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African Soft-Furred Rat: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

African soft-furred rat facts for kids are interesting.

There are more than 60 species of rats in the world and the African soft-furred rat is a member of this family. The African soft-furred rat is commonly raised by reptile hobbyists since these rats are food for their pet snakes. Hobbyists feed their snakes frozen feeder mice which is a convenient way to feed them. African soft-furred rats are known for how rapidly they breed and this is beneficial for those who use them as prey for their reptile pets. They can also be raised as pets, although this is rare.

African soft fur rats are popularly known as 'miracle food' which help to grow healthier reptiles. These soft fur rats are primarily omnivores and feed on mealworms and vegetables, seeds, and other food. African soft fur rats are classified as a Least Concern species by the IUCN (International Union For Conservation Of Nature).

For more relatable content, check out our fact files on the rice rat and the kangaroo rats.

African Soft Furred Rat Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an African soft-furred rat?

The African soft fur rat belongs to the kingdom Animalia and order Rodentia.

What class of animal does an African soft-furred rat belong to?

The African soft-furred rat is a rat that belongs to the class Mammalia, family Muridae, and genus Mastomys.

How many African soft-furred rats are there in the world?

The African soft-furred rat exact population is not evaluated. However, the population of common rats is estimated to be around billions. They are known to breed rapidly so their populations remain quite stable.

Where does an African soft-furred rat live?

African soft-furred rats live in forests and deserts in the wild. They are also bred in captivity where they have usually been raised in cages or an aquarium. They are predominantly seen in Sub-Saharan Africa. They have been introduced into North America recently, but they are not endemic.

What is an African soft-furred rat's habitat?

An African soft-furred rat's habitat constitutes forests and deserts in the wild. They are also bred in captivity where they are usually raised in cages or an aquarium. Breeders breed them to feed their pet reptiles such as snakes, including ball pythons. Breeding them as pets is a rare occurrence, although they are capable of being tamed through training.

Who does African soft-furred rat live with?

African soft-furred rats live together in groups and they are seldom seen alone. In the wild, they coexist with other species. African soft fur rats can be tamed to live around people as well. However, they need to be kept in cages or an aquarium with a solid lid so they do not escape.  

How long does an African soft-furred rat live?

An African soft-furred rat lifespan is estimated to be around three years. The oldest rat in the world was Rodney, a domesticated rat, who was seven years and four months old before he passed away.  

How do they reproduce?

African soft-furred rat breeding is simple. Keeping a male and female together is enough for breeding to occur. Males and females reach sexual maturity by the age of two to three months. They ovulate every four days and give birth to a new litter every three to four weeks. The gestation period lasts 21 days and they may have six to 22 babies per litter. Young African soft fur rats need to be kept close to their parents. If they are removed before they are weaned fully, it may cause physical stress to the baby and stunt its growth.

What is their conservation status?

African soft fur rats are classified as a Least Concern species by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN).

African Soft Furred Rat Fun Facts

What does an African soft-furred rat look like?

African soft fur rats are small to medium-sized rats with a soft fur coat. Their fur coat is yellowish to brownish-gray with whitish underparts. They resemble mice, however they are rats.  Mice are a completely separate species, although they belong to the rodent family. An African soft furred rat has a long tail and four feet with small claws. Their face is relatively small compared to their body with a small nose and two eyes. They have a few whiskers, although these can only be seen if you look very closely.  They have a small mouth with sturdy teeth which they use to bite through their food and also use in an attack as a form of defense. They have two rounded ears on either side of their face.

An African soft fur rat is small to a medium-sized rat that looks similar to a mouse.
* Please note this is the image of a brown rat, not an African soft-furred rat. If you have an image of an African soft-furred rat, please let us know at [email protected]

How cute are they?

A soft-furred African rat is a cute rodent species appearance-wise. However, this should not deceive you since they are known to bite if not tamed.

How do they communicate?

They are largely silent beings compared to various other animals. When they do communicate, it's usually through pheromones and ultrasonic vocalizations. When raised in captivity, some rats are known to communicate to humans via grunts or squeaks.

How big is an African soft-furred rat?

An African soft-furred rat is 4.7 in (12 cm) in length, which is five times bigger than the smallest rodent in the world, the pygmy jerboa which measures 1.6 in (4 cm).  

How fast can an African soft-furred rat run?

African soft-furred rats are rodents with natural speed for movement. They control their speed depending on their need. Black rats are considered to be the most dangerous rat species and household pests.

How much does an African soft-furred rat weigh?

African soft-furred rodents weigh 1.5 oz (42 g). Northern Luzon giant cloud rodents are considered to be the largest rat in the world, weighing 5.7 lb (2.6 kg). Adults are usually fed to ball pythons and other reptiles as they are a source of good quality meat.  

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males rats are called bucks, and females rats are called does. In most instances, females tend to be smaller in size and more active than males, who are generally bigger in size. They also differ in reproductive functions.

What would you call a baby African soft-furred rat?

African soft-furred rats are called pups or kittens. The young pups or kittens are completely dependent on their parents in the initial few months and need their care. Their growth can be hampered otherwise.

What do they eat?

These rodents are primarily omnivores and feed on mealworms, vegetables, and seeds. They can be fed any vegetables, including carrots or beans. These rodents need access to food and water at all times when raised in captivity. In the wild, these rodents fetch food and other requirements by themselves. Predators to rodents include reptiles like a ball python or any other snake which feeds on rats. They are considered a good quality source of protein for raising healthy reptiles.  

Are they dangerous?

Yes, they are known to bite so it is best to maintain a distance while observing them. These rodents are usually bred to be fed to ball pythons and other reptiles.

Would they make a good pet?

These rodents are not ideally kept as pets, however, they are raised by reptile hobbyists since they are  good quality meat for reptile pets. African soft-furred rat breeders are few in number. When raised,  they can be fed mealworms, vegetables, and seeds. Rats should not be fed food items like chocolate, caffeine, sweet potato, raw beans, or wild insects.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

Aside from just being bred as food for reptiles, these rats have also been used in lab experiments, including stomach cancers, spontaneous tumors, and diseases like Lassa fever.

A group of rats is called a mischief.

Can African soft-furred rats live with fancy rats?

No, they cannot be placed with fancy rats. The primary reasons are that these rodents have only been domesticated recently and still have wild instincts. Secondly, these rats are primarily raised to be sold as food for reptile owners. Lastly, owing to their wild instincts, they can be aggressive, nervous, or excited.  

Do African soft fur rats smell?

African soft fur rats have little or no smell. The African soft fur rat is capable of being raised as a pet and being tamed as well.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Virginia opossum facts and langur monkey facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable African soft-furred rat coloring pages.

* Please note the main image is of a brown rat, not an African soft-furred rat. If you have an image of an African soft-furred rat, please let us know at [email protected]

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