Speaking of rats, Rowan and I went to the pet store where I got my babies last week and I said hi to their momma. She’s this adorable little brown dumbo girl. Christian kind of looks like her. She’s got the same kind of white spot on her belly. I wish my boys had gotten more of their mummy’s dumbo-ness though. Her ears are so adorable.
I kind of like that this store breeds their own and have for a long time, it gives the sense that they know what they’re doing. There was a wee bit of misinformation given though - you should always adopt rats in groups of two or more. They socialize better. A rat left on it’s own can become depressed or even neurotic! If you want happy active rats, make sure you get them with one or more of their litter/cage mates.
Hello, and I apologize for this blog being dead for so long! I know it isn’t really Friday, but I thought I’d make an information post anyways. Today’s topic is bedding and litter.
Firstly and most importantly, you should never put pine or cedar shavings in a cage with any small animals. While they may be aromatic, absorbent, and readily available, they contain a naturally occurring chemicals and acids called phenols which, in conjunction with giving them their piney scent, cause and exacerbate respiratory problems. Since rats are prone to respiratory issues (such as mycoplasma), the last thing you want to do is make their existing conditions any worse! Another thing you should avoid is any kind of clumping clay litter, like you would use for your cat box. Rats will eat anything, and having a large clump of clay in their digestive tract would obviously cause all sorts of issues!
Litters that are okay to use are aspen shavings, which are free from the phenols present in pine and cedar, or recycled paper litter such as Yesterday’s News, which is available at most pet supply stores. For my rats, I use shredded newspaper that the big cage I bought them came packed in. They love tunneling through it and the noises it makes! Corn litter is also a possibility, but I have read that it is prone to mold, which can be toxic to both rats and humans. Newspaper or paper-based litter is likely your best choice, as it is easy to come by, cheap, and low on dust.
As for bedding, scraps of fabric or hammocks are excellent. Rats enjoy being high up. Hammocks also allow for a safe, warm place to sleep and hide. Hammocks can be hand made or bought from pet stores and online shops such as Martin’s Cages or The Rat Shop. Links to these stores can be found in the ‘Useful Links’ on the sidebar. Be careful if you give your rats scraps such as wash cloths, as their claws can be come caught in the loops on terry cloth and rip. You could also use toilet tissue or kleenex. If you show your rats how a tissue box works, they can figure it out and have lots of fun pulling the tissue out. Just make sure it’s your basic paper tissue - no added moisturizers or other things. Plus, the empty cardboard box can then be turned into a cheap and easy nest box.
More information on why pine shavings are hazardous can be found here courtesy of Debbie Duccommun.
Hans seems thrilled to be in the big cage, he’s been scurrying around non stop since I put him in. He’s found the food and the water and the hammock and everything. Christian doesn’t seem quite sure what to make of it, but he and Poe were all cuddled together for a short time. I may have to get a bigger food dish for them. I guess we’ll see how the one they have lasts between the three of them. I’ve also put the smaller water bottle from the baby cage into the big cage, too, so there are two sources of water in there now. I can’t get over how tiny the babies are in comparison! Poe is almost twice their size, but I guess the new boys won’t be quite done growing yet. I’ll be keeping a close eye on Chris, just to make sure he settles in alright.
Tomorrow we’re going to do the Big Move!
Big Move meaning that all of the rats all get to go in the same cage. They were all out playing in mummy’s sweater today, and there wasn’t a peep past some bruxing from Poe, which, of course, is the good kind of peep. When I put them back, Hans didn’t want to leave Poe, and Poe seems really put out that he’s all alone again, so I think it’s time.
I finally got Hans to calm down enough to sit with me without running and hiding or having to be covered by my hands/arm/etc. He likes being talked to.