Blue rat belonging to Danielle Matthews
The fancy rat or pet rat is a domesticated breed of the Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus). The name "fancy rat" has nothing to do with the "fanciness" of their appearance but derives from the meaning of "to fancy." Thus, one who keeps pet rats is said to be involved in "rat fancy."
Pet rats live on average 2-5 years, though the oldest rat on record - a lab rat called Rodney - reached a purported age of 7 years and 4 months according to the 1995 Guinness Book of Records. Bucks (male rats) reach an average weight of between 400g and 800g, while does (female rats) can average between 250g and 450g. Female rats are generally more active and playful, whereas bucks are more likely to enjoy falling asleep on your lap.
The origin of the modern fancy rat is probably the rat-catchers of the late 19th century who trapped rats and were paid by town governments per rat, and who also kept certain rats for exhibition/gambling fights. They began breeding rats (possibly to collect more money from the towns, or because it was easier than catching new ones all the time), and became attached to some as they discovered how intelligent and trainable rats can be. One of the most famous of these rat catchers was Jack Black, ratcatcher to Queen Victoria, who became known for breeding and selling pet rats around 1840-1860. Rats became more and more domesticated and people enjoyed them since they are easily bred, social and intelligent pets. The first rat show was held in 1901 in England. Beatrix Potter, author of the "Peter Rabbit" series of children's books, had a white pet rat of which she was very fond. Ratkeeping grew in popularity in the 1970s, leading to the formation of the British National Fancy Rat Society in 1976.
Must See Movie for Rat Lovers
Plot Outline: An Irish woman becomes furious when her husband arrives home from the local pub and turns into a rat.
Quote: "A Plum Pudding is for Christmas, a rat is for life."