Rats

Diet:  2-3 yrs

Equipment:   Your basic enclosure for your rats will probably be either a cage or an aquarium tank. Wire cages with solid floors are best. For adult rats, a cage designed for a ferret or a Guinea pig will be the right size. Of course, Guinea pig cages will only work if the top is enclosed, and not all of them are. Unlike Guinea pigs, rats can climb very well. Remember: Rats are intelligent. You’ll be amazed at what they can escape from. If you choose a fish tank, be sure the screen cover attaches securely. Also, be sure to clean it thoroughly a few times a week. Glass tanks don’t have good ventilation, and ammonia build-up from your rat’s’ urine will make a tank a very unhealthy place in just a few days.

Diet:  Your rats need to have fresh, clean water available all the time. Water bottles sold for rodents are perfect. Glass water bottles are best, to prevent possible gnawing.  Rats  have incisor teeth that grow continuously. These little guys need to have something to chew on, to wear the teeth down. Chew-toys are good for this. Readily available rat food that is high quality is good for their primary diet.  Add pieces of fresh fruit, raw or cooked vegetables, bits of left-over meat from your own meals, breakfast cereal, spoonfuls of hummus and yogurt, bits of cheese, and so on. If it is a healthy snack for you, it’s probably a healthy snack for your rat.

Housing:  Pet rats are pretty comfortable in most home situations. They are great pets for families with children, and they are relatively easy to take care of.  Rats need to explore. Within the cage, give your little guys boxes and tubes to crawl. Some rats enjoy an exercise wheel and some don’t. If you decide to buy one for your pet, be sure it is a large one. Most of them are too small for rats. If he needs to bend his back at all, it is too small. If it is made of wire, it is unsafe because feet and tails will get caught in the gaps. There are a few solid-plastic wheels suitable for rats.  They will also need a sleeping den to feel safe and secure within their habitat.

The bedding materials you choose for your rats can make the difference between a long, healthy life for your pets and a short, sickly one. It’s that important. Avoid any bedding made from softwood.  Cedar shavings, spruce shavings, and pine shavings are all bad. Birch is bad, too. Never, ever use them in your pet’s enclosures. Instead, choose paper-based bedding or aspen shavings if you must use wood. Clumping litters should be avoided for the same reason they should not be used for kittens: sometimes litter gets swallowed, and clumping litter expands in the stomach.  You will also need a heavy ceramic bow for food and a glass water bottle.  Tunnels and tubes are great for your pet rat to explore.  A sleeping/hiding den will help your pet feel safe and secure at night.

Oxow

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Information

Diet:  2-3 yrs

Equipment:   Your basic enclosure for your rats will probably be either a cage or an aquarium tank. Wire cages with solid floors are best. For adult rats, a cage designed for a ferret or a Guinea pig will be the right size. Of course, Guinea pig cages will only work if the top is enclosed, and not all of them are. Unlike Guinea pigs, rats can climb very well. Remember: Rats are intelligent. You’ll be amazed at what they can escape from. If you choose a fish tank, be sure the screen cover attaches securely. Also, be sure to clean it thoroughly a few times a week. Glass tanks don’t have good ventilation, and ammonia build-up from your rat’s’ urine will make a tank a very unhealthy place in just a few days.

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Care and Feeding

Diet:  Your rats need to have fresh, clean water available all the time. Water bottles sold for rodents are perfect. Glass water bottles are best, to prevent possible gnawing.  Rats  have incisor teeth that grow continuously. These little guys need to have something to chew on, to wear the teeth down. Chew-toys are good for this. Readily available rat food that is high quality is good for their primary diet.  Add pieces of fresh fruit, raw or cooked vegetables, bits of left-over meat from your own meals, breakfast cereal, spoonfuls of hummus and yogurt, bits of cheese, and so on. If it is a healthy snack for you, it’s probably a healthy snack for your rat.

Housing:  Pet rats are pretty comfortable in most home situations. They are great pets for families with children, and they are relatively easy to take care of.  Rats need to explore. Within the cage, give your little guys boxes and tubes to crawl. Some rats enjoy an exercise wheel and some don’t. If you decide to buy one for your pet, be sure it is a large one. Most of them are too small for rats. If he needs to bend his back at all, it is too small. If it is made of wire, it is unsafe because feet and tails will get caught in the gaps. There are a few solid-plastic wheels suitable for rats.  They will also need a sleeping den to feel safe and secure within their habitat.

The bedding materials you choose for your rats can make the difference between a long, healthy life for your pets and a short, sickly one. It’s that important. Avoid any bedding made from softwood.  Cedar shavings, spruce shavings, and pine shavings are all bad. Birch is bad, too. Never, ever use them in your pet’s enclosures. Instead, choose paper-based bedding or aspen shavings if you must use wood. Clumping litters should be avoided for the same reason they should not be used for kittens: sometimes litter gets swallowed, and clumping litter expands in the stomach.  You will also need a heavy ceramic bow for food and a glass water bottle.  Tunnels and tubes are great for your pet rat to explore.  A sleeping/hiding den will help your pet feel safe and secure at night.

Oxow