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Starthecavy123
11-18-13, 05:45 pm
Recently I've been thinking about getting rats and I just want to know a little more about them. I'm not sure if I will be able to because I need to ask my landlord and I already have a guinea pig. But even if I don't I still would like to know for future reference. I want to have all the information I need so I can be ready for when I do. First of all I know that its expensive to get set up for rats. Okay here are my questions:

I've been looking at some ferret cages and would like to know what kind of cage I should get. And ones that you would recammend or use yourself?

I need to know all the supplies I will need beside a cage and food dishes. I want my ratties to be comfortable.

What type of bedding do you use should I use regular bedding and which kind or can I use fleece like with guinea pigs.

What kind of food should I get? And what other treats can I give them and do they need hay.

If there is anything else I have missed please let me know and I want honest opinions. I also need to know how to care for them and how to tame them. Thanks in advance.

WhippetQueen
11-18-13, 06:48 pm
Hi, rats make great pets! You will not regret having them!

1. I've been looking at some ferret cages and would like to know what kind of cage I should get. And ones that you would recommend or use yourself?
I am currently using a large flight bird cage, but one that I definitely definitely recommend it a Ferret Kingdom, it the same as a critter nation except this one is in Australia! (Are you in Australia? there is a Salisbury in Aus so I just kind of guessed so) here is the link - http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/FERRET-KINGDOM-FERRET-RAT-CAGE-DOUBLE-STORY-CAN-EASILY-CONNECT-2-CAGES-/200846504824?pt=AU_Pet_Supplies&hash=item2ec3627378&_uhb=1
make sure that any cages you get has a bar spacing of 1cm or lower, rats are great escape artists.

2. I need to know all the supplies I will need beside a cage and food dishes. I want my ratties to be comfortable.
You will need lots of hammocks, toys, huts, etc. Lots of things for them to climb on and enjoy There are many things on ebay that will be great, and many many things round the house that will be prefect for them too!
Also your rats will need a wheel, I would recommend a silent spinner as many wheels are squeaky and they will want to make you crush the wheel over with a truck 27 million times!!! You will need a wheel that is at least 12 Inches or else they will get a wheel tail, or break their spines.

3. What type of bedding do you use should I use regular bedding and which kind or can I use fleece like with guinea pigs.
Both particle substrate and fleece can be used with rats, just be careful because rat can and WILL chew the fleece/towel and will need lots of other things to keep them busy so they don't chew it (e.g. Newspaper to nest with and shred up, hay to nest with, scraps of fleece, etc.)
Or you can use a participle substrate (Bedding) like paper pellets, chaff, hay, etc. Though you will need high sides as they will kick it out everywhere!

4. What kind of food should I get? And what other treats can I give them and do they need hay.
Rat block are the best type of food available for rats! (If you live in Australia I can tell you that Cummings and Lauke Mills rat cubs are the best ones) Though its very plain a boring, I would recommend making a mix to give the rats more variety to eat, but every rat should have access to cubes 24/7, They do not need hay like guinea pigs do (they need blocks instead :P) Rats will nest with the hay and its a very great thing to give to them (They may chew it a bit too)
Rats can eats virtually anything! So finding suitable treats are not that hard at all! You can buy dog and cat treats/biscuits and they are an excellent source of protein as well! also Yoggies from a pet shop, or make them yourself!

5. If there is anything else I have missed please let me know and I want honest opinions. I also need to know how to care for them and how to tame them. Thanks in advance.
I would definitely recommend giving your rats some of the left overs from dinner (Just make sure that everything is fine for them to eat) It is great for them and will keep your rats very happy, healthy and friendly!
Taming rats is very very very simple! rats are the most friendliest animals I know of! Just leave them be for a few day and don't handle them for at least 1 - 2 days (depending on how tame that are already) And they will slowly warm up to you, open the cage door and let them roam around your room for a few hours a day and it works wonders! Also do not feed treats to your rats through the cage bars, It encourages them to bite.

I hope I help to answer all of your questions!, If you have anymore, feel free to ask I am always opt to helping other and leading them in the right direction :)
Have fun with rats!

Starthecavy123
11-18-13, 06:52 pm
I'm in the usa

Starthecavy123
11-18-13, 06:59 pm
What kind of dog biscuits do you recammend?

What are good and bad food for rats?

ThePigAlchemist
11-18-13, 07:32 pm
I don't have rats, but I plan to adopt some one day so I've done lots of research. Lots of rat owners make homemade mixes, but two good-quality lab blocks that you can buy are Oxbow and Harlan Taklad.

maria33
11-18-13, 07:37 pm
i've had pet rats, and they're extremely intelligent and friendly. i've also had gerbils, hamsters, dwarf hamsters, mice and lots of guinea pigs, and the one thing i did notice about rats is that their cages get stinky really fast, more so than any of the others. i still think they're great pets, though, and other people may have different experiences with the cages than me.

Rayen
11-18-13, 07:40 pm
I've been looking at some ferret cages and would like to know what kind of cage I should get. And ones that you would recammend or use yourself?

Right now I am using a double Ferret Nation cage (you can get Critter Nations as well, with smaller spaced bars) and it works really well for rats. For a cage, you basically want as big of a floor space as you can find, with additional levels (or the ability to add your own levels, if you're handy enough for it). For males you can usually get away with the larger inch spaced bars, for females you want to err on the side of caution and get the smaller spaced bars.


I need to know all the supplies I will need beside a cage and food dishes. I want my ratties to be comfortable.

Rats are all wildly different in what they like and what they'll use. I've never had rats interested in hammocks, but they love just great big piles of fleece they can gather up and make little nests out of. You'll want to give them things like large boxes, baskets, typical pet store houses, and each of them needs to be large enough to fit all of the rats inside of it. (I made the dire error of buying a small-ish house once, my five girls piled inside and one didn't quite fit so half of her ended up hanging out the end!)

Rats are really, really fun to get items for. I often go into thrift stores looking for solid plastic toys for young children, things like large barns, doll houses, boats, etc. They'll climb inside of them and you can hide things inside of them. I have a dollhouse with a bathroom, I put treats inside of the toilet and they just flip the lid up and take the treat out. (it kind of makes me sad, I had the most perfect dollhouse and a castle as a kid, they would've been perfect for my rats to play in!)

I find that most rats do not enjoy wheels. I keep one in the cage anyway for the one or two that do enjoy it, but it gets a few minutes of extreme running and then they go about their business.

Basically, for toys, anything they can shred and destroy are a plus. Try putting treats inside of cardboard tubes/boxes for them to rip apart, or maybe putting a full box of plain tissues inside (so messy, but they love it!).


What type of bedding do you use should I use regular bedding and which kind or can I use fleece like with guinea pigs.

I use fleece, but they will go through it fairly quickly. They will chew the smallest of holes into their fleece and eventually it will be more hole than blanket. It's a good idea to buy cheap fleece blankets when you can to stock up for when they ultimately destroy your sets of liners. I put fleece down and then I'll keep unscented baby wipes around to wipe down the base to help keep it fresher longer. I'll still end up changing everything out every few days, and don't expect any of your fleece to stay where you put it.

I don't personally like using any kind of paper/wood based bedding. I'm sure it would work out fine if you do like it, I just don't like the mess of it and buying giant stacks of it to keep hidden around the house.

I also use a litter box, I have the typical small animal corner pan for my girls and they actually do use it quite a bit.


What kind of food should I get? And what other treats can I give them and do they need hay.

You're going to want to find a plain pelleted food. I use Oxbow's adult rat formula and I really like it.

As for treats, well, a lot of the things we can eat they can typically eat too. I'll give mine vegetables (usually whatever I'm feeding the rabbits/guinea pigs), meat (like chicken, turkey, boiled eggs), cooked brown rice, dog treats, dog food, Cheerios, mealworms, dried bread with maybe some olive oil or a tiny bit of peanut butter on top. I do not feed any kind of seeds or any kind of additional mix. They get their pelleted food 24/7 and then they get a small treat twice a day.

They do not need hay. I don't give mine any hay at all. I give things like newspaper, tissues, toilet paper and fleece to nest with instead. Mine don't seem all that interested in it, and would really rather just have paper or fleece in their nests.

WhippetQueen
11-18-13, 07:50 pm
I would recommend using supercoat and purina brands (I think you can get them in the USA) If not, any good quality brands that have protein levels between 17% and 30%

Essentially, if it is ok for you to eat, then it is generally ok for the rats to eat. To make a list of everything a rat could eat would take forever. but here are few things that are most common:

What they can eat:

Fruits

Apples
Apricot
Bananas
Berries
Grapes
Peach
Plums
Pomegranetes
Pears
Kiwi
Papaya

Vegetables

Broccoli
Carrot
Cucumber
Peas
Romaine lettuce
Beans
Corn - (Not too much)
yellow green and red peppers (Not the spicy ones!)
Capsicum
Pumkin
Cauliflower
Cooked Mushrooms - Sparingly

others:

Chicken Bones
Crickets
Meaworms
Hard Boild Eggs
Yougurt
Spagetti
Baked Beans
Bread/toast
popcorn
cheese - Sparingly

DO Not feed your rats:
Apple Seeds
Green bananas
Citrus foods/drinks - Oranges, Lemons, Limes
Mango

Vegetables:

Brussel Sprouts
Raw potatoes
Raw onions
Raw cabbage
Rhubarb
Fish

Others:

Blue Cheese
Cuddlefish
candy
Licorice
Poppy seeds
Raw bulk tofu (Packaged is fine, just not bulk)
Peanuts
Rawhide
Wild Insects (can carry diseases)

Missypigmama
11-18-13, 09:51 pm
I've had rats through out my life.. Can I recommend a forum? It helped me out tremendously..
http://www.goosemoose.com/rfc/

Starthecavy123
11-18-13, 10:25 pm
I know its a wonderful site although I haven't register yet (probably should do that). :) I love this site so I thought I would ask people I already know. :D

Rabbit_Lover
11-18-13, 10:44 pm
Since your in the USA defiantly get a Critter Nation, if you can a double unit. I've never had rats and but I know how messy they can get, and if you were to get a cage with tiny doors you are in big trouble.

The ferret kingdom is very similar but the bottom has a wire bottom :/ which is removable BUT the tray on the bottom is not very sturdy.

good luck!

Starthecavy123
11-19-13, 10:30 am
Where can I find a critter nation cage?
Where do you get your ratties? Just curious.
Is a pet store okay? And if so which ones?

ThePigAlchemist
11-19-13, 10:33 am
Pet stores are the same for any animal as they are for guinea pigs. For rats, they might be even worse since the rats are often meant as feeders and are badly bred and often badly socialized. From what I've seen, the rat rescue scene is quite active and I always see them on Craigslist too. You just have to watch out for feeder breeders.

Rayen
11-19-13, 11:06 am
Where can I find a critter nation cage?

You can find used ones from time-to-time if you keep an eye out. You can also get them from various online sources (www.amazon.com for example). Just be careful when getting one shipped, while they're a great design and size, they're made out of kind of cheap materials, so chances are pretty high you may get one shipped to you that's already rusted, or the protective coating may be chipped off, or the bars may be bent. So look it over thoroughly when it arrives. :\


Where do you get your ratties? Just curious.
Is a pet store okay? And if so which ones?

Basically, if it's in the pet store, steer as clear as you possibly can. Pets stores don't really care where they get their stock, and typically will get the cheapest animals they can. Cheap animals come from mill-like locations, where animals are crammed together in small enclosures, fed food that isn't even close to ideal, and get little to no socialization from a young age. (I haven't personally seen a pet store that actually cares for its animals, so you may find a magical pet store that actually gets quality animals from rescues or private breeders, but I wouldn't count on it)

There are quite a few rat rescues out there, things like humane societies will have rats fairly often as well. Looking through personal ads may get you a few hits too. There are quite a few quality breeders out there if you really want to look, but it can be difficult to really tell just what you're getting, as many 'breeders' I've seen won't allow the outside public inside their homes because of potential infection. I'm always wary of a so-called breeder that won't let me see how their animals are cared for, I get being cautious about the animals' health, but I'm going to be equally cautious in trusting random strangers.

Starthecavy123
11-19-13, 11:41 am
things like humane societies will have rats fairly often

The only thing about our humane society is they never get rats just like I've never seen guinea pigs there. Not even on their website. The only other animals I've seen other than cats and dogs is birds and rabbits. I've lived here all my life and when I got interested in rodents I would go to the pound at least twice a week. And sadly I've never seen guinea pigs, rats, or gerbles there. But you will find rabbits fairly often.

Starthecavy123
11-19-13, 11:50 am
There are quite a few quality breeders out there if you really want to look, but it can be difficult to really tell just what you're getting, as many 'breeders' I've seen won't allow the outside public inside their homes because of potential infection. I'm always wary of a so-called breeder that won't let me see how their animals are cared for, I get being cautious about the animals' health, but I'm going to be equally cautious in trusting random strangers.

Yea I've found quite a few breeders like that on google. Most of those breeders won't let you come to their home. Because they are trying to protect their pets and their families. Which is a good idea but also makes me wonder. They only meet in public areas which is good but are the animals truely being cared for properly.

Starthecavy123
11-19-13, 06:11 pm
Do any of you know the US equivalent of the UK's Laberta explorer cage?!?

Gandalf
11-19-13, 06:21 pm
We got our Critter Nation cage from ferretdepot.com. They seem to have frequent sales. They look very much like the ferret nation cages but the bar spacing is small enough to hold in the smaller (younger) rats.
We bought a Double Critter Nation in the summer and had a blast getting it all decked out. I've made use of ratforum.com and browsed through all the photos of the Critter Nation cages (they have a thread devoted).
I searched for a reputable rat breeder and then asked the rattie experts on the forum for opinions/experiences with that particular rattery. This might me a good option for you as well. This breeder had raving reviews. She does a great job of socializing her rats. We just picked up our 2 girls this past weekend. They are just the sweetest things. (Oh, our breeder did allow us to come to her home and see all the rats. It was a wait, though, for the babies to be born and grow old enough to bring home.)

Gandalf
11-19-13, 06:25 pm
Here's our DCN cage. Having the doors able to open completely has been a huge plus. I can't imagine having to reach through a smaller opening.
I should also note that a single critter nation cage (half this size) is plenty large for 2 rats.
576915769257693

Starthecavy123
11-19-13, 07:13 pm
We got our Critter Nation cage from ferretdepot.com. They seem to have frequent sales. They look very much like the ferret nation cages but the bar spacing is small enough to hold in the smaller (younger) rats.
We bought a Double Critter Nation in the summer and had a blast getting it all decked out. I've made use of ratforum.com and browsed through all the photos of the Critter Nation cages (they have a thread devoted).
I searched for a reputable rat breeder and then asked the rattie experts on the forum for opinions/experiences with that particular rattery. This might me a good option for you as well. This breeder had raving reviews. She does a great job of socializing her rats. We just picked up our 2 girls this past weekend. They are just the sweetest things. (Oh, our breeder did allow us to come to her home and see all the rats. It was a wait, though, for the babies to be born and grow old enough to bring home.)

What rat breeder is that I would like to check them out.

Gandalf
11-19-13, 07:57 pm
What rat breeder is that I would like to check them out.

Raining Rats Rattery (in AZ)