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How to Set Up a Cage for a Pet Rat

Learn how to set up a cage for a pet rat in this Howcast rat video featuring veterinarian Anthony Pilny.

Transcript

There are a lot of different options when it comes to setting up a cage or a home for your pet rats. There are a lot different cages available on the market. Both those made as standard cages for small pet rodents. As well as a number of ones that are specially made through specialty websites or specialty makers of custom types of rat cages. What most people find that is really important is that they're able to get the largest cage that they can both afford, have room for, and they'll also be able to keep it clean, hygienic and sanitize as needed. There are a number of different companies that will custom make a cage if you choose to go that route. Otherwise, most of the general pet stores will carry cages that, with the proper bar spacing, are appropriate for pet rats. It's really important to remember that rats can squeeze through small spaces. And sometimes having bar spacing larger than a half a inch is too big.

Some people will often keep pet rats in tanks like aquarium or fish tanks. Although generally we don't recommend this because they ten to not have enough ventilation and circulations. Although people will sometime use them and they have worked effectively, I do recommend using a cage setup that has a large plastic pan or a larger metal tray on the bottom. And then it has the match cage that fits over it, latches on to it, and provides them with enough room to exercise. Enough room to be able to exhibit normal behaviors.

What is also recommend is that you have the type of rat cage that has multiple levels They can have ladders or they can have ramps that allows them to have multiple levels in there. And then each of these can be decorated. What's important to include in the rat's cage certainly are going to be hide spots. Things these igloos. These plastic available homes are excellent for rats. They come in a number of different sizes. The other thing to decorated the cage with often are different types of hammocks or beds. This is just one example. It has hooks that will hang in the cage. That allow it to latch on and it provides a hammock type of bed. There are a number of pet sites that make custom types as well for people who choose to have that type cage decoration.

Bedding options are various. I will narrow it down and recommend either care fresh, which is a paper type bedding. Or, if people choose to use a wood shaving, I would strongly recommend only using aspen. Always avoid using cedar type bedding and cedar type shavings. Some people prefer to use towels and blankets as a means of providing a substrate for the rats. But overall cage setup is going to be a large cage. It's going to have ramps for different levels for them to climb. Providing towels, nest sites, providing them with places to hide. Providing them with hammocks, towels, bedding. As well as sometimes providing them with tubes, tubes like structure, ropes and large rope perches that are made for large species of bird as well. And providing them with things to play with and chew on and shred are going to be really important for rats in order to design an appropriate sort of cage set up. Considering that they spend a majority of their time in the cage when you're not home, when they;re not out and being handled. It's ideal to put some effort into creating a really nice environment.

So overall, the largest cage that you have room for, a cage that allows the rats to have plenty pf room to climb around, to stretch, to get exercise, to dig, to burrow, to hide under blankets and also have the security of having hem-micks or bedding is the most idle way to set a rat's cage. You're also going to include their food bowl, a water bottle hanging on the side of the cage. It's also important to make sure that it's not in a area that is too warm or too drafty.

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