Tutorial: Play Area for Pet Rats

Hello!  This post is a guideline for setting up a basic play area for your pet rats.

Having opportunities to play outside the cage is a critical aspect of your rat’s well being – experts recommend a minimum of one hour of play time each day.  Rats need to run, climb, and be mentally stimulated, so it’s important to have an area that is both safe and fun.

Step One – choosing an area

Choose a safe place for your rats.  Avoid: objects with sharp end, objects with moving parts that might pinch an unsuspecting toe or tail.  Remove from the area: electrical wires and access to chemicals.  Also be sure there are no escape points – younger rats can fit through holes as small as ½”; mature rats can still fit in spaces around 1”.

Choose the largest area that you can.  Many people use their beds, or block off a safe area in a room.  In addition to spare bedroom play area, I have an air hockey table that works perfectly — It’s high enough from the ground that the rats won’t jump off, the surface can be covered with a thick blanket for easy cleaning, and is large enough to allow for an interesting play environment.

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Tutorial: Cardboard Box Hideout



This tutorial is all about using whatever you have around the house to provide a fun toy for your pet rats.  My rats love cardboard boxes – they’re fun to hide in, and fun to shred.  I like the cardboard boxes because they are inexpensive (in fact, the boxes pictured here were free from the grocery store) and disposable.

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Fun Accessory: Little Blue House


Well, I can’t really justify this post as a tutorial!  I just wanted to share this cute toy I found at the thrift store the other day wandering through the children’s section.  This little house makes a great rat accessory because it is solid plastic, easy to clean, and has no sharp edges.  It’s also the perfect size for a rattie to curl up and take a snooze inside.  There’s also a chimney on top, which allows a second point of access or spying.
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Tutorial: Puppy Pad Liners



This quick example is not really a tutorial, but shows how to use puppy pads as an additional liner in your pet rat cages.

When coupled with fleece liners, puppy pads provide an additional layer of absorbency and help to reduce odors.  You can buy a pack of five from most dollar stores; or, you can purchase liners in bulk from most pet stores.

Please note that if your rats are chewers, liners may not be a good idea. Please be sure to read my post on the potential hazards of puppy pad liners.
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