Rattie toys from junk
Rats are highly intelligent animals, and one way of enhancing their environment and providing stimulation is to create rattie toys out of ordinary household waste objects. These toys are designed to be chewed and are disposable. New toys can be added with each cage clean.
All that is necessary for an item to be turned into a plaything is an eye for safety, and a wild imagination! Stay away from glues, and when using wire or string make sure that there is no way the rats can catch toes, legs or other body parts.
Milk bottle hideout
So easy! Take a big 6 pint plastic milk bottle. Cut the neck end off and voila… a little rattie hideout that can be stuffed with shredded paper. Check the cut edge for any sharp bits which can be filed with an emery board.
Toilet roll cracker
Again this takes seconds to throw together. Take a toilet inner, and a few rattie treats, plus a sheet of A4 paper. Fill the roll with treats, and wrap around with the paper, twisting the ends to make a cracker. Alternatively, wrap the treats loosely in kitchen roll and stuff into the inner.
Toilet roll piñata
Take one toilet roll tube. Make a small hole in the middle of the tube with sharp scissors. Thread some string through the hole and knot the string on the inside. Fold one end of the tube into the tube opening so it seals off that end. Fill the tube with ratty treats and close of the other end of the tube. Tie the string to the top of the rat cage.
Box of treats
A variation of the piñata. Take any small box and fill with treats. Close. Either simply offer to the rats, or hang from the cage bars.
Egg box delights
Take a clean empty egg box, and fill each compartment with a small amount of a different food (e.g. pieces of fruit and vegetables, cooked pasta, chicken, broken cream crackers). Close the lid and give to rats.
Drink bottle tube
Take a large (2 litre) plastic drinks bottle and cut off the neck and the base. Fold over about a cm at each end and stick down with Gaffa tape – this will make it safe and give more structure to the tube.
Any plastic container (for instance those used to contain fruit and veg) can be converted into a temporary bed/level. Simply poke or melt a couple of holes in it and wire into the cage. By twisting medium weight garden wire one can make safe hanging ‘arms’ to suspend a box from the roof. And a large plastic punnet makes a great temporary cover and sleeping space for the top (small) shelf in a terenziani cage. A loop of wire will secure it to the cage wall.
The quickest hammocks can be made from more or less any item of baby clothing, baby vests, babygros and hats are the easiest, and can be secured with large paper clips. Alternatively save old trousers and cut off the legs, then use paperclips or thread over dowel rods. These can be enhanced by stuffing an open-ended box down the leg! Any old towel, t-shirt etc can potentially become a hammock.
Alternatively soft items like t shirts can be cut into strips and plaited… then hung across the cage. Excellent for weaving treats into.
Big box fun
If you are lucky enough to come across a huge high-sided cardboard box, then make a rattie paradise by literally just throwing in as many cardboard boxes, tubes etc., as you can , adding a few handfuls of shredded paper will add to the fun.
Give your ratties a half used toilet roll, which they will ecstatically demolish! DIY bedding.
These are just a few suggestions… safety and your imagination are the only limiting factors…
Author: Alison Campbell
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