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I always thought a pet rat free roaming around your entire house was a crazy idea until I got my lil bub Rice, he's a sweetheart and has no problem with it, he's so curious and comes up to everyone and comes when called, he was so scared to even touch the tiles separating the hallway and my room for awhile haha, but slowly we helped him overcome his fear of the forbidden hallway and now he goes everywhere. And then there's Link, oh boyyy. She does great free roaming in my room, a gentle sweet baby all the way but decides shes a wild rat in the rest of the house. It's so frustrating! She gets so scared and hides for no reason! I don't want her to be this way because I want her to trust us and feel safe and secure--- which she is 100% but it's never gonna happen. I'm not even gonna ask how to get her to be more open about it because it is in her personality to be skittish, and you can't change a rat's personality so that's just the way it's gonna be with her. I have 3 more babies that im currently working on with that too :--) Does anyone else let their rats go about their day in their entire house?
 

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I personally wouldn't do it. There are risks in doing that, from lots of damage to furniture, walls, carpet, clothes...to chewed wires that could start a fire. They will start doing nests in your mattress, sofa...it will attract all kinds of pests like ants or moths...Rats will pee everywhere in your house, it will be very difficult to keep it clean if possible at all. I restrict my rats free range time to my bathrooms, playpen, and protected sofas. I didn't protect my sofas at first and nothing happened for months, but suddenly they decided it would be fun to start chewing it:(
 

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Oh my, I'm sorry for your terrible experience with it Rice is not a chewer at all and I trust him completely. The other one definitely is and I don't let her out anymore, personally it's been good for me with rice obviously lol. Only have to put him back when people are eating because he's a burglar
 

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I just had a few small holes in one of my sofas, I never free ranged them, lol. I was able to hide them ok with a black sharpie (the sofa is black but the stuffing is white, well black now). I just wrote what other people free ranging their rats experienced. I'll buy new furniture when I move so I'm ok with it for now;) I live in a condo so I'm also responsible for people living around me and chewed wires can definitively be a fire hazard.
 

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My house isn't 100% rat proofed, I also don't own it (I live with my dad), so I can't completely free roam. However, I love introducing them so safe zones around my house.

I remember the first time I let Marley and Kara roam out of their usual free range habitat...they were bruxing non-stop! It was adorable.
 

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A member on her Catty-ratty free ranges her rat Anga and Rat Daddy free ranges all of his rats. It really depends on the personality or your rat and if they are chewers. I can't do it because i have a dog, cat and they would eat them. I also have two guinea pigs and the bars are 1 inches so the rats could squeeze through into their cage.
 

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I let my rats free range my entire apartment. I supervise them of course. I have elevated all electrical wires up high so they can't chew them.
 

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I sometimes free range them in my living room area as I have epoxy floors and brick walls so no damage possible (furniture have metal legs) and super easy to clean- BUT always under supervision that is I keep them in sight at all times. Were you talking about free ranging under supervision or free ranging all the time without supervision? Both are very different things. I definitevely would never do it 24/7.
 

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My boyfriend wants to dedicate a room just for our rats. Basically, he wants to rat proof it and treat it as one big cage so they can free roam the room. I'm not too keen on the idea of letting them do all that unsupervised though so it's for sure not gonna happen. I think we're just gonna make it a big play area when I take them out and play with them.
 

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Like J Animal said, I have one rat that free ranges my entire house, 24/7. I also have 3 that free range the bedroom. I have one rat that stays in the cage. She is still young, so free range is not out of the question.

While free range is not unusual, it's definitely not common. There are a few things to consider before making a decision. Some of them have been mentioned. Other things I have found out as I've gone along. For a time, I had decided against letting Anga free roam. When I met someone at Wal-Mart getting fleece one day, she told me that her rats free roam without any problem. I decided to give it a go.

Some things that I consider absolutely necessary before even thinking about free ranging

First of all, make sure your rats are litter box trained.

MOST IMPORTANTLY.........

You and your rat(s) MUST BE well bonded. Period. If you have any question about this, stop right there and keep them in the cage. If your rats are not well bonded to you, I don't think you can teach them about no-nos. I had to be pretty dramatic with Anga. Loud and scary! A rat that wasn't bonded to me probably would have been scared to death of me for the rest of its life and I would have lost a pet.

If I had to rat proof my entire house, Anga wouldn't be free roaming. Your rat needs to be smart enough to understand what you mean when you tell him/her something. Anga understands the difference between things that are absolutely forbidden, and things that just annoy me. Surprisingly, electrical wires have not been a problem at all. I have only found a cord that was chewed on twice. The first time I found one, I can't positively say my rat did it. I have caught kittens chewing on cords from time to time. I have a cat that that was a kitten at the time I got Anga. The other cord was obviously chewed on by the bedroom rats. Keeping them off of the floor has kept that from happening again.


Some things will be damaged.

For these things, you will have to decide for yourself how much you are okay with. My rats that stay in the bedroom have taken over my sock drawer. I'm okay with that. It's just an old night stand with two drawers. It's not something I mind losing. My other drawers, I would not be okay with that.

Don't buy expensive sheets or pillows. My rats like to sleep in bed with me. Pillows make great places to burrow and pillow cases get shredded. I'm going to have to salvage my feather pillows because they are coming apart. If your rats like to get under your shirt, plan to wear old t-shirts to bed.

Before making a decision, think about the things you have that you know you absolutely don't want them getting into, in addition to the obvious things, like electrical cords.

For me, it's been:

-My bedroom closet. Getting under closed doors is no problem for a rat. Figure out a way to keep them from getting under the door.
-All of my other drawers. If your drawers don't have a panel blocking access from underneath the dresser, like my nightstand, drawers and your clothes make a great place to make a nest.
-Under the kitchen sink where I keep cleaners.
-Linen closets.

All the damage I've had to deal with are things that aren't a big deal, to me. Make sure those things that are important to you are secured.
If you're a late sleeper, your rats will wake you up during the night and early morning hours.

One of the biggest benefits of free range with Anga, is that she is MUCH calmer now. She sits in my lap where she had too much pent up energy to sit still for a second before. Seeing her interact with the cats and dogs has brought tons of laughter that just wouldn't be possible with her in a cage. She chases the cats and dogs, wrestles and plays hide and seek. She harasses them! She has taken showers in the kitchen sink, cleaned the dogs teeth, steals cat food. A couple of days ago, I was giving my cat Mia a slice of cheese. Anga ran up and snatched it right out of her mouth and pounced off with it. One of my cats is afraid of Anga. It's hysterical to watch Anga chase her around the house, especially because there is no place she can go that Anga can't follow!

Some of the more annoying things are trying to type or doing anything with my hands when she wants to know what's going on. I'm frequently correcting typos or trying to distract her with something if I'm making coffee. She taunts me by lurking near the back of my computer when she's not getting enough attention. I have to eat in hiding. She has no qualms about stealing food right out of my mouth!

Free ranging is definitely not for everyone. It's it's an individual choice. For me, I'd rather have a couch I don't mind replacing if my cats claw on it than get rid of them or declaw them. I've had to find ways around a lot of problems with keeping pets, from finding in-obscure places to put cat boxes to certain fabric blends that fur doesn't tend to cling to. But all of those things have been worth it to me.

Cleaning the dogs teeth



Napping in my lap




Spooning with my cat, Ben



Hanging out under the desk





 

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Yup, I haven't a clue where Misty is right now.... she'll turn up for the dinner bell though. She cut a few wires and had an obsession with killing my orchids, but we had a meaningful conversation about it... think me ranting and screaming and pointing at what she had done... and she got past her issues with destruction, pretty much the same day. You almost need to catch your rats doing something bad to teach them never to do it again... Which is both good and bad.

We've had several free range rats now... some better, some worse than others... Max went free range at about six weeks old and lived all of her life cage free... She never damaged anything.... well until one day my wife accidentally kicked her and didn't apologize... the next morning almost every wire to my wife's desk was cut... one heck of a coincidence.
 

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My ratties free range in our bedroom. They go through phases of slightly destructive and curious behavior, but really not so bad. Although they can go wherever they please, they limit themselves to "their" dresser, the modified martins cages and dcn (we took off the doors). When my older girls (currently about 18 months) were first given their freedom, they went nuts and chewed through lots of stuff and left trails of poop in the craziest places.After about 2 months, they settled down. My younger ones now have been free range living for about 6 weeks and they're already becoming less frantic. In fact, one girl never strays from her cage and the dresser. Don't get me wrong, my babies have destroyed quite a bit, but if you are patient, they will settle down. But, get ready for a strict cleaning schedule!
 

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I have the master bedroom, so there's also a bathroom attached to it. I don't have the nerve to let them free range when I'm not home, but as soon as the dogs are walked and dinner is cooked, the boys get free run of the master suite. But it is true that they need to be bonded to you. I can't really let the girls out of their free-run pen atm because there's no guarantee I'd ever see them again, especially after I had to spend the better part of four hours and two would-be bites trying to get Daisy, my problem child, back in the CN. The boys are easy - call them, give them their cheese nip, and then toss them in the cage.
 

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Id love to free range my girls while our place is to cluttered with to many places to hide at the moment I am trying to let them out on our huge table and train them to come and what not while im also working on organizing and decluttering. Are there any tips on what i can be doing with them now on the couch and large table to get them ready to possibly free range later?
 

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Put a widget on the table with them. Start teaching them to stay away from it so they learn what 'no' means.
 

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She never damaged anything.... well until one day my wife accidentally kicked her and didn't apologize... the next morning almost every wire to my wife's desk was cut... one heck of a coincidence.
There's a reason they say rats are smart!
 

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Id love to free range my girls while our place is to cluttered with to many places to hide at the moment I am trying to let them out on our huge table and train them to come and what not while im also working on organizing and decluttering. Are there any tips on what i can be doing with them now on the couch and large table to get them ready to possibly free range later?

I'd try decluttering one room and start there. My mother and I went from a 2000 Sq ft house to a 600 ft apartment, so the only room in the house that's clear is mine.
 

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This was Fuzzy Rat's idea of free ranging...

IMAG0064.jpg free range at the beach.jpg
apparatus.jpg meet and greet at the beach.jpg


And yes, that little white speck in the distance, next to the trash can is her going back to the car on her own.

Hike to car.jpg


Indoors she was often bored and she destroyed stuff on purpose to get attention and cut me off from technology...


IMAG0009.jpg IMAG0010.jpg

It's not that she didn't know better... she did, she just parsed my words better than the other rats... when I told her don't cut that wire... she didn't.. she just went after another...

One day. I was listening to music, when she snipped the cord to my headphones... I got the soldering iron our and started to fix the wires, while I was stripping back the insulation.... cursing under my breath... she slunk onto my desk, snipped the plug off on the other end of the wire and ran off with it. She even disconnected my phone calls by snipping my phone wires if I was on the phone too long. Once she learned I was more bark than bite... she pretty much did what she pleased...

I became very good a soldering very thin wires...
 

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when I told her don't cut that wire... she didn't.. she just went after another...
At night, I solve Sudoku puzzles in bed before going to sleep. Pebbles is obsessed with stealing my pen or pencil. I tell her not to take my pen, so she grabs the pencil instead. I have to be quick to get it back from her!
 

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I once told a friend that I had to get off the phone and take Fuzzy Rat to the park before she cut my phone cord and she insisted that my rat was holding me hostage... She might have been right.
 
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