Rat Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
228 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I'm just curious how this works...those of you who have pet rats that are free to roam your homes...how long did you wait to give them free range? Did you train them first...what kind of trouble do they get into? Aren't you afraid they'll escape the house? I can't let mine have free reign and even my dog is kenneled when I'm no home. Do you keep them in cages when you're not around? I've heard several people talking about sleeping with their rats and it sounds so...not odd exactly....but exotic. Sorry if this offends anyone, I'm just really curious.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
966 Posts
I free range mine in my daughter's bedroom. They do have a large cage they stay in. Except for one of my boys Sully. He lives in her room. He has a cage of his own seperate from the others(, he doesnt want to live with them , he can squeeze through the bars and really hates a cage). Mainly because he kept her up at night so I had to get him his own cage that he only sleeps in at night, otherwise he doesnt live in a cage. He is not a chewer like my other boys so I dont worry about him, he is litter box trained. It is a rat proofed room. He sleeps on her bed. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
I have known someone who rat proofed a room and gave her rats run of it. I don't know how exactly it worked, though.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,244 Posts
Some rats will demolish your home, some will be perfect house pets, most range somewhere in between... Sometimes when your rats shred some old paper towels it's cute, but when they destroy your daughter's new stuffed animal it's less entertaining... Or on Christmas Morining when they chew the faces off the dolls under the Christmas tree... For sure free range rats are challenging...

The other day Max popped the blister pack and was stealing and stashing my wife's Pseudofed pills one by one.. Thankfully she didn't eat them, but I tore the house apart to recover the missing pills. My wife brought the pills home left them on the counter and within 15 minutes 3 were already gone.

So... your free range rats might slice up your wires, which is a nifty fire hazard, chew up your kids new toys, push stuff off the counter at night, say farewell to your favorite glasses and mugs and steal and hide stuff, I'm still missing a certain thumb drive. And don't forget, one day they will eventually decide to wonder what's under the carpet and dig through to the floor and woe to be the person who sleeps on an air mattress... every rat is eventually going to wonder what's inside. Did I mention the holes in the underside of your box springs, mattresses and furniture or what happens when they decide that your walls are in the way of their progress... I guess not now...

Free range rats make for very interesting housemates... Like I said some are better some are worse. Expect some level of destruction and hope you don't have a really smart rat that get's bored easily.

Max our least destructive rat was bottle raised from about two weeks old. To keep her warm and feed her every two hours, she slept in bed with me, then she moved out of the bed and into the metal cabinet at night on her own. It's been her home ever since and she's the least destructive rat we've ever had. Actually there isn't a single act of destruction I can pin on her. Oddly when Cloud tore up my daughter's new stuffed animal my daughter went on a rampage and chased the rats around swatting after them, when she went off to cry, Max started beating up on Cloud as if she understood exactly what Cloud had done wrong and was enforcing the house rules.

Actually come to think of it Max has learned that there is sometimes food in plastic things she can't smell... We no longer leave water bottles on the floor as she'll pop a few holes into random plastic containers when she gets hungry a gallon jug of spring water can make a real mess, even if it isn't a big financial loss.

Cloud has to go into her cage at night, she got the stuffed animal when I was out of the house for a few hours mainly because she's attacked wires and stripped wires are a fire hazard.

Now as to rats escaping... that's an odd question... Free range rats live in their own house, well they share it with you, but in their mind it's their home... where would they possibly escape from or escape too.... They just redecorate sometimes...

As to sleeping around rats, Cloud pretty much leaves me alone, I'll wake up when she knocks something over, Max will wake me if she wants something, Amelia would make social calls around 3 AM and poke her head into my mouth, so I learned to pull the blanket up to my nose... Fuzzy Rat was as always amazing... she would lay her head on my pillow next to me until I fell asleep, then she would slide under the blankets after she knew I was sound asleep and climb onto the floor, then as soon as I made waking up noises she would climb back up onto the bed slip under the covers and be laying right next to my face with her eyes closed when I woke up like she never went anywhere... Something once woke me more abruptly and I got to watch her slinking back and pretending to be sound asleep. Basically you adjust to your rats special tendencies.

Why put up with this insanity? Because your rats become very confident and competent and the blossom into very interesting and independent animals... Amelia was a caged rat when we adopted her at 7 months old, Fuzzy Rat was a true shoulder rat with thousands of hours out on the road since she was a tiny pup, and lots of free range in the house.... They were both furry rodents, but beyond that they acted like completely different species... If I had to compare them, Amelia was a well behaved 5 year old and Fuzzy Rat was girls gone wild in Acapulco; swimming at the beach and licking the bottom of every tequila shot glass she met. Free range rats experience more, make more decisions do more stuff and evolve beyond caged rats... true shoulder rats function in the much more dangerous outdoor world... which is another order of evolution again, but it tends to make them more destructive when bored indoors.

I know I listed a lot of destruction, but that was over multiple rats and years... it's easier to get over home demolition when it's more incremental.

I hope that helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
When I was a teenager, I had this giant wooden wardrobe somebody had left in the old, old house we were renting. It seemed like an OBVIOUS place to put a rat to a younger me, since it was obviously not airtight, had shelves that were easy to wipe, and the doors had glass in them. So I conned a friend into taking me to the pet store, bought a rat, and brought her home with me. The second or third night I had her, she deteriorated really suddenly. So I stayed up all night with her in my bed, feeding her a mixture of water and jam, and then convincing her to eat, etc. I passed out somewhere around dawn, and when I woke up, she was staring at me from about two inches from my face.

From then on, she had free reign. We didn't have any other pets, and she didn't cause much structural damage, so it seemed like a fabulous idea to me. Even once I wised up and got her a "cagemate", Leto refused to be caged. That rat got into everything. I mean everything! I used to have several pairs of pants and shirts that had tiny coppery paw prints all over them because once the little devil got into a plastic thing of paint I thought was safe and proceeded to wander over my dirty clothes pile. She ate my unfinished sculptures once. She would come and wake me up to play with her if she got bored, because she never really had much interest in Demeter, her cagemate.

My mom told me the story of how she found out I had her -- because, being a little brat, I snuck the rats in -- and I still laugh. Apparently, Leto was out roaming the halls (my sisters knew her and liked her, and she liked to see if they'd left out any food), and mom was in the bathroom. There was something propped up against the wall, and Leto was sitting behind it staring at my mother. Just, you know, curious; because she didn't actually much know THIS human. She was very interested, and my mother knew something was up because yanno. Most wild rats aren't big on being curious about the giant humans.

They really are a pain in the behind if you give them free reign over an entire house, but if I ever find myself in a position again that I CAN...you bet your behind I will! My free range rat girl was the best rat I ever had. I'd probably take more care to rat proof it, though, hah. Not that that really does much good if your rat is determined. Still. There ARE ways.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
I think this was probably the most heartwarming, and amusing threads I've read today. I'm thinking about partially free-ranging my girl (only to go back when I'm out of the house, god forbid something should happen like a fire, and she's scared in a corner somewhere. At least then my friend knows to grab the cages). I"m thinking about using a harness and leash on Molly once she graduates from her playpen to see how she handles the big open spaces.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
My boys graduated from their play pen two weeks ago. They free range in our lounge for about 1-2 hours a day when I get home from work. In the beginning, they would really move from under the couch. (And now I have a huge hole at the back of my pure leather couch). Now, the all over. Climbing up tables and chairs. They getting more adventurous by the day! I have to keep an eye on them....the one almost fell into the bucket of water I had right next to me while cleaning their cage! I'm not quite comfortable leaving them unattended yet.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,244 Posts
It's odd, but you actually watch your rats become more competent as they explore and experience the world. Fuzzy Rat was a magnificent true shoulder rat and when we adopted Amelia she had spent her life in a cage... as they were friends and roomies we got to watch them interact a lot.. and don't get me wrong, Amelia was very smart, the only rat ever to figure out how to open the cage door on her own, but it really looked like Amelia was Fuzzy Rat's pet rat when they were together. They were light years apart in terms of skills confidence and competence. One rat spent her childhood chasing kids around the playground, the other sat in a cage all day and it really showed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
270 Posts
We let our boys have free run of the master bedroom/home office for 1-2 hours a day. They are magnificent, they've never damaged anything, never pooped outside of a litter box (except one time when Jesse made a big show of pooping under the bed after I stopped him from pouncing Nibbles), and never chewed anything (except one time Nibbles chewed my girlfriend's desk because he was mad I had... I can't remember why he was mad).

It's certainly been nice but I'm living in fear of the day they start to chew, because we really half-assed our ratproofing. On the other hand, they seem most interested in things that are covered and passageways that are blocked, so extensive rat-proofing might just make things worse.

Recently I just scatter Oxbow all over the room before letting them out; between exploring and scavenging the Oxbow I don't think they'd even have time to chew something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
543 Posts
We free range in the rat room/office at the moment. They don't chew, don't poop on the floor and when they're tired, either curl up on me or go back into their cage for a nap. Currently setting the living room up to be rat proof so they can free range in their when the cats are having their evening nap (obviously the cats shut out).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
955 Posts
My boys get freerange of the living room for 2 - 3 hours a day, more at weekends. I'd like to give them free range of more of the flat, but I share the property with another so the living room has to suffice. I try and let them out for a half hour before I leave for work, and when I get in the cage door is pretty much open for most of the evening.

They have a cat tree and a box fort along with various cat toys/tunnels which they love. They are also fond of my folding table which has become an unofficial climbing frame/clubhouse. They don't poop or chew so far, but they do mark a lot. I have to wipe up any little dribbles in the corners, and then at weekends pull the sofa away from the wall so I can clean underneath. I've managed to train them to keep off my bookshelf and the windowsill where I keep ornaments. I also live in fear of chewing as my place is rented - I have permission to keep the rats as long as they don't damage the property.
It's nice to be able to just sit in there and watch tv, eat dinner and multitask as I'm playing with the boys. They nip my toes and ears if I spend too long looking at my ipad though! And when I'm eating dinner they swarm me all at once trying to steal my food! Haha! If its a cage cleaning day, they all get involved climbing all over me and everything I've moved from inside the cage. They think its a big game and take turns to dive into the bag of old poopy cat litter, and 'steal' cleaning equipment/cage toys which they hide under the sofa.
They usually head for the cage around 10.30 of their own accord, ready for some dinner and a nap after all the running about.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top