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How to introduce wheel to adult rats?

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MN Rat Pack

Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
17
Location
Mesa, AZ
Hello, I recently picked up a stealth wheel. I’m really excited about it since it’s much better quality than what you can buy at a pet store. However, I don’t think either rat has ever seen a wheel. I’ve tried dabbing almond butter around it inside. So they aren’t afraid of it just don’t seem to know how to run it. They are both between 1 to 1 1/2 years old and very active. I am hoping more activity will help the newer one adjust and get over her anxiety (chewing fur).

Do you have any experience introducing a wheel to adult rats? How long did it take? Any more tips?
 

Twilight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
85
Location
Southern USA
I think sometimes you just can't introduce a wheel to adult rats. Female rats tend to use wheels more, but really, wheels just aren't as necessary and natural for rats as they are for, say, hamsters.
That being said, it is entirely possible (and even simple) to introduce adult rats to a wheel, it's just not guaranteed that they will understand, or want, to use it. The only successful way I've ever heard of introducing wheels to rats is using food. I think one way is dabbing some type of clingy liquid treat inside, as you're doing. I think it'd be simpler and more effective to just put the rat on the wheel, and use something solid, in your hand, to lure the rat though. You could also try spinning the wheel and "walking" your hand around on it to show your rats what it can do.

I got a wheel several months ago and tried to introduce it to my adult rats- I simply showed them how it worked by spinning it and left it in the cage. I came back an hour or so later to discover that one of my rats, Whiskers, (RIP ❤) was using it- but my other boy, Willow, I have never seen using the wheel. However, I'm confident he knows how to use it, having seen his brother using it, so I think rats are capable of easily understanding how to use wheels, but they may just think it's not very fun or using it- not the wheel itself- is scary.

P.S: Is the stealth wheel safe for rats? Doesn't it have a wire running area?
 

Big Schpog

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
438
Location
British Columbia
I don't use wheels with my rats as they get 24/7 free roam and it's much more natural for them. They run and climb and scale things just like they would in the wild. I live in a one bedroom place so it's easy for me to do this. I think some rats either like wheels or they don't. Teaching a rat to get on a wheel is pretty easy and they're super smart but it's a matter of taste for them I think.
 

MN Rat Pack

Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
17
Location
Mesa, AZ
I think sometimes you just can't introduce a wheel to adult rats. Female rats tend to use wheels more, but really, wheels just aren't as necessary and natural for rats as they are for, say, hamsters.
That being said, it is entirely possible (and even simple) to introduce adult rats to a wheel, it's just not guaranteed that they will understand, or want, to use it. The only successful way I've ever heard of introducing wheels to rats is using food. I think one way is dabbing some type of clingy liquid treat inside, as you're doing. I think it'd be simpler and more effective to just put the rat on the wheel, and use something solid, in your hand, to lure the rat though. You could also try spinning the wheel and "walking" your hand around on it to show your rats what it can do.

I got a wheel several months ago and tried to introduce it to my adult rats- I simply showed them how it worked by spinning it and left it in the cage. I came back an hour or so later to discover that one of my rats, Whiskers, (RIP ❤) was using it- but my other boy, Willow, I have never seen using the wheel. However, I'm confident he knows how to use it, having seen his brother using it, so I think rats are capable of easily understanding how to use wheels, but they may just think it's not very fun or using it- not the wheel itself- is scary.

P.S: Is the stealth wheel safe for rats? Doesn't it have a wire running area?
It has a plastic mesh running surface and solid back. My rats have never shown interest in chewing plastic so that shouldn't be an issue. It's built in a way that there is no way to catch a tail as the ball bearing is completely enclosed! I will try your lure idea today :D
 

Dena

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
279
Location
Texas
I have a wheel in each of my cafes, and all 5 rats in the cage at the same time. Only two of my females use it. They actually fight over it. My other female is a pink eyed white, and she seems afraid of it if I put her on it. She pretty much just stays away from it. My boys are just lazy. LOL
 

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