Domitrius Barkwood

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Male or female?

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One of the earliest decisions you will need to make when you decide to get some rats is what sex you want.

Male rats are called bucks, females are called does.

There are differences between the sexes, but both make great pets; it just depends on what you personally want from your rats.

Be aware, the following descriptions are generalisations only. There are always exceptions to the rule, and you cannot ever guarantee how your rat will behave. 

I’ve had females who acted more male, and vice versa. But the following will at least give you a starting point:



Bucks are bigger than does, sometimes even twice the size, and their fur is generally a little rougher. Bucks tend to mark their territory by leaving tiny drops of urine on whatever they wish to claim as theirs, and this will include you! Some bucks mark more than others. Some don’t mark at all.

Male rats tend to be a bit soppier, more cuddly and more tolerant. A buck is the kind of rat that will want to sit on your lap and watch TV for hours. They can be thoroughly lazy, especially once they reach about 18 months old.

Bucks are the ideal gender for people who want a pet to cuddle and relax with. In my personal experience, they are more outwardly affectionate than females, and seem to be less independant, more bonded to their human.



Does are smaller and sleeker than bucks and tend to be more active. They love to explore everything. They tend to be more agile and acrobatic than boys, meaning some toys are great for does but would be totally ignored by bucks.

Does are quite independant, and like to do their own thing. They’re on the go all the time.Does come into heat every 4 days or so for around 12 hours when they may become more skittish and may dislike being handled.

They are prone to mammary tumours which are usually benign, and thusly harmless, but can get expensive to keep having removed. This is something to consider if you are keen on getting females, particularly if you are planning on getting pet shop or rescue girls, as incidences of tumours are higher in rats from these backgrounds.

A doe will be the rat who sits on your shoulder or uses your body like a climbing frame and explores everything on your desk. They’re the ideal gender for people who like to have a pet to watch and be entertained by.

Which sex you chose is totally down to personal preference. If you want a big, laid back, squishy rat who will be content to sit on your lap then go for a buck. If you want an interesting and active, busy pet then go for a doe.

It’s extremely easy to tell the difference between the sexes.

Females have nipples and males don’t.

Male rats are also very well endowed, so theres no mistaking who is who when you put them beside each other! But here is a reference picture:


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