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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there! I am a new rat owner and I am so excited about getting to know my new babies. I have 2 Dumbo rats, Patrick and Hat (he looks like he is wearing a hat).
My question to you is: I read a lot on here about rats having run of the house, but I am nervous about letting my rats out of the cage and wandering. My house is 2 stories, rather large and open in design, cluttered, I have Kindergarten aged children and I also have a Shar Pei that would harm Pat and Hat if given a chance. Right now I try to give them cage free time in a 15X4 hallway that I can block off at least 2 times a day. I want my rats to be happy but I am starting to wonder if my boys will ever really be content. I really want to be a good mom for them!
Also, I can't tell if the boys are fighting our playing, but it sounds quite scary when they are running all over the cage and one is squeaking. Do I need to separate? They don't sleep together. I have a multilevel cage and one sleeps near the top and one sleeps on the bottom. Thanks! I know this post is LONG.
 

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Hello and welcome! You are right to be nervous about your rats being in the house with small children and a dog as you want your new ratties to be safe but also to have lots of outside time from their house to keep them happy and let them have lots of exercise. Rats need outside time to explore and letting them have a safe and contained area for outside time is just fine! Most people with rats have a special area that is safe for the rats to run around and also easy for you to keep an eye on them. The closed off hallway sounds fine as long as your dog cannot get to them and there are no hazards, like electrical cords, etc. Many rat owners use a special area like a bed, or couch for their ratties' playtime. My husband and I used to have our two rat boys play on top of our queen size bed, with lots of throw blankets for them to hide under and make tunnels...they loved it. That is one option. Also, just as a reminder, remember never to leave your rats alone with either the kids or your dog of course. Always supervise their outside time.

As for your rats seeming like they are fighting, are they brothers, from the same litter? If two rats from different litters are put together without proper and slow introduction times, that can be trouble. If they are brothers/from the same litter of rats though, there can still usually be some tussles from time to time as the boys decide on who is the alpha rat and some squeaks can be expected, but if you see serious fighting (i.e. blood or actual biting) that is a different story. I love your rat boys' names! You will LOVE being a rat mommy. Rats are simply amazing. Major heart stealers...you will just fall in love with them, if you have not already!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
As far as I know they are from the same litter. They are exactly the same size and from the same cage. I have to admit I got them from PetSmart. In the future I will look into breeders.
I am glad to hear that the hallway will work for now. I plan on looking into constructing some moveable walls so I can have them with me in larger areas. My house is an open floor plan and doors are extra, extra wide.
I guess I worry that they will go under furniture and I will never see them again. The hall doesn't have anything in it except what I put in there for the babes to explore. Thank you for the morale booster :D!! I was starting to worry I had made a bad judgement call on having rat babies.
 

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No not at all! :) You are doing great it sounds like! The fact that you are worrying about doing what is best for your babies is a sign that you CARE about them and you want to be a really good rat mommy so you are doing great and you have the right attitude!

The hallway sounds great! Any area of space that can be contained and safe for your babies works just fine! You can put cardboard boxes, blankies and other toys for them in the hallway for them to play with and explore too. Instant ratty playground. Great for stimulating them and keeping them excited and happy to check out their outside play area.

I am sure Patrick and Hat are from the same litter since you got them from the same group at PetSmart, so that is great. They are most definitely just doing their little squabbles right now to decide who is the top ratty of the pack, heh heh. Can't wait to see photos of your new boys! I know they don't allow posting of pictures on this forum until a new forum member has done 20 posts, but soon, hopefully, we can see photos of your new darlings. :)
Hope you come back whenever you want with questions! There seem to be a million questions when one is new to being a rat mommy, but questions are GOOD, because they mean you want the best for your new kids. Have fun and keep us posted! :D
 
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