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Discussion Starter #1
I love my girls so much and I give them free range time for at least 3 hrs a day and I spend about 1 hr with them during that time. I wrestle with them and pretend chase them with my hand. (There are days, however, when I can only spend 15 minutes or so with them and they're just out free ranging.) They popcorn and runaway and come back and crawl on me, etc. I guess that's all fine.When they are in their cage, they just sort of hang out in their hammock or tube or dome. I have lava rock stuff and toilet paper rolls stuffed with stuff, and rope ladders, etc., but they never use them. They don't seem to play. I don't want them to be bored and unhappy. What can I do or provide them?I just feel like they just don't do much other than when I "play" with them. And they are 6 month old girls who can't sit still. Just confused. I've only had a male rat previously, who just liked to hang out with me. So, I want to make sure I'm being a good mom.
 

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I've never had female rats, but I've read that female rats always like a wheel to run on.
Maybe try that?
 

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I had a wheel in the cage with my ladies and they thought it was good for poop and nothing else. :p But those are my specific nuts.

My girls are total lazy bones in their cage but once they're beyond those bars they run like nuts! I do think, however, that they get very busy at night as I notice that's when most things get shredded/moved around the cage. Perhaps you're just not seeing your ladies be active? I don't think you've got anything wrong with your parenting, especially with 3 hours of free range time! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I've tried a wodent wheel and they're not interested. Any ideas as to what I can put in their cage for night play? I just feel like when they are in the cage, they are so depressed, like they're dying.
 

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I've tried a wodent wheel and they're not interested. Any ideas as to what I can put in their cage for night play? I just feel like when they are in the cage, they are so depressed, like they're dying.
If they are active during play time, then I doubt that they are dying. If they just sit there during play time, then I would certainly be worried.

Maybe they're a little spoiled by play time? It's like, you have this really awesome performance car. You have the option to really open the throttle and punch it for a good time. When you drive it out to the desert or the autobahn, then you can't wait to cruise at 110 MPH. When you come back home, you cruise the neighborhood at a respectable speed. It's not depressing; you just know that there's a time to let loose, and now isn't it. You want to save your excitement for the open road. I dunno; maybe it's not an appropriate analogy.

I would think that there's cause for concern if they are consistently lethargic. If they're popcorning and being hyper during play time, you don't have that.

Just my own novice thoughts on the matter.

As for play items, my rats get amused with simple stuff. They never liked the wheel, so that doesn't apply. But they seem to enjoy Kleenexes. They like building with them. When you go to bed, try stuffing about a dozen Kleenexes halfway through the bars. Make sure you put some in hard-to-reach spots to challenge them. I left a near-empty toilet paper roll on top of the cage. It probably had a dozen sheets left on it. The next day I found an empty roll on the floor. I had another near-empty roll, so I put that on top and observed them. My oldest rat got curious about this thing on top and managed to snag the toilet paper and drag it down into the cage, unraveling the roll.

I posted a video (https://youtu.be/aXzkjNYPmIk) where I made a treasure chest out of an empty toilet paper roll. You cut eight slots into the end and then fold the slots into each other to "seal" off the roll. Fill it with tasty treats. Place somewhere hard to reach. This does not last long around my rats. If you place it when the rats aren't around (say, during free range), then it might take them a little while to realize what that is. When the rats are investigating me while I'm putting one of these up, they immediately tear into it. Still, it might be hard to find a place that proves challenging to them. As you can see in my video, the treasure chest is quite the distance from any perch, but my girls were able to reach it. This video reflects the longest that one of these treasure chests has lasted.

Otherwise, I just throw in a few boxes and some Kleenexes, and they seem to have fun with them.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I appreciate the advice. I will try the tissue idea. Sounds like fun!
 

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One thing I loved to do was shop the thrift stores for baby toys. I got the Fisher Price barn and when I heard mooing or clucking I knew my kids were playing. One day I found something that I still haven't identified. It was about a 6" dome with openings in the top, front and back and a large button in the middle. When the button was pushed, music played. I think it may have been part of a larger toy. I went home and put it in the cage. Later I heard the music and before I could think, "Oh, good. They found it." I heard someone run helter skelter to the bottom of the cage and thought "Oh, no. They're afraid of it. I better take it out." Imagine my surprise when I went to the cage to see six rats lined up to take there turn making the music and running away. That toy was a winner. Some rats use wheels, some don't. But rats can make toys of almost anything.
 
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