This article is from the Winter 1998 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Carissa Cosley
Tailless Rats. They were first unique, at best strange. They have been very popular and that is why I am writing.
I have been breeding rats and mice for many years. I became very interested in the Tailless, but before I got my first one I looked all over for information about the cute little guys. I couldn’t find anything on Tailless rats in books, or any other publications, so I started asking breeders questions. I still didn’t get a lot of answers. Now, after quite a bit of time I have my own answers, information, and different theories about Tailless rats, and I would like to share a little about them with you.
Tailless rats can be any color. The most common are Black, Blue, Siamese, Champagne, and Agouti, but you can breed them in any color if you try. Tailless rats are distinctive in their total absence of a tail and their rounder, cobbier body.
When Breeding Tailless rats, it is important to take into consideration the age, size, condition, type, conformation, color, and true Taillessness of your rat or rats. If you look for those few things when breeding, you will have better Tailless kittens. If you are breeding Tailless, or plan to breed them, here are a few things to think of first.
Tailless rats are a genetic mutation. Take into consideration that the reason they are Tailless is due to a defect. Because you are breeding for this defect, you have a much greater chance of having babies with more damaging defects than you would if you were breeding rats with tails. Some of these defects include limp tails, many kinds of leg and spine problems, crooked legs and feet, missing limbs, paralysis, and many others. If you breed animals with any of these problems, you will get more of the same.
I am not saying that you will always have problems when breeding Tailless rats. In fact, problems are fairly rare. It’s just something to watch out for and to breed against.
There are two kinds of breeding stock. The first type is a tailed rat which has Tailless genes behind it. It might have a Tailless mother, father, grandparents, etc. The second type is a rat which is, itself, Tailless.
My best luck so far has been breeding Tailless males to females with tails who have Tailless in their background. I breed this way because Tailless females stay smaller and most cannot carry their young full-term. Tailless females also have other skeletal abnormalities which do not help out.
Tailless females are more prone to having a very hard time in delivering their kittens. I think this is mostly because of the birthing position. Most normal tailed does sit on their haunches to give birth. Tailless rats do not have a tail to counterbalance themselves, so they cannot sit in this position for long periods of time.
There also appears to be a higher frequency of kitten paralysis and abnormalities when their mother is Tailless. You also risk a greater chance of losing your Tailless female in late pregnancy or during birthing.
For the people out there that think you have a greater chance of having Tailless kittens by breeding Tailless to Tailless, to my knowledge you don’t. You only have a greater chance of defects. You also run the risk of losing your female and her litter if she does get pregnant. Finally, often female Tailless have a hard time conceiving, and many are sterile.