Differentiating Between Wild and Domesticated Rats
One of the many services provided here at Antworks is rodent control. Small and tenacious, wild rats can wreak havoc on your home, destroying your house interior and leaving droppings. To those that are unfamiliar with rats, there may seem to be little difference between the wild rats we provide rodent control services for, and the domestic (fancy) rats that people buy in pet stores. The inability to distinguish between the two types can sometimes lead to ambivalent attitudes toward the animal and how to approach a rodent infestation. Those who are rat enthusiasts might feel a sense of fondness toward a wild rat they find in the home and start perceiving it as a “pet.” However, domestic rats greatly vary from their wild counterparts much in the same way that domestic dogs differ from wild dogs you would find in the savannahs. Though the two may appear the same due to visual similarities, there are distinct behavioral differences between a wild rat and fancy rat that vastly differentiate the two. Understanding how the two differ not only helps to delineate wild rats from fancy rats, but also clarifies why a wild rat cannot be perceived or dealt with like a domesticated rat and necessitates rodent control services.
Unlike fancy rats, wild rats are not naturally sociable with humans. Wild rats may take scraps that are offered or dropped, but any attempts by a human to establish contact will be perceived as a threat and the rat will flee. Fancy rats are more docile and receptive to human affection. Though fancy rats can become feralized if left out in the wild for a long time, they are more likely to come toward you versus immediate scampering off.
In general, a wild rat will either be a varied shade of brown with a lighter brown underbelly, or solid black with a white underbelly. Fancy rats come in a much broader variety of colors: white, cinnamon, peach, tan, brown, black, and greys. Just like you would see far more colors represented in domestic cats than you would in wild cats, fancy rats are far more colorful than their wild counterparts.
A wild rat will puff up its fur in your presence, seeing you as a threat. On the other hand, you will rarely see a fancy rat with its fur standing on end. The only exceptions to this are if the fancy rat happens to have wavy fur, is scared, or is cold.
Size & Shape
Wild rats are streamlined for survival, which means they tend to look more sleek and lean. Because wild rats also have a much shorter life span, they rarely reach their maximum size of about twelve inches. Because of this fact, wild rats generally appear to be smaller than fancy rats. On the other hand, fancy rats tend to be somewhat on the pudgy side, and you will often see rolls and contours. It is also more common to see fancy rats reach the maximum twelve inches in length.
Posture and Stance
Wild rats are always on the move. Unless the wild rat is ill, you will likely see them standing on all fours, back partially arched, as if to leap forward. Fancy rats, however, rarely stand on all fours. Even when nervous, fancy rats are more likely to be seen sniffing around rather than prepping to pounce.
So though they may appear similar, major differences in behavior and temperament vastly differentiate wild rats from fancy rats. Because they are more fearful and much less friendly, a wild rat cannot be treated the same way you would a fancy rat. Just as fancy rats are not adapted to live in the wild, wild rats are not adaptive to becoming pets. Wild rats will become extremely stressed when forced into confined spaces and often experience lower lifespans as a result. Even wild rats that are raised from birth by humans lack the domesticated qualities that would make them good pets. So if you see a wild rat in your home, don’t hesitate to call rodent control. Though they may look like the cute fancy rats you see in stores, a wild rat infestation cannot be treated as harmless and left to idle. If you have a rat infestation in your home, call Antworks to provide rodent control in Vancouver, WA.