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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
Shavings are damaging for a rats respiratory tract and should never be used. The same applies to tanks as they do not provide adequate ventilation. A wire cage with a PLASTIC bottom and PLASTIC shelves and ladders should be used. Recycled paper pellets which are almost dust free and not scented are the best option. There is still a lot of under education regarding rats and you can damage their health without them letting you know until it's too late. Rats don't show their illness until usually too late due to their survival instinct.
Amanda, International
Posted: 1/19/2016 1:14:12 AM
rats should not be kept long term in a tank. they are only suitable in an emergency, or as a maternity cage (as small babies can fall out through some bars)
tanks lack adequate ventilation for rats, who have very fragile respiratory systems. they also lack climbing opportunities, and ways to attach further enrichment.
an adequate rat habitat is a barred cage that provides a minimum of 2 cubic feet per rat.
keeping rats in tanks is very damaging for their health.
Sheena, International
Posted: 5/20/2015 3:17:38 AM
I just got a rat have him in a large aqarium with plenty of things to clime he likes his wheel I clean it weekly he seems happy I want to get him a friend but I hope I am not hurting him with shavings I use for my ginepig
sylvia, el paso, TX
Posted: 11/21/2014 11:04:32 AM
I have a glass tank with a topper as well and I believe this is best because and all wore cage can cause bubble foot which no one wants.
Cassandra, Westlinn, OR
Posted: 9/27/2014 1:06:50 PM
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