Midlands Rat Club

Show FAQ


What is a rat show?

Rat shows are a social gathering of people of all ages who love rats. At each show owners bring their rats to be judged in either pets or varieties. The judges choose the best rats and prizes are awarded at the end of the day.

Most people also bring a 'shoulder' rat to keep them company during the day whilst judging is taking place.


Where is my nearest rat show?
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The Midlands Rat Club aims to provide regular shows in the Midlands, but as we have only six shows a year (plus the occasional extra), it makes sense to have a small number of venues and move between them. If you feel that you have a really good venue in your area which is likely to be free all day on a Saturday (or possibly Sunday), has good natural light to judge the rats by, uncarpeted floors, a kitchen, plenty of parking space and good public transport links, the committee would be happy to hear of it.


How much does it cost to attend a rat show?
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We do not charge any entry fee to visit any of our shows. Some shows at County or Agricultural shows may have entrance fees. Details will be available on our shows page.


When does the show start and finish?
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To those who are showing most show venues open at 10am to allow for rat preparation with judging starting at 11am.

Most shows are finished around 4.30-5.00pm - this will depend on entry numbers.


Do I have to be a member?
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You can show your rats twice before we require you to be a member, but you will be missing out on our excellent magazine and our members' forum until you join up.


What do I need if I wish to show?
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If you wish to show your rat(s) then you will need:

  • A healthy, friendly rat
  • A piece of cucumber, carrot or apple for moisture
  • A small amount of dry rat mix
  • A show tank
  • Some approved substrate (hire tanks include this)
  • A plastic bag to take the used substrate home

Take a look at our article How to Show Your Rats for a basic roundup of what you need to know.


What if I don't have a show tank?
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We have a limited number of hire tanks which people can borrow if they don't have their own. These are reserved on a first-come-first-served basis. Each tank is £2 and includes substrate.

You will be given labels to stick to the tank on the plastic covered area provided for this purpose. At the end of the day please return the tank empty of shavings or litter. It is not usual for the show venue to have facilities for the safe disposal of used litter so it is important that you remember to bring a bag or container in which you can transport your used litter home with you.


Where do I get my own show tanks from?
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Rats must be shown in a humane transparent plastic tank. The minimum tank size is to be eleven litres and the maximum tank size to be fourteen litres.

You can often buy the tanks together with wire lids through the club, by emailing the Shop and Stall Coordinator.

show tanks

Approved tanks are:

  • Old NFRS plastic tank with mesh lid
  • Ferplast Geo XL with plastic lid
  • Ferplast Nettuno XL with mesh lid
  • Any 11 to 14 litre tank of a similar shape to the above with plastic or mesh lid

Small Furries should where possible be shown in a tank as above. Where size does not permit, they should be shown in a suitable container with easy access for the judge.


How much is it to enter a rat?
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Each entry is £1.50 regardless of class.

If you enter a rat, but on show day are unable to show them, you will be charge your entry fee.


Can I enter my other pets?
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We have a Small Furry class at our shows so you can enter you hamster, mouse, gerbil, rabbit, guinea pig etc at our shows.

Small furries should where possible be shown in a tank as above. Where size does not permit, they should be shown in a suitable container with easy access for the judge.


How do I enter?
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Two weeks before each shows on online entry form will open on the page for that show. Follow the steps on screen and your rats will be entered. You will get a confirmation email after the closing time.


When can I enter my rats?
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The online show form opens around 2 weeks before a show. Most people enter 24-48 hours before the form closes (Wednesday before the show) as you will have a better idea about the health of the rat.


What substrates are allowed in the show tanks?
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The MRC allows a wide range of substrate to be used in show tanks. These include

  • Pale unscented wood shavings
  • Aspen wood shavings
  • Bio-catolet
  • Yesterdays News
  • Carefresh
  • Bob Martin's recycled 100% paper-based cat litter
  • Shredded card bedding, e.g. Ecopetbed, Easybed, Finacard etc.
  • Chopped hemp
  • Megazorb
  • Cross-cut paper (including 'J-cloth' type bedding)

Please ensure that any shredded paper bedding does not have sharp edges - if it can give you a paper cut, it can injure your rat.


What if I don't know what class my rat goes in?
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Try using our 'Which class?' guide to help you find the right class for your rat.


Can my rats share a tank?
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Only one adult rat per tank is permitted. A maximum of two kittens may be housed in one tank provided they are distinct from each other (pet class) or different varieties (variety class). It is permitted for a kitten be accompanied by a companion kitten not entered in the show.


Will you have rats available for sales at your show?
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No we don't have any kittens for sale at our shows. We normally have lots of breeders at our shows who you can talk to and a breeder list so we can help you find someone who may be able to help.


Is showing a risk for my rat?
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As with most things, there are some risks. Rat shows will always have a risk of infections as there is a change something can be carried unnoticed by the owners.

We do recommend that you do not show if:

  • you have taken in any new rats in the last 2 weeks
  • you have had any infection/illnesses in your rats in the 2 weeks before a show
  • you have been to another show, where owners have reported an illness/infection
  • they have any bites/scratches or is spotty/scabby
  • they bite
  • they are snuffly or had a recent illness
  • they are pregnant or just had or are just off a litter
  • they have missing body parts - eyes, toes, tail etc
  • they have tumours or any other lumps
  • they are small or underage
  • they are too old (this will vary from rat to rat)
  • they have lice

The health and welfare of all of our rats relies on everyone being responsible.


Are there any varieties which are not allowed to attend shows?
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The MRC doesn't not allow Hairless or Tailess rats to attend our shows.


What do I need to do on show day?
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If you are showing, you will need to turn up early to prepare your rats. Our shows open at 10am to allow for this. Ask the show secretary for your show labels. If you aren't sure what to do, then please ask.

If you are just visiting, it would best to turn up after 11am once judging started. Introduce yourself to the show secretary who will introduce you to other owners and show you around.


What time do rats have to be on the tables by?
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Rats need to be on the tables by 10.45am so judging can start at 11am


What do I need to do if I can't show my rat?
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If you need to withdraw your rats, then give the show secretary the tank labels back so they can be crossed off the schedule.


What do the little coloured stickers on the show tanks mean?
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During a show, stickers are put on the tanks of the rats who are placed in each section. Red is the highest place, then blue, yellow and green. A useful mnemonic is "Rats bring you gladness".