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Camarattery - Colorado Rat Breeder

Website Updated 9.18.2017

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Manx

I wanted to talk briefly about Manx rats. Although they are a very cute and beautiful mutation there are several things to consider about the animal. Most of them apply to the breeder and what is needed to make them a better quality animal, and I will discuss that here.  Ive been specializing in Manx for close to 10 years. So I wanted to mention a few things. 

Taillessness is a true mutation that causes a severe alteration of the rat's normal body structure. It is up to the breeder to produce animals with the correct and healthy body structure. Many rats that are born with no tail are very severely deformed, many are not. The type that I would like to strive for obviously are the ones that are healthy and have no health problems. I would like to follow the AFRMA standard for the Manx type as I do for all my rats. And the AFRMA standard for tailless rats is: Tailless rats may be shown in any recognized color, marking, or variety. The distinct feature is the complete absence of a tail. Tailless rats may have a cobbier body and will have a rounded rump. Disqualifications: a small tail appendage or tail formation at the base of the body; any evidence of physical abnormality due to being Tailless, e.g. difficulty walking or climbing, skeletal problems, etc.?

Some Manx rats are born with this nice cobbie back end with the absence of tail. This is the type of mutation I 1st saw popping up in my own litters. And I want to mention that when these babies were popping up I was quite surprised as I did not "breed for them" per say. It was just a unique and pleasant surprise. As I started having more Manx babies in my litters, through few and far between and only from one certain male, I also started researching them. I wanted to get more familiar with the genetics of the animal before I made an educated decision to breed or not to breed for them.

In my research to find out more about Manx I found that according to the AFRMA site which is a wealth of info on tailless rats, some of the mutations are born with bladder and bowel problems, fused back legs, back legs that aren't working because of malformed skeletons and more. The site also urges you not to feel that this is the case all the time but in fact it is rare. It also encourages breeders to breed away from these issues because if you have a rat in a family with these issues, more cases will pop up. So the best way to produce healthy animals is only to use healthy well formed Manx in your breeding programs. 

Also if you notice the standard for Manx is the complete absence of a tail. This is the rule I will follow here in my rattery. I feel that this would be the healthiest way to 
produce Manx and thus help the Manx be a stronger animal. And since I have been working with Manx for several years, I have never had one born from my Manx lines that had health or bone structure problems. I did have one that was out of AZ lines that had "leaky bladder". That baby did not survive past 3 months.

Manx are born either rumpy which is the breed standard, with no tail, or they can be born as a stumpy, this is a hamster like stub of a tail, or they can be a longie, this is almost half of a tail.
Although Manx babies who are born as a stumpy or a longie can be very healthy I prefer to promote following the breed standard. I believe that Manx should be bred to the breed standard and be completely tailless at birth. Since there are many health risks to Manx rats who are bred poorly, I will not promote breeding to make more Manx for the fun of it, but rather to better the quality of the bone structure and thus increasing the animals quality of life. 

Almost all breeders don't want to breed for Manx for reasons mentioned above, and I completely respect that. Some breeders believe that the mutation which is in fact a deformity should not be bred for. And I respect that. I also respect the research done by breeders who have bred for healthy body shapes and found that breeding away from the health risks produces healthier stock. They have found that breeding rats who have problems produces babies with these same problems. And breeding healthy Manx produces more healthy Manx, although there will always be risks involved with producing them.

I have only had one male Manx in my rattery so it's tough to breed for them. And a male Manx is the best sex to breed with, since females may have birthing problems. But mine have never had issues because health problems are genetic and I have a good gene for tailless in my rattery. I will say though that I WILL NOT breed Manx for the public to adopt. They are to hard to get in the first place and on the rare occasion that one does pop up, I will keep it for breeding. And I will especially not adopt out males, should I ever get one because I need them.
 So if you are a rattery or an adopter wanting tailless , please know that I will not breed one for you, simply because I can't. If I do get one I will keep it. It's just not that easy to make them. I am sorry. It's not a simple recessive gene like any other gene. The gene I work with is becoming known to me as to how it works, but it is neither a simple recessive, nor is it dominant. It is much more difficult to predict that any other gene at this time.

At this time in 2014 manx rats in the USA have been healthy and breed able for the most part for the better part of a decade. We are not seeing the problems there used to be any more. At least in the breeder bred lines. I cant speak for the mill bred lines.