Rats tend to keep their illnesses hidden from their owners, so you’ll need to keep an eye on them to make sure they’re in good health.
For that reason, many new rat owners get anxious when they spot yellow fur in pet rats.
Yellow fur is, usually, not a disease that affects pet rats. External causes such as sloppy eating, urination by another rat, or a rat’s lack of grooming are to blame in this case.
However, you should be concerned if your rat’s fur is consistently yellow and greasy.
In this article, I’ll discuss the yellow fur issue in rats and how to deal with it!
Why Is Your Pet Rat With Yellow Fur?
First of all, let us consider the reasons your little rat friend seems yellowish.
No phenomenon can naturally cause your rat’s fur to turn yellow. The discoloration of the fur is, most of the time, a temporary problem that is caused by external problems.
To understand why your pet rat has an unnatural yellowing of the fur, ask yourself the following questions:
- Since when has the problem appeared?
- Where is the yellowing fur happening?
- Where do you keep your rat?
- What are the eating habits of your rat?
- Does it urinate too often? Or do other pets urinate on it?
- How often does your pet rat groom itself?
When you first get your rattie, its fur may appear to be fine.
However, you may ultimately notice yellow streaks on its body, which do not look good on your rat. This is very common to happen with albino rats since they have perfectly white fur!
Yellowing around the rear or backside and under the belly is quite common as it urinates or defecates. They might be an animal obsessed with cleaning, but certain spots are hard to get sometimes.
Pet rats may also get stained if the cage is dirty.
If your rattie isn’t litter trained, it might urinate or poop all over the cage, which eventually rubs onto its fur. For that reason, you should clean their cage more regularly.
On the other hand, your rattie might be a very messy eater.
Depending on the food you give your pet rat, you might see yellow stains on its face or neck.
However, even when this happens, your pet rat will most likely clean itself and the yellow fur will be back to normal!
Does A Yellow Fur Mean My Pet Rat Is Sick?
Yellowing of the fur does not always mean your pet rat is sick.
As I have mentioned above, yellow fur happens because of the behavioral problem of your pet rat. It rarely means your rat is sick.
But you should be careful when the yellowing becomes regular.
The discoloration should not be permanent. Rodents like to stay clean. They not only clean themselves but also help clean other rat buddies. So, your rat should groom itself constantly.
If your rat does not groom itself regularly, the yellow stain can become a severe problem.
Not only that, but your rat not taking care of itself is a sign that it is not healthy enough to bother grooming!
In such cases, observe your rat’s behavior and look for other symptoms. The rat may get sick and vomit, which can also stain its fur.
Lookup for signs of lethargy and shyness. Pet rats tend to hide their sickness, so if your rattie is behaving in a different manner, do take a good look at them and seek a vet if needed.
There are also many health issues that can cause your pet rat to urinate and poop more than it should.
For this reason, the rear of your rat may start to look more yellowish than usual.
So, in general, your pet may have yellow stains on its fur now and then, which is normal. But do not ignore the problem if it becomes constant or if you notice a lack of grooming.
Other Pet Rats Showing Dominance? (Urine Stains On Fur)
If you have multiple male rats in one habitat, your pet may get marked by other pets. Rodents often mark their territory by urinating on their surroundings and each other.
It’s a very natural behavior, so you may find yellow stains on your pet rats when you have more than one in a cage.
It’s always recommended to have at least 2 pet rats living together since they’re very social and need company from the same species to live happily.
This also generally happens more often among male pet rats. Stronger rats may urinate on things and weaker males to prove their dominance.
By doing so, they show who is in charge.
On the other hand, female rats urinate on male rats when they become ready for reproduction.
Unless you want to breed them, female and male rats should be separated or spayed. So this phenomenon should be very rare to happen.
Similarly, male rates may increase urination to impress female rats and show their sexual maturity by producing high testosterone.
Thus, it is natural to see your rats stained with urine during mating season.
Again, most of the time, if the pet rats are spayed, chances are your pet rats won’t have the need to urinate to mark territory as much!
Is Yellow Fur On A Pet Rat Bad For Them?
The answer depends on how long the yellow stain remains on your pet.
As mentioned above, the yellow stains on your pet’s body are most likely urine. A healthy rodent should be able to clean itself and, therefore, the stain should disappear.
However, the urine or feces should not stay on the rat’s body for days. It will attract more dirt and it’s not good for their health.
Besides, feces and even urine can spread bacteria to the dirty pet rat or to its companions.
So no, yellow fur isn’t bad for your pet rat as long as they’re able to clean themselves.
However, sometimes your pet rat’s fur might get dirty enough that not even grooming cleans it successfully.
Maybe it was some kind of food you gave them or maybe their droppings are wet enough to dirty their fur (which usually happens when they try new foods).
If the pet rat doesn’t notice this, the fur can get stuck to each other. When this happens, it becomes harder to clean.
Thus, you have to take the initiative to clean your pet rat when the yellowing looks greasy and too dirty.
How To Clean Your Pet Rat Fur
Not only it isn’t pleasing to see a dirty rat, your pet rat won’t feel comfortable either.
So, if you notice your pet rat’s fur is dirty and they’re having difficulty cleaning it, bathe them.
However, you need patience and time. Some rats like to swim and bathe, but many rats feel stressed near water.
If you are bathing your pet rat for the first time, it can be challenging for both of you. It’s good to introduce them to water slowly.
Do not go for a surprise bath. Your rat will get traumatized if you throw a splash of water on them.
Here are some tips so you can safely clean your pet rat:
- Do not use cold or hot water. Take some warm water in a small bowl and place it at a safe distance from the rat.
- Wear gloves when you are bathing your dirty rat. It will keep your hands clean and protect you from scratches from a stressed rat.
- Cup some water in your palm and sprinkle the water on the rat slowly.
- You can use your fingers or a soft sponge to rub off yellowing stains from the fur.
- Do not rush. Your first mission is to get your rat comfortable with water and cleaning.
- After cleaning, dry your rat with a clean towel.
If this whole process seems to stress your pet rat too much, you can also try and use a wet towel and clean them with that!
Another thing you can do is to allow your rat to wade in shallow water in a bowl once in a while.
This way, they can become accustomed to the washing and cleansing process with water.
If they like it, that’s great! Once in a while, you can let them swim.
Give them time and do not force your rat into the water. With patience, they might take a liking to water and make this whole process much easier for both of you!
Yellow Fur In Pet Rats Isn’t A Big Problem
Hopefully, you have learned about the yellow fur in pet rats and can now rest easy, that it’s generally not a big issue.
Rats often urinate in their cage, which may leave yellow stains on their bodies. So, keep your rat cage clean to reduce the yellowing of your rodent friends.
Not only that, but they’ll clean themselves up and the stains disappear. If needed, you can always give your pet a helping hand with a comfortable bath and they’ll be stain-free in no time!