Do they seem unhappy?


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    3
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Arisa Ivins

New Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2019
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0
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37355
I was given two rats yesterday by my friend, who bought them from a woman so they wouldn't be used as feed rats. I went to petco to buy everything (I hope) they needed. They're both males, we were told they're brothers. I just want to make sure they're content and don't need anything else. They generally stay on the middle level of their cage, and haven't been in their shack. They've only been here about 12 hours but I'm worried there's a reason why they don't normally go to the floor and constantly stay cuddled up with each other. Do they feel unsafe? One of them seems to keep the other from drinking with him. Do I need to buy a second bottle? I'm planning on taking them to the vet today for a full checkup. I have a cat who has always been an indoor, and is afraid of every animal she's ever met (including a tiny little holland lop rabbit we once lived with). She checked them out for about two hours trying to figure out what they were and hasn't been near the cage since. I have no experience taking care of rodents, so I just want to make sure I'm doing everything I can, thanks.
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SunflowerPop

New Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2018
Messages
3
Location
TX
The cage will need to have something on the wire floors like bedding or fleece to protect their feet. It could be that they aren't too adventurous yet because it takes a while for rats to get used to their new environment, just wait and socialize with them a lot they should come out of their shells. The cats could also be making them timid.
Along with getting something to cover the cage floor, definitely buy/make more accessories and toys for their cage (you can go to the dollar store/craft stores and buy some stuff to easily DIY with). Things like hammocks, beds, hutches, more shelves, etc.
 

Ratmama17

New Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2018
Messages
3
Location
Kentucky
There are several things I'd like to point out:
~The cage seems to be a bit small for the boys, A single critter nation would give them plenty of space to play and sleep, is much sturdier, and will be much much easier to clean. The cage you have now looks like it can be knocked over easily, and only has 2 small doors. A CN will open completely so you have full access and be able to clean easily. The bars of a CN are also much sturdier.
~You should either get them a new cage, one without wire floor (I recommend a CN, you can look on amazon or possibly some buying/selling apps and websites) or put linoleum tiles over the wires. The wires are hard on their little feet, can cause infections, and bumblefoot. Imagine waling on wire like that all day, its no fun!
~I see a plastic ball next to the cage, these are never a great idea for rats, toes can get caught and I believe it scares them overall. The best way to let your rats out Is in a playpen (I made one from broken down very tall cardboard boxes, taped and clipped together) or a rat proofed free roam room, I use my bathroom, and fill it with cardboard boxes, tunnels and all kinds of fun toys and let them go nuts!
As far as the cage interior goes:
~They would definitely benefit from more interactive toys, try the dollar store for some cheap plastic baskets you can ziptie to the sides, plastic tunnels, rope toys for dogs hanging and making sort of a climbing maze, hang some foraging toys (either for birds or small animals) and stuff them with treats (you can also make your own by cutting a toilet paper roll into rings, and stuffing them into eachother to make a ball.) Here is a great video on DIY toys:
~The wheel that you have is a big concern for me. Rats need a 12 inch wheel, without and holes. It needs to be solid plastic so no toes get caught.
~The hide/hut that you have is not a good one for rats. That Ecotrition (I believe that's the brand) hut uses honey to make the hide sweet, when it actually has harmful ingredients for rats. Please replace it with a space pod or igloo ASAP
~My girls love to sleep in hammocks, if you're good with sewing you can look up really easy tutorials, I've also made them out of modified clothes, you can buy them as well.

I think the main thing is that the boys are in a new environment, but they don't have much to do. I would recommend investing in a single Critter Nation, and filling it with all kinds of interactive toys!
 

mvZD

Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2018
Messages
6
Location
NULL
Congrats on your new babies!!
Whenever I’ve brought new rats home they’ve hung out together in one spot for awhile.. it takes a little bit of time for them to be comfortable and explore.

Boys can get pretty big so they will grow out of that cage. It’s also annoying to clean with the small doors and flimsy levels. I love the critter nation cages. You can usually find the single critter nation for around $100-120 online on dog.com or chewy.com

I would definitely cover up the levels with fleece. You can get cuts of fleece for a few dollars at Walmart or a fabric store.

Rats love little huts and things to hide and sleep in. Even empty tissue boxes are great. You can find all kinds of igloos and castle things but make sure you get a larger size that will fit the boys as they grow. Another problem with this cage is that those larger items won’t be able to fit through those doors. Hammocks and space pods are awesome too.

This website has some good examples, also check out the other pages on this site
https://www.myratfriends.com/hammocks-and-hides
Joinrats.com has a lot of good info on behavior and bonding. It make take a while for your rats to be comfortable with you, just be patient and give them lots of treats (blueberries, Cheerios, raw rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, green peas...).
 

SQ

Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
17,197
Location
central New Brunswick Canada
congrats on your boys :)
Please put your country and at least your province/state/etc in your profile because location can make a difference

If you bought the cage, please return it asap because it is way too small.
You need a cage that is at least 4 cubic feet in size (you can use an internet cage calculator) - but bigger is better
You need a cage with a base that is at least 30 inches by 18 inches but bigger is better
and the cage needs to have height with large levels

Some good rat cages are: a critter nation, or a powder coated martins R695 with flip top lid (martinscages.com)

All wire floors need to be covered so that they are solid - a piece of coroplast or a piece of thick linoleum are good for full levels, and a dish drain tray cut to fit is good on small balconies

Balls sold for small animals to run in are extremely dangerous - rats overheat and die in them. Plus being trapped in a ball is not fun for any animal. Rats need a large rat safe play area with toys where they can run and climb, and explore and interact with you for several hours a day. Some people remove the two doors on the balls and hang them in the cage, with soft bedding in them - the danger is that their toes can get caught in the slits (this can happen when being used for their original purpose as well)

Rat cages need things such as:
large hammocks, a 12 inch diameter solid wheel, a house, tubes which can be attached to the side of the cage, chew toys, at least 2 sources of water - at least one needs to be a water dish that can not be upset, boxes, a space pod, etc

The log in your cage is dangerous and needs to be thrown out- they have honey in them which can make rats think they are food and eat them, instead of just chewing them - this can cause a blockage in the intestines and while most rats have been fine, rats have been killed by eating these logs.

Please see the Reference Thread for important information https://www.ratshackforum.com/threads/reference-thread-read-only.35894/
and check in the habitat section etc for ideas
 
Last edited:

Mel_V

New Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
0
Location
Canada
This is just to help, it’s so kind of you to rescue these rats and I’m glad you cage to the forum for help :)

-scented, pine or cedar bedding is harmful. Towels, and dusty bedding as well. Even if it’s naturally scented from lavender it’s super bad for their respiratory systems and is probably why they won’t go to the bottom floor.

-those edible logs can cause digestion problems and blockages in their intestines since they cannot digest alfalfa hay, which is the primary ingredient in them. The reason they eat it is because they are flavoured with honey. Blockages can be very painful since rats do not have a gag reflex, therefore they are unable to throw it up.

-Wire shelves can hurt their feet and eventually cause an infection like bumble foot which can be very painful to them. You can cover this with newspaper or fleece secured using binder clips. Same with the wheel, their claws can get stuck and tails. The skin on their tails can rip off leaving bone . Try to get either a Kaytee comfor wheel or silent spinner. The biggest u can find.

-Rats will only pick out what they like out of seed diets which is quite fattening and it’s important that adult rats get 14-16 percent protein and baby rats (6 months and younger) to get at least 18 percent. Avoid Kaytee forti diet since it can cause food poisoning. I recommend oxbow or Mazuri. I heard Native Earth is a good brand too. Stick to a good lab block

-Ammonia builds up in those hamster balls, it can scare and confuse the rat and just like the wheel, damage their tails and feet. Ammonia can cause fatal respiratory infections.

Hope this helped :) I’m super glad you rescued those rats and it’s clear you love them very much! Do you have any name ideas?

The rat guru is a very great YouTube channel for rat care since she’s had and fostered over a hundred rats and she also had vids on any topic you can think of. Or Shadow the Rat is a good one too but her older vids are more educational. Hope this helped! Have fun with your new ratties
 

ratmomtexas

New Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Messages
0
Location
Dallas, TX
There are several things I'd like to point out:
~The cage seems to be a bit small for the boys, A single critter nation would give them plenty of space to play and sleep, is much sturdier, and will be much much easier to clean. The cage you have now looks like it can be knocked over easily, and only has 2 small doors. A CN will open completely so you have full access and be able to clean easily. The bars of a CN are also much sturdier.
~You should either get them a new cage, one without wire floor (I recommend a CN, you can look on amazon or possibly some buying/selling apps and websites) or put linoleum tiles over the wires. The wires are hard on their little feet, can cause infections, and bumblefoot. Imagine waling on wire like that all day, its no fun!
~I see a plastic ball next to the cage, these are never a great idea for rats, toes can get caught and I believe it scares them overall. The best way to let your rats out Is in a playpen (I made one from broken down very tall cardboard boxes, taped and clipped together) or a rat proofed free roam room, I use my bathroom, and fill it with cardboard boxes, tunnels and all kinds of fun toys and let them go nuts!
As far as the cage interior goes:
~They would definitely benefit from more interactive toys, try the dollar store for some cheap plastic baskets you can ziptie to the sides, plastic tunnels, rope toys for dogs hanging and making sort of a climbing maze, hang some foraging toys (either for birds or small animals) and stuff them with treats (you can also make your own by cutting a toilet paper roll into rings, and stuffing them into eachother to make a ball.) Here is a great video on DIY toys:
~The wheel that you have is a big concern for me. Rats need a 12 inch wheel, without and holes. It needs to be solid plastic so no toes get caught.
~The hide/hut that you have is not a good one for rats. That Ecotrition (I believe that's the brand) hut uses honey to make the hide sweet, when it actually has harmful ingredients for rats. Please replace it with a space pod or igloo ASAP
~My girls love to sleep in hammocks, if you're good with sewing you can look up really easy tutorials, I've also made them out of modified clothes, you can buy them as well.

I think the main thing is that the boys are in a new environment, but they don't have much to do. I would recommend investing in a single Critter Nation, and filling it with all kinds of interactive toys!


i am relatively new to rats, and you seem like a rat genius. lol I did post a question yesterday about behavior for my 2 girls I inherited that I would love your insight on. If you can find it... I am new to this forum.
 

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