I am going to be bringing home a rat soon for our family to care for. How should I make her feel at home?
Marie says: Firstly, it is very important that your rat has a rat companion as they are very social animals who naturally live in large groups. Living with at least one companion will help them to feel safe and happy. The suitable matches are a pair or more of males, a pair or more of females, or a castrated male to one or more females.
Before you bring your rats home, take the time to set up their cage with lots of exciting enrichment. Rats are extremely clever and inquisitive; they require a large cage, either the Freddy 2 Max Cage or the Explorer. Enrichment can include large rope ladders, dog rope tuggers, tunnels, hammocks and Savic Sputniks. Avoid using wood shavings as this can be very bad for their health. Carefresh or card cubes are much better.
Once you are ready to bring your rats home, prepare their carrier with some bedding and a small amount of food. Place the carrier inside the cage and allow the rats to come out in their own time. Allow them to settle in their cage for around 48 hours before you start to handle, as this will help them adapt to the familiar smells, sounds and movements of their new home and family. Avoid placing the cage next to a window or loud electrical equipment. Once you feel they are relaxed and are used to your movements, set aside some socialising time every day, offering them healthy treats and the choice to climb onto your arm when they are ready.
Marie Pavaday-Pillay – Behaviour & Training Specialist – Small and Field Animals at Wood Green, The Animals Charity
Hide ‘N’ Seek Nestables
The Nestables provide a natural form of burrowing, while also being good for physical and mental health.
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The Sputnik can be placed on the cage floor or hung up on the cage bars. It’s an ideal sleeping area or hideaway for your pet.
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