Another sudden death among the rats, and while I was away. My friend was watching them for me and he died in her hands. So greatful to have such caring friends and fearful for the remaining two. Owen will be deeply missed and his spot on my shoulder and his nonstop kisses will remain with me in my memory.
The honeycomb hammock is my personal favorite. The rats love it, it is easy to make and it helps fill up some of those boreing spaces in your cage with something the ratties can enjoy.
You will need
- Cotton fabric
- Something to hang the hammock (ribbion, gromets, fabric loops)
- A sewing machine
Cut your fabric into squares that increasinly go up in size. My dementions for this hammock are 10” x 10″, 14″ x 14″ and 17″x 17″. In the past I have made them much smaller.
Next cut off the corners in the 2 bigger squares.
Sew your squares together. Make sure that when you sew them that the wrong side of the fabric is facing up and that you leave enough room to pull in inside out. Then once it is inside out I like to sew all around it once more because I find it to be more strudy and make the hammock nice and flat. (I prefer a zig zag stich when working with rat hammocks)
Do this to all of your squares
Sew your flats together. This is the tricker part. What you want to do is place the middle sized square on top of the large sqare and pin one of the cut off corners to the middle of a side of the middle sized square.
Then do the same on all of the other sides, sewing each of the large squares cut of corners to each of the middles of the sides of the medium sized square.
Now just do the samething but instead use the cut off corners of the middle sqare and sew them onto the smallest square.
Add a way to attach the hammock to your cage. Ive used the in past scraps of fabric folded over themselves. I have also used ribbon and my mom has made hammocks with gromments. What ever you do makesure that they are strudy.
AND YOURE ALL DONE! Enjoy
I haven’t posted in a while because I’m really at a lost as to what to post. I’ve decided against a cage tour in full because I change the set up every week now. So if you have any requests for a hammock tutorial you want to see, a rat care post you want or anything thing else you are interested in please comment below.
In addition to that, I found a few photos of my ratties for you to enjoy.
Rats, although you may have been told differently, do have a fairly large upfront cost. You will need to be prepared to spend around 200$ minimum for 2 rats to provide your rats with all the enrichment and room they need. On this post I will create a checklist along side with links and average cost for the items. Some titles have links on them that will direct you to related posts. These will be colored pink. Photos have links to where you can buy the items.
There are 3 things you need to consider when getting a cage for your rat: ventilation, space, and safety.
This means you want to get a wire cage that will provide your rats with enough air flow to keep their wear respiratory systems healthy. You will also need to make sure to clean their cage once a week to clean up the ammonia in found in rat urine.
Rats, unlike most small animals, need a lot of space to explore and exercise. You want a cage that is big enough to fit lots of enrichment without it getting over crowed. To see if your cage is big enough go to the rat cage calculator.
To keep your rats safe you need to look over the whole cage and look it over for possible injuries. You need to make sure that the rats are not able to escape from the cage as well as not able to injure themselves in the cage. Look for loose wire they could cut themselves and if the bars are uncoated, rust. Another thing to keep in mind is that rats if not given solid floors can get bumblefoot. To be on the safe side I would get a cage with coated bars and solid plastic floors.
Climbing 5-13$ per toy
Rats need to climb as part of their natural behavior. Although the wire on the cage provides some climbing, you will still want to find them other ways to access the top of their cage. I would recommend getting about one climbing toy per rat.
List of climbing toys
- Bird ladders
- Bird ledges/ perches (sand perches are great to grind down rat nails)
- Lava ledge
- Large bird foraging toys
- Bird rope
- Bird climbing toys
- Cleaned drift wood
Litter boxes 8$
Although this is optional if you don’t want to litter box train your rats, I would highly recommend that you litter box train them. It reduces smell, helps with clean up and makes cage cleaning easier.
I use recycled paper cat litter because you can buy it in bulk, its cheaper than ferret litter and its relatively dust free which is a must for rats.
You want to get glass water bottles for your rats so that the rats don’t chew through them and the bottles are BPA free. I would get two water bottles so that the rats don’t fight over them and they always have access to them. It’s also a good idea to have a spare on hand.
Ceramic food bowl 1-6$
You want to get a ceramic food bowl so that they can’t knock it over. You can also find bowls like this but a little bigger at the dollar store.
Hammocks are something every rat should have the pleasure of enjoying. You can make hammocks in so many ways that its hard to put a price range on them. I have made hammocks out of old t-shirts by cutting it into a square of fabric, cutting slits into the corners of it and tieing the cloth directly to the cage bars. I have made them out of old jean pant legs, by sewing them and I have also bought cube hammocks.
Homemade hammocks can be free if you have old clothes. You can buy hammocks, but if you do I would recommend doing so online and not at pet stores. They tend to have material that rats don’t find comfy and easily fall apart all for a ridiculously expensive price.
Online hammock makers
You can also find a whole bunch of great hammock makers on etsy.
Cage liners/ Loose bedding
I wouldn’t bother buying pre-made liners from a hammock maker or online. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper to go to a fabric store buy some fleece and cut them out yourself. For towels you can go to the dollar store and get several hand towels and place them next to each other or you can go to super fleas and garage sales and find old bath towels.
Loose Bedding 0-8$
Keep in mind that you mind choose to use loose bedding as well. I’ve done it before and it worked perfectly well. You just need to make sure you clean it out regularly.
For loose bedding I would recommend taking the newspaper you get and once you’ve read it shred it yourself. This makes your bedding free and better for the environment. You can also buy loose bedding.
You need to have a space set up where you can interact with your rats outside of their cage. Now this area can be something as simple as an old sheet placed over your bed, a kiddy pool or a table. Keep in mind that rats are naturally afraid of heights and have poor eyesight and therefore will not jump into the unknown. As long as the space is secure and they are supervised you should be ok.
Rat food 10-15$
You have a lot of different options when it comes to food.
You can make your own mix (which I don’t recommend because it’s a lot of extra work and the mix means that they will selectively eat what they like)
You can also buy mixes. But that not a route I would go as most mixes are unhealthy for your rat.
In my opinion buying lab blocks is the safest and easiest route to go. As long as every now and again you give them fresh food as to give them some variety they will be healthy and happy with lab blocks.
Rats, like all rodents need to grind down their teeth by chewing. You want to make sure you give them plenty of stuff to chew and shred. I like to just buy wood chews (just make sure they don’t have hay in them) and always have some wooden bird ladders in there. You can and should also give them some milkbones every now and again. Card board boxes are also great for this because they double as a house. You can also put some toilet paper tubes and cut up paper towel roll tubes. Find some sticks and bake them to clean them and stick em in their cage. Get creative.
You’ll want to stock up on some treats so that you can trust train your rats and show them that you love them. All sorts of things can be treats. As I mentioned earlier you can give them small amounts of milkbone dog treats. You can also buy sugar-free dried fruit and give them some of that. If you end up store buying I find that my rats really like yogurt drops. You can also give them white chocolate chips in extreme moderation.
Rats need to have hiding places that are on the floor of their cage. Tupper ware with holes cut out work great, so do card board boxes, storage bins found at the dollar store and pet store houses.
Brick– helps to grind down nails. Can be found at home-depot for less than a dollar. They also have rough tiles that do the same thing.
Dust pan and broom– if you have cage liners its helpful to clean up food crumbs on a day-to-day basis
Air filter– Rat urine has ammonia so getting a filter can be a nice safety procotion for both you and your rats.
Wheels– Rats don’t necessarily need a wheel, but if you have young or female rats it can be a nice addition to your cage. You’re wheel needs to be about 11-12 inches in diameter and needs to have a solid floor, not a mesh one. Silent spinner makes a great one I’ve heard but I’ve never seen a large enough on in pet store and they are a lot more expensive. My cost me about 18$