Hello! This post will list seven accessory ideas for your pet rats to enjoy. These items are inexpensive, (mostly) easy to clean, and will hopefully inspire you to find or make some great enrichment toys for your ratties!
1. Storage Crate – $5-10
Also known as a milk or file crate, these plastic storage containers can be lots of fun for your rats. Watch for hole size – you want the holes to be large enough that your largest rat can comfortable squeeze through without getting stuck. In this example, I’ve clipped a hammock inside the crate to make the accessory more interesting.
I’ve found several variations of this basic wine rack design at various thrift stores and even garage sales. They’re fun for rats to climb on and hide out in. I recommend using an unvarnished/unfinished rack, because you don’t want them chewing on potentially toxic chemicals. Ikea sells a good wine rack for $10.
The downside of having a wooden accessory is the possible exposure to lice or mites; be sure to freeze any wooden toys for at least 24 hours before letting the rats play with them. Also, since wood is difficult to clean, this won’t be a long term toy.
I use these bowls to provide fresh water or food snacks to the rats. The solid, wide-based shape of these bowls is great because it is virtually impossible for rats to tip them over. Also marketed as “no-tip” or “solid-base”, you can find these for around $5.00 at most pet stores.
Note that if you provide fresh water in a bowl, you’ll have to be extra vigilant about changing the water and keeping it clean, as it’s very easy for droppings or other contaminates to dirty the water. However, I think it’s worth it to see your ratties drinking and cleaning themselves from a dish, which is more natural than drinking or trying to clean from a spout.
4. Corner shelf – $1.50
I got this little corner shelf from Daiso Japan, a themed import store. I used zip ties to anchor this lightweight shelf to the side of the cage as a climbing and hiding area for the rats.
This pipe makes a fund hiding place for your rats. The ribbed surface provides better climbing traction than your typical PVC pipe, and this pipe is hinged so you can lay it flat and have two separate hiding areas (for small or medium rats).
6. Storage bin – $1 (Dollar Tree)
This bin came from my local Dollar Tree store, but it’s a very common design. I like this bin because it actually has holes in the upper rim, so I can easily fasten it to the side of the cages without drilling. This makes a good climbing shelf or cozy area.
7. Cozy winter hats (thrift store, $1-3)
I’ve highlighted winter hats as cage accessories before, but wanted to show a few more styles and options. A couple of my rats have proven to be committed chewers, so I go through a lot of hats. You can nearly always find these at the second hand store for a steal.
When looking at hats, choose a material that isn’t knitted or threaded, because the strings can cause injuries by wrapping around tiny fingers and toes. The hats pictured are made from fleece or faux-sheepskin material.
You can use the hats as they are as snuggle spots, or check out my reinforced beanie snuggle tutorial to make more of a cave.
For more accessory ideas, don’t forget to view my other roundup posts: