Hi! Today was the first hot day and my guys seemed very hot. They were lounging on their "pee rocks". I imagine they were cooler. First, if there are any helpful ideas to keep my rats cool & healthy, I would much appreciate that. Also, fleece must be the hottest choice, do all who use fleece bedding do so all year? I was trying to think of alternatives. Possibly terry cloth without loops, but cutting towels to size would likely have the pieces falling apart unless I hem them all- which is like to avoid Thanks in advance,Katie
A few weeks ago I went to Home Depot with my parents to buy some carpet and saw that there were several wooden tile samples available. I got a few of the bamboo flooring ones, because they were marketed as lacking harsh treatments and such. I pick up a few every time I go and it was actually a really good, clean alternative to bedding. The only problem is that my cage is shaped oddly so it's impossible to cover the whole bottom without cutting them, which would be a hassle. But, if you have a square cage you can just use each little piece to create a floor that is cool and easy to clean. I also am going to try tile soon, as I'm at my wits end with fleece! I use it in hammocks and in their sleepers, but I feel like it's collecting a lot of dander and such and isn't as good for my little sneezy girls!
Also, try putting a few ice cubes (not too many, we don't want overflow or a brain freeze!) in their water bottle during the hottest parts of the day. You can also use a fan and allow it to face the cage to keep a good airflow. If you don't have one, or you have one that is too dusty, you can use one of those small desktop/clip on fans from walmart. They're about $5-$10 and some of them are battery operated. If your boys don't like to pull things into the cage, you can find a secure spot on the outside to clip it so that the blades are out of reach. Some rats really like swimming (mine don't) so you may want to create a game of it and allow them to cool off in a small tub of water. If you put toys and treats (especially frozen veggies) in the water, it lures them in!
Some rats also fancy dunking their heads in a waterbowl. Sometimes, I will get a bowl of water and fill it up and allow my girls to drink from it when playing. They like to lap it up, put it on their heads, etc. Finally, frozen treats are awesome. My girls are nuts for frozen peas, and I doubt any rat would pass up a bowl of frozen berries and veggies! You can also use fruit juice (no mango or orange) to make ratty popsicles! They will enjoy it, and you might, too!
I live in a much hotter climate, and I've tried using fleece. My rats don't find it comfortable at all, and they usually tear it up and sleep and the shelf under the fleece. I found that using flannel liners and keeping a few tiles in the cage really helps. Flannel is much thinner than fleece, and I find it stays cooler.
I've got a little platform that is closer to the window that my girls seem to like to go on when it's too warm. But also they seem to really enjoy sleeping in places where they generate a lot of heat...