Although they may cause fear in some people, rats are increasingly beloved companion animals, especially children. In addition to adapting easily to small environments, rats often do not demand as much time from their handlers as dogs and cats.
However, deciding to adopt a rat as a pet also requires dedication and commitment, since these rodents will need to find the optimal conditions for their physical and mental development in their environment. Rats are extremely active and wonderfully intelligent animals that need to exercise their physical, cognitive, emotional and social capacities to enjoy a healthy and happy life.
In this article from Animal Expert, we will teach you how to enrich the environment of your rodents with ideas of toys and games for domestic rats that you can make at home, using your creativity and recycling many materials. Do not miss it!
You may also be interested: Exercises for domestic cats
- Stairs for rats
- Cardboard rat tunnel
- Platforms to increase the productive surface of the cage
- Rat hammock
- Puzzle or hiding place for domestic rats
1. Stairs for rats
Just like hamsters, house rats need and love to climb , climb , and descend. This exercise may seem very simple to us, but it allows you to expend energy, exercise your bones and muscles, and help you manage a healthy weight, thus preventing obesity and associated diseases.
One of the simplest ideas you can come up with to enrich your rat’s cage is to make a homemade ladder, recycling wooden sticks from popsicles or treats like lollipops. The ideal is to bet on wooden sticks, and not plastic ones, since there is always the possibility that your rat will be tempted to gnaw on its ladder. Plastic, as well as metal, may contain some elements in its composition that are toxic to rodents, when consumed in excess or in a prolonged way.
To make a ladder for your domestic rat, you will only need 2 items: sticks and non-toxic glue. Before using the sticks, we must wash them very well , using neutral soap, to remove any impurities or food residue. When they are dry, you can use them. Some sticks will remain in the vertical position to make a base on each side of the ladder, while we will use others in the horizontal position to build the steps.
The more sticks you use, the higher the ladder you make of your rodent. For this reason, before starting to stick the sticks, we recommend planning how you want to enrich your rat’s cage , to calculate the height and size of each of the toys that you intend to add to their environment.
A good idea is to combine the stairs with platforms and tunnels, making a kind of maze in your rat’s cage. But remember that you should not overload its environment , leaving free space for your rat to run, move freely, feed and rest.
Here’s a video from Eimy Riccer for you to get inspired by:
2. Cardboard rat tunnel
Cardboard is one of the most versatile materials that we can recycle to make toys and games for domestic rats. With a few simple rolls of toilet or kitchen paper attached, we managed to make a simple tunnel to enrich your cage.
However, this time, we want to teach you how to make a tunnel a little more complex to motivate your rat. To prepare it, you will need to have some cardboard rolls (of toilet paper, kitchen paper, etc.), a cardboard box (you can recycle boxes of tea, milk, shoes, etc.), a cutter (or another tool to cut), and non-toxic glue.
The elaboration is very simple but it will take a few minutes of your time. To start, we must cut some circles in the cardboard box with the help of the cutter, which are more or less the same diameter as the rolls. To get a neater finish, we can use a compass or the paper roll itself to mark the circle on the box before cutting it. Then, we will introduce the rolls in the holes that we cut in the box. To secure them, you can use non-toxic glue.
The number of circles can be defined by you, considering the size of the box, the number of rolls you have and how complex you want to make the maze for your rat. If we want to build a more complex maze to work his intelligence, we can use several boxes and many rolls together. Each box will act as a kind of station where several tunnels branch, which can be interconnected, in addition to being interspersed with stairs, platforms, casters and even obstacles to generate a track of physical and mental stimulation.
You can also take advantage of this homemade tunnel to work the intelligence of your rat. To do this, you can “hide” various treats in different points of the maze, stimulating your rat to exercise its senses, especially its sense of smell, to find its prizes. Without a doubt, you will be amazed with the intelligence of your little rodent.
3. Platforms to increase the productive surface of the cage
Platforms are the easiest and cheapest way to increase the surface area of your rat’s cage, creating a second level where your rodent can play and entertain itself. A platform basically consists of a raised surface in relation to the floor. To create them in a homemade way, we put to use a piece of wood , either square, round or rectangular, fixing four legs with non-toxic glue. Or we can recycle a firm wooden or cardboard box to create a second level in your rat’s cage.
Logically, when adding a platform we should also think about access ramps , providing optimal mobility for your domestic rat. Remember that we already taught you how to make stairs with recycled sticks? Well, just support them on the edge of the platform to generate a connection with the cage floor.
4. Hammock for rats
Another similarity that home rats share with hamsters is a taste for rocking . If you have already had the opportunity to observe how these rodents exercise when getting on and off their small hammock, have fun playing inside or simply enjoy a delicious nap suspended in the air, you certainly know that this is a beautiful complement to the cage of a domestic rat.
Although you can find hammocks for hamsters and rats in pet stores, we want to propose you to recycle an old garment and transform it into a beautiful toy for your rodent. To do this, you will need to have a garment, scissors, ribbons, a needle and a sewing line.
First, you must choose the garment you want to recycle and make sure it is clean before using it. The ideal is to bet on firm and resistant fabrics , which do not fray easily, such as polar fabric or pure cotton garments. Then, using scissors, you will need to cut a rectangle that is proportional to the size of your rodent. Remember that the rat must be able to move, lie down and stretch in its hammock, to enjoy it better.
With the rectangle cut, you will take the needle and the line to sew a ribbon on each end of the hammock. At the end of this step, you will be able to locate the home hammock of your domestic rat in its cage, tying the ribbons on the bars you prefer. If you want to improve the finish and give more security, you can add small carabiners to better fix the hammock to the bars.
In this Gia video she shows you how to make a rat hammock a little more complex:
5. Puzzle or hiding place for domestic rats
Rats love to have their hiding places , where they can play, rest and observe their cage feeling safe and calm. Once again, we can take advantage of the versatility of cardboard boxes to make a puzzle-hideaway for our rodents. On this occasion, we will need a cardboard box with a lid , and that has a size and depth that allows your rat to enter, exit and move inside. You should also have a cutter or scissors, and some toys for domestic rats.
The elaboration of this puzzle for rats is very simple: you only need to cut out some holes in the lid and put some toys that your rat likes inside the box. You can also “hide” some treats among her toys, to encourage her to search for them. If you prefer, you can also make a cardboard ball, make holes in it like the lid of the box, and place toys and treats inside. The balls offer more mobility to the rats, which is why they can be more fun.
These have been some ideas of games and homemade toys for domestic rats. Do you have other alternatives to enrich the cage of your rats? Well, share your ideas in the comments and help us learn more and better games for domestic rats.