Rat Cages: all you need to know
When it comes to rat cages, you are spoiled for choice. There are so many varieties, each offering features that keep your small animals entertained and safe.
As the name suggests, rat cages are for rats. But they are also suitable for a range of other similarly sized mammals, including chinchillas and degus. Rat cages should offer at least two cubic feet of space per rat, and possibly more. In general, the bigger, the better.
The makers of rat cages study small animals intently. Over the years, they have developed an internal cage layout formula that keeps rats' minds active and engaged. Most rat cages for sale offer a multi-level design, featuring various ramps and platforms. Some even have small rat-sized hammocks.
What Features Should A Rat Cage Have?
Rat cages should come with a variety of features that make them appealing to rats. After all, they are going to be spending most of their time in them.
Where possible, avoid cages with wire bottoms. It can hurt the rats' feet and make it uncomfortable for them to support their weight. It can also lead to the development of a condition called bumblefoot, characterised by growths on the soles of rats' feet. Look for products that offer tray bases - preferably ones that you can remove for cleaning.
Tray bases are usually covered in some bedding material and are washable, assisting with mucking out. Any solid material will do, but please note that wood bases will eventually deteriorate. The best option is non-corroding metal. Cover both with soft bedding.
Wheels Or Runners
Secondly, look for cages that feature wheels or runners. These make it easier for you to move the cage from one location to another to give your rats a change of scene.
While some cages include rat wheels, the majority of designs now prefer to use platforms arranged over several levels and connected via ramps. These provide small animals with all the exercise that they need while creating interest at the same time.
Furthermore, if you keep multiple animals in a single large rat cage, it helps provide separation and allows them to remain out of line of sight of each other for portions of the day, reducing stress and conflict.
Sometimes rats and other small mammals like to have long snoozes in comfort. Quality rat cages, therefore, often come with bedding accessories, such as hammocks. Usually, these suspend from the roof of the cell and require some aerial acrobatics to climb into.
Hammocks are essential because they simulate the cosy environment of a natural rat’s nest. Individual animals can curl up next to each other and sleep.
Quality cages should feature a large door at the front that lets you change the water, food, bedding, and other accessories. Doors allow you to pick up your rats if they're tame.
You should also be able to easily disassemble the cage if your rat has a health problem or is reluctant to be handled.
Please note that rat cages come in different shapes and sizes.