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#pet rats

I Looked Over And Saw My Rat Chasing Her Tail????

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(we stopped her and made sure there wasn’t anything visibly wrong with her tail that could be irritating her— this isn’t a usual behavior for her. We think she’s just being goofy because she has a big personality but we’ll keep an eye on her 🧡)

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It’s been a while since I posted anything so I’m back with rats. I got my babies introduced to my established trio and just yesterday got them all back into my usual gigantic cage. For anyone who may not know, you can’t just toss new rats into the cage with your established rats because they’ll fight and most likely kill each other because rats are territorial. I used the carrier method of introduction, which is widely accepted as the best way.

I’m so relieved to have my room back the way I like it. In celebration, and since I’ve had a couple people ask about my setup, I thought I’d go over it a little.

So this is a Double Critter Nation zip tied to a Single Critter Nation, and with large cement tubs from Home Depot in the bottom adding more depth this comes to roughly 45 cubic feet of space for my six rats. US standard minimum is about 2 cubic feet per rat, and rats cannot be housed alone. However, minimums are not the standard to strive for, and bigger is always better. Rats are incredibly smart and need lots of enrichment for a happy, healthy life. But just for the sake of argument, technically I could house 22 rats in this cage. I can’t even imagine… That’s too many!

My favorite enrichment for my rats is definitely the dig boxes. I keep two, one filled with coconut fiber terrarium soil and one filled with oat hay. They love to dig in the soil and push it around, and sometimes I put mealworms in there as a treat. The oat hay is great because they can nest in it and dig and the little seed heads make great snacks and are extra enriching because the rats have to find them and then work them out of the husk.

Hides are probably the most important thing for any prey animal, and I keep a bunch of different kinds. The space pods up top are definitely a favorite sleeping place, but I have to be careful because they get peed in a lot. I’ve also got multiple enclosed hammocks, a grass tent on the bottom, a big enclosed purple plastic hide, and a cork log. The log and the tent are more for enrichment, though, since the girls most play in them rather than hiding there.

Rats love to climb! Make sure your rats have lots of vertical space, too. I got a wooden wine rack from Ikea to use as a climbing frame. It’s new and just went in, and the girls love it! I also use hammocks and an Ikea tie hanger to create many levels and ensure that if the rats fall they don’t go far enough to hurt themselves. They are clumsy and fall a lot!

They absolutely can and will just climb straight on the bars of the cage, but it’s good to help them out. I like lava ledges the best because they’re a great size and they also wear at the rats’ nails. I also hung a dog rope around the cage as a bridge, and have several wooden bridges around. They love them!

I also forage feed my rats using a variety of forage toys. Most of them are marketed at birds. The girls love them and get lots of enrichment from them, and it makes it easier for me to know how much they’ve eaten since it discourages stashing.

Don’t restrict your purchases to just the small animal section of the pet store. Pet stores don’t know what the animal needs to thrive. Be creative! As long as it’s safe for your pet, chances are they’ll love it and be glad for the extra fun.

Always do a lot of research before you get a pet, don’t trust the pet store’s word on what’s correct care, and adopt, rescue, or support ethical breeders when choosing an animal because pet stores are supplied by horrific breeding mills that produce substandard animals that will have lifelong health and temperment issues. This has been a PSA from your friendly small animal enthusiast.

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Mariano was sleeping on all the boys in their favorite hammock and since his face was sticking out I held a cubed piece of cooked chicken to his nose and he SNATCHED IT without even opening his eyes, his nose twitched like twice before he pounced lol but now I have to feed all the boys chicken I can hear them waking up lol

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