The Rat Forum's Beginner's Guide (Work in Progress)
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Thread: The Rat Forum's Beginner's Guide (Work in Progress)

  1. #1
    Squishy Laprat RatAtat2693's Avatar
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    Default The Rat Forum's Beginner's Guide (Work in Progress)

    Hey guys, so a couple of you may have seen in the Lounge that we're starting a Beginner's Guide to rat ownership, an FAQ, if you will, and we need you to help get this ball rolling.

    So, what can you do? Well...
    If you yourself are a beginner, give us your questions. Some of us have been doing this too long, so remembering that some people have never held a rat (properly) before is where we become relatively stupid.

    If you have experience, share it. You don't need to be an expert to write a cage review or hook us up with some awesome links. What's your favorite site for cage covers? Where did you learn how to dose Baytril? Is sewing hammocks easy?

    How many yogies could a rat yogie if a rat could make it's own yogies?! The world may never know without you.

    The point of this is that, as some of you may notice, our forum is full of information. But it's scattered everywhere. If we could centralize some of our core links, I think it would be much easier for those of us who are new to these fluff balls we call friends - uh, I mean rats.

    Without further adieu, I'll start.

    One of my all time favorite guides for sewing hammocks is:
    http://www.ratropolis.com/Rat%20Tuto...tTutorials.htm
    Just download the free sheet and there's about a million different patterns.

    Also, post some categories for this. We also composing a master supplies list of e-v-erything you'll ever need for rat ownership, from Oxbow to toenail clippers and zip ties. So, if you feel like taking an inventory of your supplies (which I found myself doing while moving), post them here as well.

    Thanks a ton, and I know there are so many n00bs :wink: out there who are thanking you as well.

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    Squishy Laprat catty-ratty's Avatar
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    I'll add my ideas in individual posts for clarity.
    'Til we meet again, I love my Bratty-Ratty

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    Squishy Laprat catty-ratty's Avatar
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    Default Habitat

    Cage Attribute Musts!!!
    Helpful Cage Attributes
    • Doors that are large enough for YOU to have easy access to the cage.
    • Makes for easier cleaning
      • Arranging items in the cage, hammocks, toys, hide huts, hammocks etc.
      • Litter box training
    • Raised edges to keep litter and poops inside the cage
    Cage Environment
    • Lots of Hammocks
    • Toys and puzzles
    • Hide huts and other places to hide
    Substrate
    • Things to Avoid
      • Cedar and Pine Shavings
      • Should be dust free
    • Substrate Types
      • Fleece
        • Should be 100% polyester, wicks urine down
        • Absorbent layer should be placed under fleece soak to up urine
          • Fleece Pros
            • No litter to get tossed out of the cage
            • Easier to clean floors of cage
            • I personally think it's easier on the feet
            • More fun than shavings
            • Relatively inexpensive
            • Can be reused
          • Cons
            • Not always easy to secure it well to the floors and shelves
            • Some rats will pull it up, chew on it and burrow under it, especially if it's not well secured
      • Shredded Paper, wood shavings
        • Pros
      • ***I'm not a big fan of other kinds of substrate, so someone else should list the pros
        • Cons
          • Can be messy
          • Can be difficult to find dust free
          • Even with higher edges on the shelf, it can end up outside of the cage
          • Can be more difficult to litter box train
          • Not reusable

    For more information on cages and recommendations, see the sticky 'Choosing a Good Cage For Your Rats'
    http://www.ratforum.com/showthread.p...our-Rats-GUIDE
    Last edited by catty-ratty; 04-14-2016 at 01:10 PM. Reason: Add Information
    'Til we meet again, I love my Bratty-Ratty

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    Squishy Laprat catty-ratty's Avatar
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    Question Question about writing the beginners guide?

    Will all of this information be reposted after it is final in it's own forum after it is finalized? I think that would be a good idea. I keep thinking of other things that should be included under habitat. We only have something like 5 minutes to edit it. I've already added or edited 3 times.
    I'm willing to write a more in depth guide in Word and then post it later. I would also like input from others so all the information can be posted in single thread.

    Also, I think listing info in bullet form would be most helpful, at least for me. The pertinent information will be easier to find without conversation in the body of it.
    'Til we meet again, I love my Bratty-Ratty

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    A few pros to paper bedding:
    (Even though I don't use it lol.)

    No worries about chewing it up
    Rats can burrow in it, removing the need for dig boxes.
    Easy to clean, just dump and replace.
    Low maintenance and easy to set up.
    Rats are like potato chips, you can't have just one.

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    Squishy Laprat catty-ratty's Avatar
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    Feeding supplies

    The best ones I've found have a metal ball in the sipper. They are less likely to leak. Also, have more than one. Sometimes they malfunction, all the water leaks out or water stops flowing out.

    If you use water bowls, get heavy ceramic ones or the kind that are made so they don't easily turn over, same with food bowls.
    Rats will often poop in the bowel or try to cover it up. If it's covered up with absorbent material, it may soak up all the water
    'Til we meet again, I love my Bratty-Ratty

  9. #7
    Squishy Laprat catty-ratty's Avatar
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    I'm just going to take the 'habitat topic and ask for input as I go along and then post it when it's done.
    'Til we meet again, I love my Bratty-Ratty

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    Skritch Lover
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    I'm posting ideas for info in this post. Actual replies for the information requested will be in separate threads for clarity and ease of reading.



    A few I would love to see

    Common rat ailments (Like URI's, tumors, and ear infections) as well as treatments for them, for people to be able to go to their vets with some basic knowledge.

    Tips on rat-proofing a room.

    Acquiring cheap/budget cage decorations.

    Building your own rat toys. (Things to look for and avoid and how to make safe toys.)

    Training guide, along with several common rat tricks and how to teach them.

    Vet costs, averages and ways to budget vet costs (such as care creadit) and other realated info.

    I'd love to see an up-to-date list of veterinary practices, breeders, and rescues in each state for rats.

    Also, I would love to see a guide on choosing a new rat from any source with information from multiple people. (I hope I don't start another flame war here because of people who want to preach to the choir about how pet store rats are the worst things on the planet. Please no one get into that argument here! It'll destroy this thread and the purpose of it.) I don't want a guide on choosing a rat from a rescue or pet store from someone who would never or has never gotten one from a store or rescue himself/herself. I don't want to hear from someone who thinks that any rat not from a breeder deserves to be left behind to be neglected and/or killed. I want a guide on how to choose a rescue or pet store rat from someone who would choose those animals himself/herself. I wouldn't advocate pet store rats, but I know from experience that sometimes it is the only viable option and if someone is making that choice, that person needs to go into it with the best information possible. If someone doesn't agree with adopting pet store or rescue rats, he/she should just contribute to the "selecting a breeder rat" section instead.
    Rats are like potato chips, you can't have just one.

  11. #9
    Skritch Lover
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    For people in NC there are two main veterinarians I know of.

    Animal Ark, Clemmons, NC
    Clemmons is located next to Winston Salem, 30 minutes away from High Point. This is the go-to rat vet for people in the area. They have 2 experienced rat vets who are very knowledgeable. They do neuters on Wednesdays but will not do spays unless necessary due to the high number of risks. Prices are very reasonable and great customer service.

    Avian and Exotic Care, Raleigh, NC
    Exotics vet in Raleigh. They only have 1 vet there for rats and are very expensive. Not recommended to go there for surgeries or specialized procedures but fine for regular issues and physicals.

    As for rescues, I only know of the county shelters. I am planning to start up a small animal rescue in the area (Not just rats but all small animals. Small scale so I don't get overwhelmed. If anyone wants to help out I'd be glad for it.) but it'll probably be another 3-6 months before I'm ready to start it up. NC has a huge need for rescues and breeders. Closest rat rescue I could find was in Pittsburgh and the only breeders I could found wouldn't reply to me inquiries or hadn't updated their pages in years and probably didn't exist anymore.
    Last edited by InuLing; 04-14-2016 at 02:00 PM.
    Rats are like potato chips, you can't have just one.

  12. #10
    Squishy Laprat catty-ratty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InuLing View Post
    I (I hope I don't start another flame war here because of people who want to preach to the choir about how pet store rats are the worst things on the planet. Please no one get into that argument here! It'll destroy this thread and the purpose of it.)
    Amen to that!

    Another thing that would be good is a UNBIASED comparison of getting a rat from a breeder as opposed to a pet store of feeder rat. I personally think that these comments would be most helpful from people who have had all three. I've only had feeder bin and pet store rats, so I wouldn't be the best to make these comparisons. I also think these comparisons should be based on facts, not opinions.

    Matter of fact, non-judgemental OPINIONS can be included in a separate thread.

    Both should also include pros and cons of each source.

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