Differences Between Wild And Domesticated Rats

Here are most common differences between wild and domesticated rats.


  •  Very long thin tail for balance
  • Larger feet for climbing
  • Large ears for superlative hearing
  • Larger eyes
  • Less body mass
  • Very skittish and way more nervous than domesticated ratties
  • Ability to jump long distances and climb difficult surfaces


  •  Shorter wider tail
  • Smaller feet than their wild cousins
  • Smaller ears (except for Dumbo-eared variety) than their wild cousins
  • More prone to fall off higher objects as they cannot maintain their balance as well as their wild cousins
  • Heavier body mass than their wild cousins
  • Their trust is easily won over by their human companions
  • Poor eyesight and ability to focus

Domestic rats have been genetically selected against living in the wild: e.g. that should not avoid predators (as it would be normal). This way humans (specifically researchers for the purposes of laboratory rats which is why domesticated rats were originally bred) can work with them.  Scientists have proven that by genetically selecting less agressive members of a (for example) pack of foxes and then breeding with those animals displaying less agressive behaviour, they have changed the instinctual characterestics of the animal (even hair colour changed in foxes that were selectively bred).  The specific study of selective breeding will be researched and covered in greater deal at a later date.  Please spread the word.  White rats CANNOT survive if released in the veld to live as wild rats.  People who no longer want their pet rats should not throw them out in the wild, but should rather contact their nearestSPCAor the S.A. Rat Fan Club to arrange for an adoption.