Today however, very few people keep Black Rats as pets

From what i understand people usually have brown rats as pets and rarely black rats.
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With so many wild rats in England it was necessary to find some form of control. This led to a new career for some people, that of rat catcher. One of these men, the Royal Rat Catcher Jack Black, can be credited as the originator of the first true domestic rats. In the course of his work, when he came upon strangely colored animals, he kept and bred them. Eventually he had Albino, Black, Fawn, Grey, and Marked animals which he bred and sold as pets. Between the 1840s and 1860s Jimmy Shaw and Jack Black sold many animals and provided the background from which our present day domestic rats originate.
Black Rat Mouse Winged figurine art sculpture pet, Rat angel, rat totem, amulet, fairy, fantasy. $70.00, via Etsy.
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- Brown rat () has been bred for docility mainly for laboratory purposes for thousands of generations and this is where the pet and fancy rats come from. Ship rats on the other hand, have never been selectively bred for handling and are therefore basically wild and untameable, and make terrible pets. Ship rats have several coat colours in the wild, one of which is black, hence the name. In New Zealand, most, in fact, are not black 08:46, 22 June 2007 (UTC) John Innes, Landcare Research Black Rat Mouse Winged figurine art sculpture pet, Rat angel, rat totem, amulet, fairy, fantasy. $90.00, via Etsy.
Photo provided by FlickrToday, very few people today keep black rats as pets
Photo provided by FlickrBlack Rat snake as a pet?? - Garter Snake Forum
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If you're really interested in reviving the R. rattus in the hobby and have a few spare million bucks laying around and couple decades of free time coming up, I'd be willing to give it a go with you. It might be great fun to revive the long lost green strain and see what other morphs can be created from the R. rattus, that lost out to our domestic rattie so long ago. As to whether the black rat A/K.A the roof rat A/K/A the ship rat A/K/A the plague rat really has a shot at dislodging our current domestic pets solid grip on the temperate zone pet market remains to be seen, but the domestic R. norvegicus has a lot going for it.Black Rats (or their ectoparasites) are able to carry a number of pathogens, of which bubonic plague (via the rat flea), typhus, Weil's disease, toxoplasmosis and trichinosis are the most well known. In the 1920s in England, several colour variations were bred and shown alongside domesticated brown rats. This included an unusual green tinted variety. Today however, very few people keep Black Rats as pets. Most pet rats (or fancy rats) are domesticated brown rats.There are definately black rats still in the fancy, there are even you tube vids of them playing with domestic rats, but afik there is no domesticated population available to fanciers... If you live in a warm enough climate and know an exterminator I suppose he could help you find a nest with pups before he wipes them out if you really wanted one. By the time they leave the nest, I'm pretty sure it would be too late to make a decent pet out of one.The Brown or Norway rat, Rattus norvegicus, is the species which was domesticated into what we recognize as Fancy or pet rats. This animal began steadily colonizing Europe, and particularly England, in the early 18th century. Upon its arrival the Brown rat was quick to drive out the indigenous Black rats. Because it was larger and more adaptable, the Brown rat was able to thrive in environments that were not suitable for the Black rats. Thus England was somewhat overrun with rats.Still, although it's hard to imagine that a stable domestic strain could be extracted from currently captive rat colonies without substantial cooperation and colaboration from the keepers of a at least a few of those colonies and that there is sufficient demand to keep an industry going, UK zoos do sound like a good place to get a single rat or a few to keep as pets. And the keepers there might at least point you at pups from a "nicer" female. As wild black rats still roam the southern US as vermin, I don't know of any local zoos that keep them here in the US. But I'm sure your UK counterparts might benefit from your information as might those surplus baby rats at the zoos that are most likely going towards feeding something else right now. And who knows, human nature being what it is, the rat keepers at the zoos might have been unintentionally culling the worst of the worst genes out of their colonies for decades, just to eliminate the sick and the unusually nasty specimens so they wouldn't get bit, so there may be very fine pets to be found there.Some individuals of Rattus norvegicus have black coats, but the black rat is a different, although related, species. Also known as the ship rat and the roof rat, this is the other rat species that, in the wild, lives in close proximity with humans, although not as much as in the past. Rattus rattus is rarely kept as a pet, but some hobbyists have given it a go. Black rats have not been domesticated and individuals tend to be shyer than the standard pet rat, requiring patience and some expertise. Although they need much the same housing and care as their relatives, they are not an animal for the inexperienced.