Once you have obtained a good rat cage it will need to be filled with enrichment.
Rats sleep often on and off through out the day. Giving them plenty of places to go hide in that are placed on the floors of your cage is an essential furnishing to your cage.
Cardboard boxes are the easiest and cheapest hiding places out there. They give your rat a nice dark place to hide as well as a thing to chew on. Mine seldom last over a week due to urine and chew marks, but hey, they are free because other wise they would have just been recycled.
In my cage tour post I showed these storage bins upside down. I flipped them back upright because they were finding ways to knock over the top bin. The idea is still the same, I had old storage bins that weren’t getting used and placed them in the cage and put some fleece scrapes inside of the bins to make it cozier.
My rats love to store food in this house and dig all the way to the bottom of the pot to sleep. Older rats might like the house better if you flip it on its side. If you have loose bedding you can fill it with bedding half way to keep it from rolling around.
Almost every rodent owner (at least the ones in the US) have seen these. They keep one of these in almost every rodent cage at pet stores that I’ve seen. You can recreate a plastic igloo like this by cutting a hole in an old Tupperware.
Tutorials for all of the shown hammocks can be found by clicking on the photo. (Some do not include tutorials yet, but they will be coming soon, pinkie swear.)
I hang all of my hammocks with string, but safety pins have also worked for me.
This hammock is great for the rat that likes to have a cover on top his head when sleeping.
This is a honeycomb hammock. It is basically three hammocks sew together.
This is a peek-a-boo hammock, I made this one really large, but you can make them any size you want.
This is just a super simple hammock, no pockets, no cover, just a hammock. They run across this more than they sleep on it.
Rats love to climb, and although the bars on their cage give them some opportunity to climb, adding some ledges will be greatly appreciated.
My pocket hammock is in a difficult to reach place, and I had a fall trying to get to it (don’t worry I caught him). All of these toys I found in the bird section at PetSmart. The rope they will climb on to get to all of the hammocks I have hung there. They like use the ladder and ledge to get into the pocket hammock, and sometimes just like to perch them selves on them and stay there looking out at all of my room.
They also LOVE their lava ledge
I will see two or even three of them all trying to stay on this little thing. I don’t know what it is about it, but they really seem to like it.
They really love using their wheel. Cecil and Toby will often run in it together at the same time. I would defiantly get a good large wheel that has a solid floor if you have young or female rats. If you have young female rats you might even want to get two depending on how many rats you have.
click photos for tutorial
This Dixie cup treat toy is great to get your rats active and doing something with their time.
click photo for tutorial
This treat ball has the similar idea of the Dixie cup treat toy, in that it gets your rats excited, and keeps them entertained.
Other good toys include:
- Cat toys(plastic or wicker balls work great)
- Bird mirrors
- Bird foraging toys
Just get a little creative and look in all parts of the pet store for good toys.
Food and water
I have found that glass water bottles work way better than the plastic ones. They can’t get chewed up (I have had to replace my plastic ones often due to chewing) plus the glass is BPA free. Although glass is more expensive upfront, you will save money in the long run.
Make sure that you have plenty of water available to your rats. It might even be a good idea to keep a spare on hand in case one breaks. I keep two in my cage. It is often nice to have two so that there is little fighting over the water.
Food dishes that are plastic don’t work well ether. Your rat will quickly flip it over and spill its contents everywhere. Having ceramic bowls is the way to go.