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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone else had problems with their rats EATING their Borris mats? I was so excited when I learned that IKEA would let you buy them online... I ordered 10 and have been using them for 2 weeks now. I've done 2 changes so far (taking out soiled ones and replacing with clean). Within the short time I've had them in the cage... and this is even before they've been washed, the rats have started taking chunks out of them. Yesterday when I changed them out I saw a 3" square piece taken out and the other mats had similar 1" areas along the edges taken out. I find tiny blue pieces in the cage, but don't find the backing, which leads me to believe they are actually eating the rubber....

At this point I'm really disappointed. So far they seem to control odor well and absorb urine, but if the rats are eating them, I can't use them as I'm certain eating rubber isn't good for them.

If any of you have any experience with this, I'd love to hear how your rats reacted and if they were eating them as well or what you did to reduce the chewing.

BTW, my rats have aspen on their bottom layer and cardboard to chew on (along with chew toys) and they get a mixed diet (so I don't think it's a nutritional thing).
 

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Rubber is very attractive to rats, one of the reasons I wouldn't use them myself, I doubt a small amount would cause issues but not great long term.

What's your cage? Do you need shelves or a middle layer or can you use hanging litter trays and aspen
 

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My rats like to chew on the mats, though I don't think they've been eating any of them. I've learned a bit about how rats have flaps in their mouths to separate their incisors from the rest of their mouths. So this lets them gnaw on wood/concrete/whatever without ingesting any of it. Of course, if they want to eat rubber, then they certainly could.

It does seem like the rubber would pass through them. I'd imagine that they would eventually stop eating rubber when they learn that it does nothing for their hunger. I don't know if there are any ill effects. In theory, rubber could block airways or digestive tracts, but if they're pulverized beforehand, I don't know what kind of threat it may pose.

My rats have been living on those mats for 9 months now, and they're doing just fine. The mats are frayed on the edges, and I intend to replace them all the next time I go to IKEA, but everything seems to be going well. But I admit that I've not seeing evidence of the rubber actually being eaten, so my situation may not be that similar to yours.
 

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well omg they are finally selling them online! yay.

Im currently using dish drying mats, they are more expensive but dont have rubber. You could try that?
Have you tried doing like fleece on top of the mats? They would probably dig up the fleece and such but it might stop chewing.
Another idea would be to get large chew type toys and put them where the most chewing is happening. Or put another cage item on top.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your input guys!
Isamurat- I have a DCN and am using these on the shelves. I used to not use shelves (they chewed the plastic and keeping fleece odor-free was an issue.. I have since replaced the plastic shelves with metal trays). I would completely remove the shelves, but I now have more rats and think the extra floor space is needed... Because you can't hang hammocks from the open door-side of the DCN, I think the shelves are my only option.

Kuildeous- What is really concerning is that they are taking out chunks from the mats... I expected frayed edges... but the chunks are at least 1" square.. Given that they've done this much damage in just 2 weeks (with the mats being in the cage maybe 5 days before being replaced) I don't see how they could last even a couple months. I don't have evidence per-say that they are eating the rubber, I just can't find any of it... Only the tiny blue pieces that are from the tops of the mats.

Moonkissed- Yes.. That's why I was excited. The shipping is still crazy, but I figured if I ordered enough, it would offset that cost. I think I will try putting loose fleece over it next and see what happens. Failing that, I will probably put litter in the trays (I use horse stall pellets). They would chew at their fleece occasionally, but nothing like they do with these things.
 

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I didn't mean to imply by fraying that the damage was small. Some weeks I would have little Borris pellets that I have to vacuum. They weren't an inch wide, but they were probably about 1/8" to 1/4" across. Some mats have an inch or two carved out of them. And some mats have holes chewed in the middle (no more than 1/8").

They haven't done it lately, so they don't find it fun anymore. I try to throw in some chew toys where possible. I have a couple of branches, which I'm surprised were not chewed down. The occasional chicken bone gets thrown in there and is unrecoverable.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for your response! I give them wooden chew toys and also those whimzee chews occasionally, they also have lava ledges to chew on as well. They barely ever touch their wooden chews, but I have seen a lot of chewing on the lava ledges since putting them in just 2 weeks ago.
 

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My floor is covered in black powder from my rats chewing through their plastic trays in the DCN. They seem to have a good idea of what's for eating and what's just fun to chew.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
futureshadows- Yeah.. I replaced my plastic pans with metal ones due to the chewing. I do hope they're just chewing on the borris mats and not eating them.
 
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