DIY Tutorial: Play Area Fencing

1 Tutorial Cover

This tutorial will explain how to create free-range play area fencing for your pet rats.  I like this particular fencing for several reasons – it’s made of a lightweight (but sturdy) plastic; it’s easy to clean; it’s designed in hinged sections for flexible positioning, and the slick surface is difficult for rats to climb on.  I haven’t found a comparable, affordable alternative in pet stores.

8 Graph

Note:  this fencing is not foolproof and your rats will still require supervision!  Rats are curious, clever creatures, and may be able to dig under or jump over the fence; indoor or outdoor predators like the family cat or a hawk could easily get inside the fence.  As always, your pets should be monitored while free-ranging, especially if they are outdoors.

Supplies needed:

  • Sheets of corrugated plastic.  I purchased two 72”x36” sheets from Home Depot for about $14 each.
  • Plastic zip ties

Tools needed:

  • Yardstick
  • Drill
  • Cutting tool (sturdy scissors or an Exacto knife).  A table saw would be nice 😉

2 Step 1

1.  Measure your sheets of corrugated plastic.  I chose to cut my two 72” x 36” sheets into thirds, leaving me with six 24” x 36” sheets.  Using the Exacto knife, carefully make your cuts through the corrugated sheets – go slow and be safe!  You aren’t trying to cut completely through the sheets in one go, but rather scoring one side of the sheets.

3 Step 2 2.  After your first cuts, carefully bend the sheets along the score lines as depicted; this will cause the plastic to “crack” on the side that you scored with the Exacto knife.  Flip the sheets over and carefully cut the second side, using the score lines as cutting guides.

4 Step 3 3. Stack the sheets of plastic, making sure they are as even as possible.   Using a yardstick, mark where the connecting holes will be drilled for the plastic zip ties.

5 Step 4

4. Drill the holes.  You can drill the sheets individually, or stack them and drill through multiple layers at once.  While this can definitely be done by one person, it would be helpful to have an extra set of hands to hold the sheets steady.

6 Step 5 5. Attach the plastic zip ties.  The ties should be fastened tight so the rats cannot push between the sheets of plastic, but not so tight that you can’t easily position them.

At this point, you can decide whether you will create an enclosure by connecting all the pieces, or create a line of fencing by leaving the ends unconnected. Remember, you can always change your mind by adding or removing zip ties.

7 Step 6 Tada!  Finished fencing.  You can now position the fencing inside or outside your home.  I use the fencing to block off a 6’ x 10’ area in my side yard.  To keep the ratty boys from pushing past the ends of the fence, I’ve braced the ends with cinder blocks.

Remember, if you choose to let your rats free range outdoors, you’ll need to inspect the area for chemicals, live wires, escape points, poisonous plants and other hazards. My boys have enjoyed several hours in this safe environment, but I never leave them unattended, since predators could get in or the ratties could dig underneath the fence.

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