3 Ways to Set up a Pet Rat Cage - wikiHow

DIY Ikea Hack: Bookshelf turned into rat mansion/cage! inspired by Makemoore blog. #petratsarecool
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Wire cages with shelves and a plastic/metal bottom are most used by rat breeders and pet keepers now. Owners are able to get more interaction with the rats through the wire bars without having to take them out, and the rats love the levels to climb on. Wire cages with levels would take up less of a footprint on a table for its cubic footage compared to what an aquarium of the same approximate cubic footage (such as a 60-gallon tank) would need. They also allow hammocks and other toys to be easily attached inside the cage and the water bottle would not need a separate holder but would be attached from the outside of the cage. On the down side, wire cages can be too drafty (keep any cage away from open windows, fans blowing right at the cage, or overhead ducts that would blow right into the cage), allow the bedding to fall out, are harder to clean and disinfect, and corrode after long exposure to urine (the powder-coated wire rat cages are a little easier to clean than non-powder coated ones).
♥ Small Pet DIY ♥ DIY C&C Rat Cage would be good for guinea pigs and ferretts too
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If your rats are moving around a lot less or more slowly, this could be a sign that it is too hot for them to handle. Pet rats are fairly active animals - my two girls love to run around the cage hiding food or chasing each other. Think about how you feel when it’s too hot outside; you’d likely be less motivated to mow the lawn, run laps around the block or even move from your lawn chair. If your rat seems less motivated to move around, this might be a warning sign. So cool! A rat cage, but I love people who take their pets seriously! :D
Photo provided by FlickrDIY Ikea Hack: Bookshelf turned into rat mansion/cage! inspired by Makemoore blog. #petratsarecool
Photo provided by FlickrSo cool! A rat cage, but I love people who take their pets seriously! :D
Photo provided by Flickr
Fortunately there are many ways to outfit a rat cage to turn it into a comfortable and interesting environment using both home made and store bought items. When shopping at the pet stores check out the accessories for other animals besides rats such as ferrets, chinchillas, birds, etc. Even the local hardware store and the dollar store can be a source of cage accessories. Creativity is the key to setting up a happy and safe environment for your rats. Rats spend quite a bit of time sleeping and lounging around. Warm cozy beds and lofty sleeping spots are both equally important for your rat. You will need to provide your rat with a nest box that he can hide in to sleep. You can find items at the pet store such as large igloos, chinchilla bathhouses, roll-a-nest beds, ferret ball connectors, roll-a-nest balls, and log cabin homes among others. On a more creative side you can use plastic bowls turned upside down with a large hole drilled in it, 4” PVC pipe, sturdy cardboard boxes, and even plastic storage boxes with holes notched into them. There are many possibilities.Used aquariums may be obtained at garage sales and swap meets for an inexpensive price but are breakable and can beheavy. To clean the very large tanks it works best to just scoop out the litter (or use a shop vac), spray down the glass with animal safe cleaner such as Nolvasan or Roccal-D, wipe clean, then add fresh bedding. These could be used for older rats that could injure themselves falling off of shelves in wire cages, or rats that have trouble getting around due to age issues or a defect. The 10 to 20-long gallon size are good for mom rats with new litters to keep the babies safe compared to being in a wire cage where they can be drug up shelves and possibly falling off or squeezing through the bars. Some breeders use the 15–20-long gallon tanks for when they do breedings. A 40–60 gallon tank is a good size for 2 rats with plenty of room for a wheel (if you have females) and house plus the out-time you give them. Unfortunately, you would not be able to easily hang a hammock or toys inside the tank unless you hung them from the lid. A water bottle would need to be hung inside the cage with a bottle protector. With the right lid the rats will get proper ventilation, and if the cage smells, then you are not cleaning the cage out often enough. Aquariums keep the bedding in the cage and keep fingers from being poked in and possibly getting bit unlike what can happen in a wire cage. We use large aquariums for our displays to keep fingers from being poked in at the rats and they offer an unobstructed view. A large aquarium might be the preferred choice if you have small children or these are going to be classroom pets for small children. Aquariums, bird cages, rabbit cages, or homemade cages used to be the only caging choice many years ago before companies starting making cages just for rats. There are many caging options and we leave the decision up to each person as to what works best for them based on the species, size, sex, number, and type of pets. For example, Dwarf rats could be housed in cages smaller than what you would house two normal-size females in or you could put more Dwarfs per cage than what you would with normal rats.Bedding & Substrate
You should provide enough bedding in the bottom of the cage to completely cover the bottom and add a layer of cushioning. Your pet will rearrange the bedding and other items in his cage and possibly make nests out of the bedding.