Habitat Sweet Habitat: Rats

Setting up a habitat for your new rat? Here’s what you need to know.

Choosing a Habitat

  • Rats are social and enjoy the companionship of another rat (same gender only).
  • Your rat requires a multi-level, solid floor cage. It should be large enough for a food dish, water bottle, hay manger, exercise wheel and a hiding area. There should be sufficient room for all cage accessories, and for your rat to move around freely.
  • Cages with tubes, tunnels and hideaways are good and provide exercise and relieve boredom.
  • Minimum cage size is 12”x24”x18” with wire spacing no larger than ½” apart. The larger the better.
  • Your rat’s cage should be placed in a cool 65-75°F (18-24°C), low humidity area, out of direct sunlight.

Play & Hide

  • Rats are big on exercise, so ensure yours has a wheel for running. In order to prevent tail injury, only solid surface wheels should be used.
  • A house should be provided as rats like to hide and sleep inside enclosed spaces.
  • Your rat’s front teeth never stop growing, so you will need to provide chew toys at all times.
  • Rats will shred materials to make a nest. Nesting materials made of natural ingredients should be offered.

Bedding

  • Your rat’s cage should be lined with absorbent bedding such as recycled paper, aspen or pine shavings. Line cage with a minimum of 1-2” (2.5-5cm) of bedding.
  • Cedar shavings are not recommended for small pets.
  • Bedding should be spot cleaned weekly and completely changed every other week.

Shopping List

❏ Wire Cage (minimum size 12”x24”x18”); maximum bar width ½”
❏ Water Bottle
❏ Crock Food Dish
❏ Hiding/Sleep House
❏ Tunnels/Tubes
❏ Chew Toys
❏ Exercise Wheel (solid, no rungs)
❏ Hay Manger
❏ Nesting Material
❏ Fortified Rat Diet
❏ Rat Treats
❏ Salt Wheel
❏ Bedding

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