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So I heard that you shouldn't use towels in your rat cage because towels can shred and choke rats if they get wrapped up in them. I never thought it would happen to my girls. I laid one hand towel in the hammock for them to lay on and thought it would be fine.

The other day, I walked up to the cage and saw Spicy gasping for air and having what looked to be a seizure. She was stuck in the towel. I tore the towel and freed her. Luckily she is fine, but if I had gone to the cage a few seconds later, I could have lost her.

If you have any towels in your cage - PLEASE remove them!
 

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I think there is a certain risk for any type of bedding material. The fleece I have used has the potential of doing the same. I clip my stuff down so they aren't able to move it. I think they will keep trying to move it anyway.
 

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I think there is a certain risk for any type of bedding material. The fleece I have used has the potential of doing the same. I clip my stuff down so they aren't able to move it. I think they will keep trying to move it anyway.
Spicy was probably stuck because her nails got stuck in the hand towel loops too, giving her no traction to free herself from the towel . That would never happen in the fleece. By using towels, your rats can get their toes stuck in the loops and break a toe or a foot too. Just not worth the risks.


I'm happy Spicy is fine, she was very lucky.
 

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I like the towels and I accept the risk. It's 6 of one and 1/2 dozen of the other. I switch out constantly. I will note the warning and keep an eye out.
 

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The high risk towels are the type with the small loops of string on them making a fluffy effect, rather than those (like most dish towels) that are fully woven (in which case there not much different to most fabric) or have single strands rather than loops making the fluffy effect.

Its very much a case of risk assessment, there's a lot of things out there that can harm rats, but that can also be good. Take hay for example, it can be dusty etc but get a good dust free high quality stuff and its lovely enrichment for them to dig through as well as a normal substrate, however there's always a risk of a rat getting a strand stuck up its nose (I have heard stories) or poke it in the eye, even the soft stuff. However I make the decision based on the benefits vs the likelihood and severity of the risk and decide that its acceptable.

With towels I will use the lower risk types as well as fleece as that seems a nice balance.

I had a weird but similar one once, had a girl who had a tubagrip on to stop her irritating a wound on her side and found her apparently fitting one day. Her back was arched and she was pawing at her mouth which was open and teeth bared and a full on grimacing smile. It was terrifying. I got her out and she had a single strand from the tubagrip which had got caught behing her front teeth and was pulling her mouth sides back. The pawing was her trying to get it off. A quick snip later and she was fine and not bothered at all.

I still use tubagrips but I tuck the edges underneath now to prevent fraying and throw them away once frayed.
 
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