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Hello I am now the owner of two rats don't particularly know what kind if there is different kinds of rats and the only real reason for that is i'm trying to design a new product to prevent rats from chewing through wires without dying ,getting sick, etc. I am the care taker of these rats and I will be the only person using this account because I'm the lead designer for this product. I came here for advice on how to care for rats as well as get suggestions for the product if you have any questions I will gladly answer them.
 

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Hi, I'm an engineer myself, though mech end rather than electrical. Happy to talk vainly technical if needed.

Probably the main thing with rats and electric wires is that they are mainly drawn to those with a current passing through. It's quite distinct actually. I suspect they pick up on the electric current. You've got 2 main options to deal with it, the useual one is to keep them away e.g in plastic trunking, decent strength protective tubing or just blocking off the area. The other is to stop the cable being or appearing live to them. I tend to favour the first when I'm rat proofing as its low hassle but I do have a rat room and lots don't.
 

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@ Isamurat
I can see if they are attracted to wires just because of them having current ill just give them a strand of wire and see if they chew up the wire with no current I will tell you the results when I get them. Have any tips on keeping them happy and healthy?
 

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I saw something on a documentary show a while back about a company using capsaicin, the stuff that makes chili peppers hot, to deter rats/mice from chewing on wires. They somehow blended it into the plastic sheathing of the wire. Apparently this is a huge issue for cities like New York that have large rat populations.

I'm not sure your experiment is going to bare usable results though. I remember reading something else at one point that suggested the reason rats/mice chew on wires is because they can sense the electrical current running through them and they typically wont chew on wires that don't have an active current.
 

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they already make all kinds of covers for cords to prevent animals from chewing them. They are fairly inexpensive.

Something like this. But they have all kinds.

With rats you should probably check it often to make sure they haven't chewed through the cover but I think it would work fine.
 

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@Gribouilli I am currently using a improv cage its just a fish tank that has been modified really as far as food goes I am giving it cheese peanuts and crackers and for a drink milk/water.
@Dan203 See we were looking into using something like that here lately I've been researching rat senses (sight ,smell ,taste, etc.) to see if what would be a good thing to use aside from that i've read on google (and then confirmed it in a biology of rats book) that they will actually chew on things to keep their teeth from getting too long cause they grow like 4-6 inches a year (read below part as well)
@moonkissed Yeah we looked into sheaths but in general most of them did not work AND probably the most important part is no one is going to apply sheaths to a lot of wires I mean if its for a rat owners house like most of the people here then yeah it would function quite well but imagine you need to rat proof the wiring in a car you would literally have to disassemble the car and put sheaths on hundreds of wires which is no beuno what we are looking at is a sort of spray in which we will have canned air, a sealant , and something that will make the rats not chew through the wire. So instead of spending 600 dollars on sheaths you can buy a can for roughly 10 and its way easier to apply.
As always I will gladly answer any questions and take any suggestions
 

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You need to get your rat proper pet rat food like Oxbow Regal. The peanut/cheese/crackers will make your rat sick. How long will you have that rat?
 

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@Gribouilli Really? To be honest that's surprising I mean lots of rats literally live on trash. I will most likely be keeping the rats and when the testing is done I will see if anyone else wants them if not I will keep them until they die or someone else wants them (cause I'm probably not the best caretaker) also ive only been feeding them for 2 days so they should be fine right????????
Edit: 1/28/16 How long should a bag of food last?
 

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Get some Oxbow at your local pet super store. If they're young then they have a special kind for young mice and rats. If they're more then about 4 months then you can get the regal rat kind. It's about $10 for a 3lb bag. If you plan to keep them long term you can get a big 20lb bag from Drs Foster & Smith (online pet store) for like $40 which is a lot cheaper in the long run.

As for the project I'm not sure I'd recommend an aerosolized capsaicin. That sounds essentially like pepper spray, which probably wouldn't be great for the user.
 

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Yes two days on that diet is ok but weeks would be bad. Your rat is a pet not a street rat- they have different needs, and street rats don't live long at all so really any foods will do for them. Rat are wonderful pets, and I hope you will give them a chance to show you how smart, loving, and funny they are.
 

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Yeah I read that the average street rat only lives about 7 months. A pet rat lives 2-3 years. So make sure you consider that both when deciding who should take care of them and how your tests for the project might effect them long term.
 

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@Dan203 Not necessarily its not like your spraying it at your self your spraying it away from you the absolute worst that could happen is a very strong chili smell but there are odor neutralizing agents you can use for stuff like that.
 

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@Griboulli&Dan203 I understand that its not a street rat if I was planning on treating it like a street rat I wouldn't be here asking how to take care of it I plan on keeping it but I don't know how to that's why I'm asking how to take care of them.
 

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@Dan203 Not necessarily its not like your spraying it at your self your spraying it away from you the absolute worst that could happen is a very strong chili smell but there are odor neutralizing agents you can use for stuff like that.
Until it accidentally blows back in someone's face or seeps into the HAVC system. If you do truly intend to use it for cars it would be really bad if it came spewing out of the fan ducts while someone is driving at 70Mph on the freeway. You might want to look for something else that tastes bad to rats but doesn't have an effect on the lungs or eyes if it blows back on the applicator or the driver of the car.
 

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The bug in your plan is that you can also teach your rat not to chew wires... once your test rat learns you don't want him or her to chew the wires he or she will stop. And your experiment will become a smashing success... at least as far as your one or hopefully two rats are concerned... Rats shouldn't be kept alone.

Lastly rats are super intelligent, and they should have some play and exercise time with you every day, you will learn a lot more about them by actually interacting with them... think small dogs. And there's more than just current that draws rats to attack some wires... One rat we had would disconnect me to get my attention away for the phone or electronics... She cut my phone wires when I was talking on the phone and headphones while I was listening... She attacked my computer by cutting the mouse, keyboard and monitor wires whether the machine was on or not... and for some strange reason lots of rats hate answering machines... Go figure.


Another point, rats sharpen their teeth by grinding them against each other not by chewing things..


And yes, rats are trash eaters... and outdoors they eat a huge variety of different trash... meat, insects, fruits, nuts, grains and veggies... So if you're super big into dumpster diving you can fish a completely nutritious diet for your rats right out of your neighbor's trash bins... But it might just be easier to buy a good rat food from the pet shop like the ones recommended here.

As to spraying the wires with mace... over all most of our rats weren't big fans of hot Mexican foods, but up to a point they will get used to it.

Best luck.
 

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@Dan203 A gas will disperse it will not affect fans at all sure directly after you get through spraying there will be the agent in the air around it but it will soon fall to the ground and or disperse into the air the only areas that the agent will stay is the area with a sealant which will be on the wires and because it is a sealant it will seal it to the wire.
@Rat Daddy That is a valid point they can be taught to not chew things BUT our market is in mainly in mechanic shops and factories and I can assure you none of those rats are trained nor will they ever be trained but still a good point. You said interact and exercise with them aside from rubbing them what would you recommend to keep them happy and healthy? I just bought a bag of food from pet smart and even if I didn't I won't be dumpster diving .
 

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Self-healing materials might be great to work with. Cutting mats for rotary cutters et al used for sewing are made of a flexible synthetic material that responds to blades being driven into them by essentially smooshing back together after they're cut. It's pretty neat.
 

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Actually, I meant that YOUR rats will learn not to eat wires. Domestic rats need to bond with their humans in order to be happy and healthy and they will like to please you... just like dogs. So if they think you want them to eat the wire, they will do it for you. If they think you don't want them to eat the wires they will stop.

Most folks set up an area so they can interact with their rats, handwrestle or play chase games and some rats like to snuggle... I realize you didn't get into rats for a new pet... but if your test subjects aren't happy and healthy they won't act natural or perform in your tests.

Rats like to climb things...

IMAG0064.jpg

Follow their humans around
at heel on beach.jpg
make new friends
meet and greet at the beach.jpg

some like to snuggle
Sensitive content, not recommended for those under 18 Show Content
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and they prefer a variety of food...
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We don't dumpster dive but we share our meals and our girls do their own dumpster diving in the kitchen trash when they want something moldy..

These photo's by the way are of a very bright highly trained true shoulder rat. And by the way, she loved to shred wires. She was an expert at removing the insulation from both sides of an extension cord, leaving the bare wires exposed with only the insulation in between them and never getting a shock, unfortunately when a human touched the wire he was in for a rude surprise. Low voltage wires she just snipped.

I don't know if this is going to be helpful, but you might get some clues from the packaging industry... I've found some food packages that our rats tear through and some they don't seem to touch. There's something in some food packaging materials that seems to make the rats leave it alone. And this works up to a point... we had one rat suddenly learn that food comes in plastic bags and plastic containers... the day she figured it out she punched a hole into every plastic bottle, box and bag in the house... and yes that included the Windex. Rats are learning animals and they can actually learn that something that smells bad might have something tasty inside.

Of interst is that rats don't seem to like to chew on metal. I've patched rat cages with thin, soft aluminum flashing and they don't even test it to see if they can slice through it. Maybe if they thought the wires were metal they would leave them alone... Something like aluminum paint?

In any case, I've done a bit of inventing on my own and it's a lot of fun. And by the way, rats are like small dogs and they can be a lot of fun too. When I developed the method for synthetic work culturing that is still being used world wide, I went to the dollar store and bought just about every material and container they had there... It might sound funny, but once I found ones that worked, I then had to study my successful design to figure out why it worked... It was actually easier when I had a working prototype to compare to those that didn't work. My initial theory was good enough to get me into the ball park, but my published work looked all slick like I thought I knew what I was doing from the start.. which was far from the truth. It turns out, if anyone is into worms... it's all about getting oxygen saturation, humidity and ammonia level right..

With keeping rats off wires, it might be something tactile that keeps rats off... like texture. slipperiness or stickiness... It might turn out that your solution might be another use for WD40... Doesn't hurt wires and might keep rats off... Don't be afraid to shotgun your approach.

Best luck.

And by the way, I only mentioned dumpster diving yourself... not out of disrespect, but because the fact that rats do eat trash is often confused with the idea that wild rats have a bad diet, which is far from true. There are all kinds of healthy foods in dumpsters. Over all rats have a very similar dietary requirement to humans.
 
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