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Discussion Starter #1
I let the girls out for a few hours every day. I play with them about half of the time and the other is just free-range time for them while I work on my thesis. My room is relatively rat-proof, but there are a few things that I cannot get them to stop doing.
The biggest issue is that Lee is completely bonkers about climbing my clothes. She jumps from the floor to grab onto a dress and then climbs up it and hangs out on the hangers. Not only is it not great for my clothes, but I'm afraid she's going to fall and hurt herself. The dresses are in my closet, but it's not a closet that has doors.
I've contemplated trying to free-range elsewhere, but I live in university housing so my only other option would be the communal bathroom, which I suspect might not be well received. How do I convince Lee that extreme mountaineering is not the hobby for her?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've stacked bins and boxes in front of it before. I swear she does parkour, she gets places that just should not be possible. A sheer barrier might work better though-- how high can rats actually jump?
 

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Dela jumped from the ground about three feet straight up. If you make a barrier I suggest making it pretty high and not putting anything climbable infront of it, since they'll use it to jump higher.
 

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From a flat surface upwards about 3 feet I believe. I use coroplast boards to block stuff off, at a height of 25 inches. They've never tried to jump up it. Some cardboard boxes opened out and taped over the front of your wardrobe could work well. I've been trying to teach my boys not to climb my bookshelf and pee on my books - if I see them trying and say 'no' they will stop, but as soon as I'm not looking they're up there again lol. They do climb less since i began training them but rats are stubborn :)
 

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Grizz doesn't pee on my books but she does pull them all off the shelf. :/ Along with my pants. It's a good thing they're so cute...
I might look into getting a sheet of plexiglass to just put up against the whole thing while they're out. My only concern would be them trying to climb it and it falling on them, but that can probably be avoided. Lee would probably just leave it alone.
Grizz on the other hand... sigh. As I typed this she knocked a cookbook over on herself and then got all indignant about it. She has been driving me bonkers lately. She stole my bus pass when I wasn't looking and hauled it into their nest a few days ago. I spent hours looking for it, and she was very offended when I took it away from her as she was sleeping on it!
 

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Your rats sound hilariously cheeky! I have the same problem with climbers and jumpers and am yet to find a foolproof solution. So far i block things off with cardboard sheets but i don't have enough to make the barrier high enough and so i spend most of the rats play time scooping Sansa back off the top of it and onto the floor again. She can also jump onto my bed from the floor and onto my bedside table and constantly tries to climb my CD shelf (so much so that i ended up clearing out one shelf for her to chill on as she seemed to insist it belonged to her).
 

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Rats are so determined to do exactly what you DONT want them to do :p mine started climbing the blinds so I had to angle them downwards to prevent that. And when they're not getting into trouble my rats just harass me! They will follow me around in a little fleet and take stuff right out of my hands!
 

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Grizz doesn't pee on my books but she does pull them all off the shelf. :/ Along with my pants. It's a good thing they're so cute...
I might look into getting a sheet of plexiglass to just put up against the whole thing while they're out. My only concern would be them trying to climb it and it falling on them, but that can probably be avoided. Lee would probably just leave it alone.
Grizz on the other hand... sigh. As I typed this she knocked a cookbook over on herself and then got all indignant about it. She has been driving me bonkers lately. She stole my bus pass when I wasn't looking and hauled it into their nest a few days ago. I spent hours looking for it, and she was very offended when I took it away from her as she was sleeping on it!
:laughing:

Thank you for that, made my evening!

Okay, this may be totally un-doable, and perhaps unexplainable, over the 'net, but I'll give it a try.

Since you're worried about her knocking over or pushing aside a barrier in front of that closet door (and my girl Ara would do just that, and then look indignant when she got hurt, as well, as though it were somehow MY fault), then maybe try this:

Get a sheet of coroplast (sign shops usually will sell it cheap, or you can get some at stores like Walmart or Kmart, in the poster section) and a few shelf brackets, and then make a physical, horizontal barrier by installing that lightweight shelf right under the bottom of where your clothes hang to. You'll need to put a vertical barrier at the front of the shelf--just fold up the edge of the coroplast or cardboard for that.

My bet is the rats won't try to jump up onto the shelf if they can't see the edge of it, or easily judge the leap over the barrier at the front.

That way you won't lose the "footprint" of their free-range area. They will still be able to zoom around the same floor space on the floor of the closet, but no more mountaineering and rappelling from clothes hangers.
 

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Some good ideas here. Another relatively inexpensive method to try is to buy some tempered hardboard from home depot or Lowes (its under $10 for a really large piece) and use that as a barrier. You can also have them cut it down to smaller pieces to make a jigsaw style play pen (like we did) but I suppose that's a bit overboard. Our boy Elijah is exactly like that though, he will climb into and jump on anything that can potentially be dangerous so we are constantly trying to outwit him! Haha. I hope it works out, rats are just too darn smart and mischievous. :)
 

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What I used for my playpen was pieces of (thicker) cardboard taped together with packaging tape, I would recommend packaging tape because it's thick and sticks well to the cardboard and to itself. It's also pretty slippery so it's easier to keep them from using it to climb. It worked perfectly for my rats until I had too many toys jn there and she used them for extra height. The pen was maybe 3 1/2-4 feet high and I had it backed with the metal from some metal storage device thing that was in my room before. Just an added idea if the others don't work or you want to make a quickie one before you get a better material. :3
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm kind of glad to hear that other people's rats are as loony as mine. Makes me feel less like a lunatic! I think I'll see what I can do about a barrier that I can attach somehow, looks like I've got several options.
I'm glad my blinds are too high for them to reach, I've got a feeling I'd spend all my time extracting them from that mess if they were lower to the ground.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ooooh, good call on the packing tape. SOMEONE (not naming any names) has chewed through electrical and masking tape before, so a thicker material is probably a good idea.
 

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One day I looked away for a second, turned back around and the girls were having a race to see who could climb up the curtains first! They were nearly to the top!! I think I scared them off of it because I had such a fit, they haven't tried since. Now I have some things to try if they do it again :)
 
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