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New Rat Checklist

A checklist of things to buy before you bring a new rat home.

By Audrey Pavia

1. Wire cage with bar spacing no larger than ½ inch apart, or large aquarium with screen cover.

2. Aspen or pelleted recycled paper bedding

3. Small boxes or flower pots

4. Tree branch for climbing (hardwood such as oak or aspen, or dried apple or cherry branches)

5. A solid-floored exercise wheel

6. Tubes for tunneling

7. Rodent chow in block or pellet form; fresh vegetables; grain or hamster seed mix

8. Attachable water bottle

9. Unpainted/untreated piece of wood/dog biscuits/safe chew toys for dental health

10. Safe and rodent-appropriate toys, including swings, ropes or toys made for parrots


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New Rat Checklist

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Reader Comments
Pretty good but add raw nuts and seeds, holding container for when cleaning cage, yogurt treats for bonding with them, liquid vitamins to put in water.
Tricia, BURBANK, CA
Posted: 11/29/2013 8:11:08 PM
I found this helpful although I disagree with #1. They should NEVER be housed in an aquariam since it has lack of ventilation and no way for the rats to climb.
Eve, rustburg, VA
Posted: 10/1/2013 2:08:37 PM
I have my rat in an aquarium with a metal cage that attaches to the top. This makes it a two story home with a ramp and plenty of space for toys, etc. I believe its the best of both worlds. I don't get bedding everywhere and I have not noticed a smell since the cage is cleaned weekly. This is a possible option for some and I love it and so does my Sheldon... (with whom I amend 4-6 hours with outside the cage).
Tarra, Tacoma, WA
Posted: 9/12/2012 10:21:08 PM
I noticed on number 1, you said 'or large aquarium with screen cover'. Please remove this and say NO aquariums. Aquariums provide very little ventilation for rats' poor respiratory system and they can get sick fast. Rats also love climbing the bars of their wire cages and you can attach hammocks and climbing materials, rats LOVE climbing, so it's mandatory they are kept in a wire cage..
Destiny, Temple, TX
Posted: 8/1/2012 1:26:45 PM
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