How To Set Up Pet Rat Cages
How To Set Up Pet Rat Cages
Setting up a cage for your pet rats is an important aspect of rat care. Here are the pieces you need for housing them.
How to set up a rat cage. First of all, you need to make sure that your rats are either housed in pairs or in small groups as they need the companionship of their own kind. You would then need to make sure that you are able to provide a large enough cage for these rats.
As a minimum, rats should be housed in a size that they should be fine for 2 to 3 rats at a maximum. The best option is to go for small indoor bird aviaries, chinchilla cages or parrot cages. Make sure you got small bars as small rats may be able to squeeze through them.
So, then you need to consider bedding for the cage. The base floor material should either be short shredded paper or a product called Carefresh which is crushed egg carton material, and again, that can be placed on the base and it's absorbent and safe for rats. Never use wood shavings or sawdust as they are really bad for parasites and for breathing issues.
So, you would then want to add lots of enrichment. Rats are intelligent, they're active and they really love to investigate new things, so make a challenge for them. Add new things, make new things and rearrange it into different places.
Provide the rats with at least 2 or 3 houses. Get a standard cardboard box and just cut a hole in there. What you can do is just place some bedding in there and that will be absolutely fine.
You can then purchase all sorts of different rat houses from pet shops, your local rescue shelters, or on the internet. Plastic ones are really great and easy to clean as you can separate them and every week, when you do cleaning, you can really spray this down with pet disinfectant and keep them nice and fresh and clean for your rats. Even old socks would be fine for them to snuggle.
Storage materials are brilliant for rats to snuggle into. You can zip them open from the back so they're easy to clean and they come with a little tag on the end so you can hang these up. You could make a hammock or a rope ladder, and they could climb in there and they will love snuggling in there.
In the wild, rats would actually have all sorts of nest and snuggle areas so these really provide that for them. You'll then want to add a few bits of enrichment which they can climb across. Wooden wine racks are brilliant for that.
Paint it with a wood preservative. Make sure that it's child and pet friendly as this one is and that way, it will help protect the wood and also make it easy for you to clean. Make sure with wine racks that you do open them up completely and that they're not going to be able to easily collapse down as that could cause injury.
Rat corner litter trays can be hooked on and that way, the rats can't pull them away. Rats love to not only be able to sleep on a hammock but often, these are used as a social area, so 1 or 2 rats will snuggle up on these, groom each other and often just use it as a little area where they can perch and watch things going on. These can be purchased from pet shops or they can be easily made.
You also need to consider water. Make sure when you are purchasing water bottles that you do get a couple as if they do have an accident and one breaks, you're going to need a spare one to use straight away. These can be placed on the outside of the cage.
Make sure they are at the level where the rats aren't going to have to reach that high or to bend down low to get them. The water bottles will need cleaning out once a week and refreshed with fresh water everyday. Lastly, you need to consider food.
You can either place it in a bowl and then add different treats and hide them around or you could consider scattering your food. A really good idea is getting some fresh soil, get a few natural treats, get dried vegetables and dried herbs, pop them in there, just place them in the rat accommodation and the rats are going to love digging around the soil and rummaging for them. Another good idea to make your rats work for it is to get a toilet roll, wrap it up with some