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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking into getting a pair of rats and I've been doing some research and a lot of the fair-priced cages all seem to not be just right. Even really expensive ones seem to have bad reviews because of small things, like wire floors, not enough levels, a level layout that just barely prevents a hammock, etc. I've been looking at PetSmart and PetCo's cages because they're the local companies.<br><br>
So anyways I was thinking of converting a dog crate that I don't use into a rat cage. That way, it's spacious, the base won't cost me like a cage will, and I have more freedom to design it exactly perfect for rats, by putting in the levels, toys, hammocks, and other accessories exactly how I want, and I can pick the perfect ones. Looking at some of the higher brand rat cages, I think the holes of the crate (it's a basic black dog crate/cage) shouldn't be big enough for a rat to get through. In some research, it seems noone has done it, but there's advice on how to convert a crate, and if the holes are too large I can get wire mesh and wire tie them to the edges of the crate on all the sides, or I could get some spare chicken wire or similar material, but does anyone know anything about converting and would you need to add extra wire over the holes?<br><br>
Also, what is the best pair of genders to get first? It seems like two girls would be best, but I'm not sure. And is there a significant difference between dumbo and fancy rats, and which do you have/prefer? Also, do you have any other tips about rats, and tips for rat proofing an area? Do you have a playpen for them?<br><br>
I've been doing research on rats, but I also want to hear straight from those with rat experience because I know this forum has some great, experienced rat owners. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Don't know anything about converting, sorry. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("> But I wish you luck. My boyfriend bought two of this type of cage for his rats: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=veggieboards.com-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSuper-Pet-First-Multi-Floor-Large%2Fdp%2FB0002DJ29A%2Fref%3Dsr_1_6%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1320719776%26sr%3D8-6" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Super-Pet-Firs...0719776&sr=8-6</a><br><br>
We also have a $20 kennel carrier that's meant for tiny dogs for vet visits or anytime we need to move them, like when we moved to a new apartment.<br><br>
Two females are probably less likely to fight. I've read that they also tend to have more energy while males are more mellowed out. Although, one of our boys is extremely playful, goofy and a bit hyper. Two brothers from the same litter may also work out fine but males can become territorial. We've made repeated attempts to introduce unrelated male rats to each other but one of them is just too aggressive with our other guy. We're considering having him neutered to see if it would help with his aggression.<br><br>
There's no difference that I know of between dumbo rats and fancy rats other than where their ears sit on their heads. We care for two fancy rats. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> Dumbo rats are also very cute and remind me of giant mice but I have no preference over the two.<br><br>
Rats are <b>serious</b> climbers so you'd have to make sure they can't climb up the sides of a playpen. We temporarily used a tall/large cardboard box filled with toys as a playpen the first week or so that we had Mordie rat. Bathtubs also work well. They will still need to be supervised because it's likely they'll be able to jump out like ours did.<br><br>
When rat proofing, seriously check every inch of where they'll be roaming! There was a very small spacing underneath the bathroom counter of our old apartment that we were unable to see unless we had our eyeballs right underneath and stuck our hands in. We realized it was there when Mord's body disappeared under the counter. I had to snatch him out of there very quickly. We ended up taping cardboard over the spacing so they could roam the bathroom freely. Since moving, the entire house is pretty much rat proof after closing bedroom and bathroom doors. We try to keep the floors swept/vacuumed because Mikus is always looking for crumbs to pick up. Make sure they're not chewing wires or anything they're not supposed to also. Ours have been very good about not chewing wires. We also try to keep them out of the kitchen because they try to run behind the refrigerator and stove.<br><br>
If I can think of anything else, I'll edit this post. Good luck! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
Edit: Our rats are litter trained so they no longer poop where ever, whenever while playing. They have tiny litter trays sitting at the bottom of their cages. We trained them by picking up the poop from other areas of the cage and placed them in the trays every day or two. They eventually got the hint that they're supposed to poop in the tray. They're very smart so definitely look up different play activities and tricks to teach them! Our rats can jump on our shoulders on command, come when called / when we shake the treat box, go into their kennel carrier on command and they love fishing for frozen peas in a dish of water.<br><br>
They do enjoy play time outside of the cage so if it's possible, try to play with them whenever you can. Beds and couches can be good areas to play. They love laundry baskets filled with clothes too. Whenever I wear a sweatshirt or robe, our ratties hop in to crawl around and snuggle so that's another thing to try.<br><br>
As for treats, we keep dried oatmeal in their treat box. They also frequently enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. Bits of carrot, apple, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, banana, raspberries, frozen peas, frozen grapes, etc. There are lists of rat safe foods online. I'd stay away from peanut butter because they're unable to vomit (or burp) if anything gets stuck.
 

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Be careful when buying cages, rats can squeeze through small bars. Check out 2 Ferret Nations decked out for ratters:<br><br><br><img alt="" src="http://thesocialrat.com/images/colorferretnation.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
and<br><br><img alt="" src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v126/Darksong17/greysrats3407.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><br>
I'll get you more info soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Rhys, that looks like a nice cage. Is it very roomy, and escape-proof with the bar width? And I didn't realize it was that easy to litter train them!<br><br>
Danakscully, wow those cages are really filled! Do they like a lot of toys? I knew they mostly liked hammocks but I didn't realize they like that many in their cages, i thought they just needed one for each as a bed. And is it okay to give them empty soda boxes, or will they get sick from chewing the cardboard if you don't watch them?
 

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My rats didn't play with a lot of toys, but I admit I didn't have many for them. They do like hammocks, at least most do. And wheels. I always gave my rat, Albert, a box. He would chew and burrow in it. It was cute <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> He also stole paper towels when I had them near the cage.<br><br><br><img alt="" src="http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d13/danakscully64/albert-boxcage.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><img alt="" src="http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d13/danakscully64/nesting-albert.jpg" style="border:0px solid;">
 

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Aww I'd love a rat but my mum is terribly afraid of them so I can't have one until I leave home! I had degus (also rodents) and I had a John Hopewell cage specially made. It was expensive but well worth it - very roomy for them and good quality shelves. My favourite part of having them was adding things to their cage. I used to buy coloured plant pots from the supermarket that they couldn't chew (not for lack of trying) and they would use them to climb and to eat. It's so fun! Awww this post has made me want rats again! I also saw a great toy for them where you put some frozen peas at the bottom of a bowl of water and they apparently love diving for them!? I never tried it with the degus as they aren't swimmers like rats are! Good luck with them and keep updating on the cage and the progress of the new addition to your family! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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I don't get how a person can be afraid of a cute rat. They're so sweet and won't hurt <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smitten.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":smitten:"> Albert (pictured above) used to bite me, but I think he may have been blind or had limited vision because once he realized it was a finger, he stopped. I think he thought I was food.
 

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He is soo cute!! A very sweet little ratty! My Goos (Degus) would nibble my fingers to see if they were food but I don't think I got any real bites! I wish I could say the same for my poor cat who ventured over for a sniff <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p">
 

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Albert was adopted, his owner left him at Petco. The other rats in his cage had been adopted out already, he was all alone. I think he had some abandonment issues <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("> His bites were full blown bites, but I understand the nibble thing, my chinchillas do that. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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I don't know anything about the conversion (sorry) but two or three girlies are best! Also, where are you getting yours from & what will you call them? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Aww I wish I had a chinchilla! They are such beautiful little animals! But I would want a really massive enclosure for them and as I live at home - no room! Unless I sleep on the sofa and convert my room into a chinchilla jungle of sorts! My mum might not notice.... :/
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>peters_muppet</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3033225"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Aww I wish I had a chinchilla! They are such beautiful little animals! But I would want a really massive enclosure for them and as I live at home - no room! Unless I sleep on the sofa and convert my room into a chinchilla jungle of sorts! My mum might not notice.... :/</div>
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<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/laugh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":lol:"> My chinchillas are in a Ferret Nation (see post 3 here). They love it. I would love to put 2 FN's side by side like in the first picture, I might do that a few years from now, when I get my own house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>rags.</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3033210"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I don't know anything about the conversion (sorry) but two or three girlies are best! Also, where are you getting yours from & what will you call them? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"></div>
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I don't know yet where I will get them. When I had piggies I got them from PetSmart and they lived to full life spam and never had problems, but I've heard that PetSmart small animals aren't like the cats and dogs because they aren't from shelters and are more like from rat versions of puppy mills, so I'll probably cross my fingers that the local animal shelter takes rats and gets some soon or I'll check pennysavers or something for someone looking to rehome (I got my dog that way and that seems to be a great way because previous owners can tell me about the pets and their needs and everything). I will name them Disney names, so something like Minnie, Suzy or Perla (from the Cinderella mice), or Desiree (the name of Remy's mother in Ratatouille, who isn't shown in the movie but is prominent in concept artwork and story drafts) for females or Mickey, Mortimer, Gus or Jaq (Cinderella), or Remy or Emile (Ratatouille) for boys. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>disney.jessica</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3033337"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I don't know yet where I will get them. When I had piggies I got them from PetSmart and they lived to full life spam and never had problems, but I've heard that PetSmart small animals aren't like the cats and dogs because they aren't from shelters and are more like from rat versions of puppy mills, so I'll probably cross my fingers that the local animal shelter takes rats and gets some soon or I'll check pennysavers or something for someone looking to rehome (I got my dog that way and that seems to be a great way because previous owners can tell me about the pets and their needs and everything). I will name them Disney names, so something like Minnie, Suzy or Perla (from the Cinderella mice), or Desiree (the name of Remy's mother in Ratatouille, who isn't shown in the movie but is prominent in concept artwork and story drafts) for females or Mickey, Mortimer, Gus or Jaq (Cinderella), or Remy or Emile (Ratatouille) for boys. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"></div>
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Have you tried looking on petfinder?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>caseydoll</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3036687"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Have you tried looking on petfinder?</div>
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That's what I'm looking in right now, especially since my local shelter uses petfinder, so then I'll know when they have rats up for adoption. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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There are tons of rescues all over. Try googling your location and for rat rescues. You REALLY don't want get them at the stores. The mills are horrible and heartbreaking <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("><br><br>
I don't know where you live but if it happens to be anywhere near Southern California have a large cage I'm pretty much ready to give away.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>disney.jessica</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3032664"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Rhys, that looks like a nice cage. Is it very roomy, and escape-proof with the bar width? And I didn't realize it was that easy to litter train them!<br><br>
Danakscully, wow those cages are really filled! Do they like a lot of toys? I knew they mostly liked hammocks but I didn't realize they like that many in their cages, i thought they just needed one for each as a bed. And is it okay to give them empty soda boxes, or will they get sick from chewing the cardboard if you don't watch them?</div>
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Our ratties haven't escaped yet so I think it's fine. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p"> We adopted them at 3 months and 6 months old so I wouldn't know for rats younger than that. There's quite a lot of space for toys and climbing, 3 tiers plus the bottom level.<br><br>
A cheap way to make hammocks is to use an old towel or cut up an old T-shirt and clip them to the top cage bars using binder clips that you get from an office supply store. Make sure it's well secured so the hammocks don't fall. Our humane society taught us that trick and our ratties love their homemade hammocks all the same.<br><br>
Cardboard boxes are fine for ratties. We give ours empty cereal and Silk boxes (the one that holds two cartons of Silk in it). I'm not sure if I should be worrying about the dyes on the boxes. It's something I may look up.<br><br>
Another thing - make sure they have something to chew like a wooden chew block (sold at pet stores). They do grind their teeth on their own but it's good to have the chew toy to help keep their teeth from getting too long.
 
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