This article is from the WSSF 2011 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
Colors & Coats
By Karen Robbins
Aimee Strickland, Aimee’s Rats Nest, FL, e-mail
Q I know you developed the Satin rat—one of my favorites. I have a male I think may be Satin. I am sending you a few pictures of him to see what you think.
Will you also please take a look at a little Agouti girl for me? One thing is she is an agouti base color but not a standard agouti. I’m not sure of her color and she is super shiny and slick like glass and has a slight curl to the end of her whiskers (they are not straight). I do appreciate your time.
A The telltale sign a rat is a Satin, are the whiskers. These are kinky/wavy from birth. In none of your photos of the male do I see any sign of kinky or wavy whiskers, just a nice healthy, glossy coat. You can see a photo of the whiskers in the Satin Rat article.
A female Black Satin rat owned and bred by Mayumi Anderson. She is showing the kinky/wavy whiskers distinctive to Satins.
An 8-day-old female Satin rat. You can see how the whiskers are curled back against the head and wavy.
...and a Standard brother. You can see how the whiskers are straight out from the head and straight. Rats owned and bred by Karen Robbins.
I carefully looked at the photos of your Agouti girl on two monitors and enlarged them, and I don’t see kinky/wavy Satin whiskers. As new babies in the nest they not only have the kinky/wavy whiskers, but they tend to be against their head rather than the stand-out whiskers on Standard babies. Once the fur starts coming in you can then see the difference in coat types (Satins are very shiny compared to the normal shine on Standards, similar to Satin mice, see “Satin Rat Pics”, and www.afrma.org/c-c_chocrats.htm), plus the color on Satins will be darker than on the Standards (Blacks look blacker, Russian Blues look darker, etc.). Once they are around 3 weeks, you can really tell the Satins with their very distinct coats being finer and thinner and much shinier—sometimes they almost look greasy or long haired—their coats don’t lie smooth. Once adult they go through a “non-shiny” phase, similar to Rex where as babies Rex are really curly (the good ones, some look like little sheep), then straighten out till around 6–8 months when they start to curl back up. On Rex you generally go by what they looked like at 3 weeks as to which ones will have the better curl as adults, though that sometimes changes. On Satin adults, when they are in their “non-shiny” phase, you look at the bellies if you are not sure if they are Satin based on their top coat. At other times dark colors will be “sparkly” looking. From kitten age on, Siamese and white colors will be more yellow.
Your little Agouti female has huge eyes, looks like nice type with good width in the shoulders, nice glossy coat, and nice head. She should mature into a nice female. Agouti can range from too dark (too much black and the red not bright enough), to too washed out (the red just a brown color), to a bright red but too dark down the spine (see Agouti female), to the ideal of the rich bright red with even amount of black ticking www.afrma.org/agouticinnrats.htm. At her next molt you should see her color get richer/brighter.
Kendra Neitzel, Ratscallions A Merry Mischief, CA, e-mail
Q I have a quick question regarding Satin rats. I had 3 (2 bucks, 1 doe) show up in a litter of standard coated babies. Obviously both parents are carriers. All have been extremely healthy, fat little babies, and are showing no signs of respiratory problems. Here’s the question: one of the bucks is losing his hair. This is his first molt, but I’ve never seen a non double- Rex molt like this. Is this normal for Satins? Will it grow back?
Prior to his molting, he had very thick exceptionally shiny hair. None of his other siblings are losing hair and there are no problems with external parasites or fungal infections in the colony.
A Hair loss is not normal for Satin. In my recent Rex litters, there have been a couple Rexes that would lose some of their hair on their shoulders/back around 4 weeks, then regrow with no more hair loss (Rex x Std. litters). One breeder brought a few babies for me to evaluate recently and in one of her Standard litters a couple had lost hair on their backs. Their father had done this when he was a baby, then regrew it with no more hair loss. So, with your guy, if it’s like these others, he should regrow it. Keep note though to watch his kids to see if they experience the same thing—then it would be some kind of genetic/hereditary thing going on.
Update: His hair is already growing back and its very, very thick. I’m used to seeing this with my curly rats (not dominant Rex), but he’s not from that line.