Free Range and Rat Proofing Your House - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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Free Range and Rat Proofing Your House

Posted 03-23-2012 at 10:36 AM by

It can't be stressed enough, that the more time you spend interacting with your rats and letting them out of their cage for play time, the happier, and friendlier your little friends will be. How much is enough? Rats kept in pairs or groups in a properly sized cage (for the size of your group of rats) should get at minimum, an hour a day out of their cage. Rats kept in small cages, or kept alone, can need as much as six hours a day out with you to remain well adjusted and happy.

Free range is a fancy word that just means letting your rat out of its cage to play loose in a room or other rat proofed area. This can be in a play pen, on a couch, on a table, on a bed, in a bathroom, or the floor of a room.

Rat Proofing is removing all hazards and fragile items from a rat's free range environment so he doesn't get hurt, or doesn't damage your belongings.

What does it take for an area to be rat proofed? First and foremost it helps to understand what a rat can and will do.

Rats are rodents. Rodents are a class of mammals having a single pair of constantly growing incisor teeth specialized for gnawing. This means of course that their front teeth are always growing and always need to be filed down. Rats file their own teeth by chewing. And chewing. And chewing. They can and will chew on anything they can get their teeth into, especially if they suspect some kind of ratty reward for doing so such as escape through a hole under a sink. They can never be taught not to chew. They aren't bad or naughty for chewing, and they aren't trying to pick on you. They are rats. They chew on carpeting, baseboards, drywall, bedding, electrical wires, ming vases, plants, homework, books, couches, and occasionally, apparently, toenails.

Rats can fit through any opening into which they can fit their skulls. This can be as small as one inch square or in some cases slightly less. Because they are driven by a very acute sense of hearing and smell, they can find their way to tiny openings you might never have known existed. Also, just because a rat can enter an opening, does not mean he will easily choose to find his way back out of the opening again.

Rats are heavy for their size. Which means that they can be injured in a fall of as little as 3-4 feet if the surface they land on is hard or otherwise hazardous. As of this writing, I have lost one of my own boys to a spinal fracture that I suspect was a fall from the tank of our toilet, or one of our bookshelves, or even from the top shelf in his cage to the cage floor.

Rats are faster than you. They can easily slip through a cracked door, or run underfoot and be crushed.

Rats can jump higher and further than you think, and climb well. Beware open windows and don't bank on placing something high being safe if there is a climbable surface nearby.

Rats are curious. Curiosity has taken more than cats.

Rats love to burrow into comfy hiding places.

So, now that you are thinking like a rat with safety in mind, how can you rat proof a rat's play area. Since I have a word limit to my blog, I'm going to provide the tips in a link.

These tips are from Nikki at Disco's rats/80stoysale rats. Visit Nikki's site for this and much more awesome ratty info. Thank you Nikki for allowing me to use your site:
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