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Rat Lovers - Cage Help!

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Samara

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I have two male ratties, Copernicus and Coggs. I just upgraded them to their permanent dwelling today because previously Copey was too small and fit through the bars. I adopted him at 2 weeks old :)grumpy:) and fixed him up and he's now 5 weeks plus a couple of days and growing strong. His unrelated brother is Coggs; Coggs is a few months old and quite a bit bigger. He was a rescue feeder rat that has just started learning to trust humans. He now takes treats from fingers, accepts ear rubs, but does not like to be anywhere on said human.

I'm looking for suggestions to spruce up their environment. I want to add engaging and mentally stimulating toys and accessories. Right now they have a large parakeet nesting box as a house and they only come out for food and water then scamper back in. This was also the case when they were in the smaller barred caged. Copey is much more willing to come out and see me, ride on me, all those things because he was handled so much by me when he came home. He just really loves being with Coggs!

I don't want to force any more change than necessary on them; the upgraded cage was necessary. I don't like to take them out of their houses unless it's an emergency (which thankfully we haven't had yet), because I respect that the house is their private sanctuary (similar to pulling a rabbit out of his/her enclosure; generally we like to allow them to come out on their own).

I'm hiding treats throughout the cage already; dried treats that won't spoil quickly and also some of their regular food (lab blocks). They do take me up on people food though; they will get a small plate of rat appropriate things: last night they had a small porkchop bone to gnaw on, some cheesy mashed potatoes and spinach. That doesn't stay in long though and I do have to take out anything they pull into their house that could spoil. I tempt them out first though.

Take a look at the pictures and let me know what good ideas might cheer this cage up? They do have a hammock, but it's in the washing machine as we speak because it was in the previous cage and was due for a washing.

The box on the second shelf (the cardboard box) has a few toys in it but they haven't touched it.

Thanks guys!









 

Samara

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Here's a before cage picture. As you can see it's wicked tiny, but it served its purpose and got us through till Copey could handle staying in the larger cage.

Copey is a double rex; that means he was born with a full coat that was rex curly (for the rabbit lovers: when a rat is called "rex" picture an astrex rabbit), but having 2 rex parents means he has the recessive double gene that makes his hair fall out in patches. He essentially looks like he's undergoing chemotherapy much of the time. It's normal and he's healthy. Right now he's grown his coat back and is a beige berkshire colored rattie. (That means beige on top with a white belly). :)

So that's why he looks weird!



 

Nelsons_Mom

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Unless you were to have seniors, which you obviously don't, I like ramps out and bird ropes in! They'll either climb the bars or the ropes to get from level to level. It's great to keep the squish that males seem to get with age on check.

And it sounds like your one boy could use some trust training, though it def. Seems like he's making progress! Having the friendlier boy around should also help him come out of his shell. Unlike a lot of animals, rats are able to learn by watching others do. Him seeing that his buddy thinks your cool will help him to learn the same thing. To help him along, it's helpful to have treats on a spoon (like yogurt) that he has to stay next to you for a while to eat rather than something he can run away with like a cheerio.
 

littl3red

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I have two rats too (Pixel and Kentucky, currently living at my boyfriend's house because I'm so allergic and he was tired of me crying about possibly having to give them away :cry2) and I know they really like bird toys! A lot of bird toys are very mentally stimulating, not to mention colorful. :)
 

Nelsons_Mom

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Oh my gosh so cute! Why was he away from mom, if you don't mind my asking? (Since you seemed to disapprove, which is right).

Also glad that theyve moved into the bigger cage and you realize that it's not a permanent solution. (You should see some of the horrors people come to rat forums with).
 

Samara

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Ohh I hadn't thought of bird ropes! I put the dowel in as a climbing section, but ropes would be better. I'll pick some up!

I've been giving them baby food on a spoon recently. Coggs likes to try to scamper away with the spoon. :p

He'll come around! I've had rats before but it's been just over a year. It takes a bit of swing to gear my mind from rabbits to rats.

I have a page on my blog dedicated to my past ratties: http://raisincane.weebly.com/ode-to-past-rats.html

:thumbup
 

Samara

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Bird toys; I've been meaning to get some shreddy ones for the bunners...I'll check them out for the ratties too :) I hate how expensive they are! I used to make hanging toys with paper towel rolls and toilet paper rolls. I'd string them up and stuff them with paper and snacks. :)

Copey's uninformed "breeder" wanted to sell them sooner. Copey is the product of an inbred litter where his mother and father were only 4 months old. Some of the little ones didn't make it. It broke my heart to only take Copey, but to take them all would mean she would just do it all over again. I hated myself for only taking one, but he was in the most need and I knew others were coming to see the other babies later in the day.

Situations like that are so effing hard. As a human I wanted to punch the person out and take all of the babies and adults. I was rooted to the floor wanting to save them all. Then I thought of all the other babies that would be had and the cycle would just keep repeating. I took only Copey and forced myself to leave. (I already had Coggs at home who I picked up the same day).

Blerg.
 

wendymac

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Mine always loved Deep Pea Diving! A paint roller tray (I used a plastic one but any would do). Add water (I usually had it partway up the "ramp") and some frozen peas. They'll have a blast!

Another favorite was the digging box. I filled a litter box with topsoil and let them go to town. They got dirty, and usually flung dirt everywhere, but had fun doing it.

Tunnels, tunnels, and more tunnels! I made tunnels out of the metal dryer stuff (flexible) and made all kinds of twists and turns in it.

Rats are so much fun! And they're so smart! If not for hubby I would have purchased more when my girls all passed on (not at the same time, in case you started to panic. LOL). But he's anti-rodent and it was even pushing it bringing a rabbit into the house. lol
 

Samara

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Wendy, lol, oh geez. My husband had rats before me and loves them. He prefers girls, but because he wouldn't have pets if he was single he leaves the choices up to me. I like a shoulder rats. Girls are wicked entertaining to watch, but I like me a slower-paced rattie friend.

I've tried the pea diving in the past and my now deceased bubs weren't keen on it. Nothing says these guys won't be! Thanks for the tip!

I do a dig box for Colt, Lucky and Kayla (ferrets); it DOES make an epic mess, but good entertainment for sure!

DRYER TUBES! A+ idea! I'm planning...

:hearts:
 

Nelsons_Mom

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Samara wrote:
Copey's uninformed "breeder" wanted to sell them sooner. Copey is the product of an inbred litter where his mother and father were only 4 months old. Some of the little ones didn't make it. It broke my heart to only take Copey, but to take them all would mean she would just do it all over again. I hated myself for only taking one, but he was in the most need and I knew others were coming to see the other babies later in the day.

Blerg.
That's rough. That's much too young for even a rat to be a mommy! It's a good thing that rats are highly tolerant to inbreeding. I can't decide if it was better that the person got them out young and didn't have 5 week old moms from not separating the sexes in time or not. I guess nothing about it was an ideal situation. I just hope that that person is NOT planning on doing that again. The fact that he wanted the babies out so young suggests live feeder breeder to me :/
 

silversky2668

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Beautiful ratties :inlove: And a nice big cage! I have two females and they LOVE hammocks--Have you heard of Mainely Rat Rescue? They're a rescue for rats (obviously) but they also have an online store where you can order loads of different hammocks:

http://mainelyratrescue.org/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=11&zenid=bab598fe8bfdae7fc8cedd5d5011eea7

My girls love the double deckers and bunk beds. They also love the cubes, but they chew them all to heck and so they don't last that long.

They have other toys to choose from, too. But of course, if you don't have a lot of money to spend on that site (which I usually order a couple things every few months because I like supporting them, but I can't order tons of stuff), then I suggest going to a thrift store or Salvation Army. You can get wicker baskets, small plastic storage cubes, wire fruit baskets for climbing, old desk caddies to hang up like a little house, etc...and someone here suggested bird ropes, which are great, and you can also get bird branches/ladders. Give them the cardboard box and fill it with shredded paper or toilet paper.

This thing is pretty popular with rats:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=6067+10434+21305&pcatid=21305
 

Samara

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Updates! I worked on the cage yesterday but didn't have a chance between this one and the rabbits' NIC condo to post pictures.

I added a portion of carpeting and bought some rope and weaved it through for climbing! I did leave the ramps in, but they are enjoying the ropes too. I moved their cage up into the kitchen for more interaction during meal times. I also added their hammock that was in the washing machine during the previous post.

Check it out!

Recommendations always welcome.









 

Nelsons_Mom

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It looks really good!

One thing I would recommend is to move their hammocks and hidey boxes to different levels each time you clean the cage. There is no better Rat TV than watching them "Explore" all of their stuff that is in a new location.

Oh! And I always ordered my food from Mainely Rat Rescue! I fed HT (since Mazuri is sooo expensive and a little too high in protein for my liking) and it was really cheap there and a nice thought to know that my money was going back to a rescue instead of a pet store or another online retailer. Especially since at Amazon or something you can only buy 50lb bags of HT. I would never have gone through that in time!

Do you mind posting more pictures of your little guys? I'm going through serious rat withdraw these days. :c
 

wendymac

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Love the cage setup!!! I'd love to see more rattie pictures, too. I miss my girls terribly. As soon as hubby kicks the bucket, I'm getting more!
 

MLS

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Very cute ratties! Your double rex reminds me of a pair of double rex brothers I had before our current pair. Is he odd/clumsy compared to your normal coated rat? I'd always had hairless ( or double rexes ) before the current two rats, one of which is rex and the other is standard haired ( my fiance prefers the fluffy rats :p), and I've noticed that the hairless would act very different from these fluffy guys. Might have just been our oddballs though. We're in the process of looking for a third rat to add to our pair and if possible, I'd suggest the same to you especially if your boys have a decent age difference. Our current pair have a decent age difference, one was a feeder tank rescue and already at adult size when we got him and the second we got at 12 weeks old, so we're geting a third so that when one passes on ( the one downside to rats :c ), the remaining boy will still have someone.

Also, echoing that bird toys are great. They make some awesome foraging toys for birds, some of which involved puzzles like turning parts of the toy to gain access to whats hidden inside, that you can stuff with food/treats/paper to encourage playing.
 

Samara

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Awesome tips, thank you!

Copey (the double rex) has been pretty agile so far; he can maneuver the ropes and ramps as well as Coggs. It is a squishy boy and loves his head rubs.

Aging quickly is definitely a huge downside to rats. The only one for me really. There is a couple of month age difference between them; Coggs isn't full grown yet but he's definitely well on his way. I'll talk to my husband and see if he wants to make our guys a trio.

It would fit the pattern...3 rabbits, 3 ferrets... LOL !
 

littl3red

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I always had three rats, for the same reason. I have two now, because I can't get any more, they had to move to my boyfriend's house because I'm so allergic. I miss them like crazy though. They were almost like tiny humans, they were so funny to watch. :( I remember taking them out one time when I was at my boyfriend's house and Kentucky was standing behind me and kept peeking out just a little bit at the cat. Pixel, on the other hand, terrifies the cat, and the cat wants nothing to do with him. XD
 

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