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I've seen a lot of differing opinions on this and I wanted to ask here - what are your thoughts on running-wheels for pet rats? We've got so many chew toys and hidey-huts and perches and hammocks in their cage right now that there's no room for a wheel. They get so much exercise running around and climbing in there - plus we play find-the-shredded-paper-towel game with them several times a day ...we'd be happy to add a wheel to our free-range sessions, but do people here think they are an absolutely necessary cage accessory?
 

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I dont really think so. Unless, maybe, you rats are really y oung because then they can learn to use it right away. My girls dont touch theres, and thats the same for a lot of owners.
 

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It's not absolutely necessary but it's nice. One thing to take into mind though is that not all rats will use wheels. Out of my six girls only three of them run on the wheel. You could maybe buy one and see if they'll use it and just return it if they don't?
 

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My girls love their wheel, and ran so much that it broke last night. We're gonna replace it asap, because you can tell they miss it. Usually there are two running in it and the other two trying to get in. I have a wheel in the boys cage, and I think Remy is close to figuring it out.
 

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All I can say is that if you get a wheel make sure it has solid footing (You don't want any toes or tails caught in any type of mesh) and that it is at least an 11 in. wheel. If its not big enough your rats might start to curl their tails up over their back which is very bad for their spines when done consistently.
 

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No, they don't need a wheel. They do, however, need exercise. I'd say that the amount of rats that don't like wheels is higher than the ones that do, in my personal and observed experience.

An excellent way to get them exercise is to present climbing and jumping opportunities. For healthy young and adult rats, consider removing cage ramps and adding things like ropes, making them rely on climbing and jumping to get to where they want to be.
 

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My rats only use the wheel on occasion, but I like them to have the option if they feel they need to blow off some steam. They have plenty freerange every day and climbing opportunitys in and out the cage, so they don't really need a wheel for exercise but for the odd occasion I'm home late I'm glad they have the wheel to keep them occupied.
 

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No, they don't need a wheel. They do, however, need exercise. I'd say that the amount of rats that don't like wheels is higher than the ones that do...
I'd say there's your answer.

I never had a wheel in my cage until a friend insisted they buy me one. So far the only rat that uses it is my old, frail, and completely blind girl Mitzy. Of all the rats in that cage, young and old, I'd never have guessed she'd be the one to enjoy it.
 
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