of their incisors, so it is necessary for the Manx rat to have an object inside the cage or outside to gnaw its teeth. Also, rats use their tails to balance themselves and to regulate their body temperature when the ambient temperature rises. In this sense, without this limb, the Manx can be more easily affected by heat stress, so it is essential to regulate this aspect in the environment.

Manx rat cage

Like all pets, the Manx needs appropriate living conditions.In general, pet rodents are kept in cages to prevent them from escaping and to protect them from other animals, but it is essential to understand that the cage should only be used as a shelter or place of safety, and not of living space. Rats, like all animals, need to move freely, walk, run, and ultimately exercise. In a space as limited as a cage, this is impossible. The cage should therefore be as spacious as possible so that they are comfortable and have enough space to move around. The incorporation of wheels, structure and shelter objects are appropriate to make the space more viable for the animal. However, items intended for exercise and amusement may also be placed outside the cage.

Once the cage is installed, it is advisable to cover the bottom with a natural substrate, such as corn chips, pressed sawdust pellets or wood chips, but which must not be pine, cedar or poplar.You should also not use cat litter. The cage should also contain a food bowl and a water bowl, which should always be full.

Manx Food

Like all rats, the Manx is omnivorous, so it has a varied diet which can be based on good quality or preferably more natural foods such as eggs, fruits, vegetables, seeds and animal proteins. Although these animals love cheese, it is important not to give them too much because it is not the best thing for them. Therefore, it can be used as an occasional treat. Find out all about rat feeding!

Rats are commonly thought to feed on garbage, which is the case with those living on the streets. However, we must not give our companion food that is in poor condition, as it may harm his he alth.

Enrichment of the environment

The ideal being to prepare a space made for your Manx rat, inside and outside the cage, you will have to place different resources to keep him mentally and physically stimulated. These can be wheels, tunnels, rat-specific toys, as well as structures of different heights.

Manx Rat He alth

Early tailless rat litters, in addition to this trait, developed certain problems such as bladder and bowel incontinence, often had deformed hind legs, were sterile, or in the case of females that were pregnant , had difficulty bearing offspring. In this context, the question of whether this variety of rats should continue to be bred has been debated for some time, as it was ethically inappropriate to breed animals under such conditions.

This is why the exposure of these rats during demonstrations has been prohibited, because these complications are detrimental to the well-being of these rodents.Over time, these aspects were controlled and today there is a greater breeding of these perfectly he althy animals. However, it is always advisable to consult a veterinarian in case of he alth problems of the animal. Similarly, it is always advisable to sterilize your rat.

Manx rat: curiosities

" The name Manx is associated with a cat originating from the British Isle of Man, which has a mutation resulting in the absence of a tail or the presence of a very short tail. In this sense, in English Manx is the name of the inhabitants of the island, so this cat without a tail is known as the Manx cat. So, with the appearance of a rat without a tail, the name manx was adopted for these rodents."

Pictures of Rat Manx

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