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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I'm completely new to this forum and new to owning a rat, so bear with me. I am very interested in owning a rat and I have a lot of questions! Keep in mind that most of my experiences with rats are from how they were kept at the humane society I used to work at.

1.) I see many people have wire cages, but at the Humane Society we always used glass terrariums. Personally, I think a terrarium is easier to clean and looks better. I was thinking a 20 Gallon (long) for 2 rats... any comments?

2.) As far as bedding goes, I know not to use Cedar. But what's the difference between aspen and pine bedding and is one better or worse than the other?

3.) I would have liked to get a male and have it neutered, but I am a poor, broke college student and the price quotes I have been getting for neutering a rat is "a couple hundred" (which is far beyond my budget). I mean, if the difference between getting a female and a neutered male is $5 or $205, that's huge for me. I was planning on getting 2 females. Any comments? How expensive was it for you to neuter males?

4.) Someone suggested the paper from your paper shredder as bedding, which I remember we used for rabbit litter pans at the second humane society I worked at. Is this ok? Aren't most inks AP nontoxic?

5.) Do rats like to chew on paper towel rolls like hamsters do?

6.) Anything else a beginner like me has to take into consideration? I'm so afraid of doing something dumb and hurting my rats!

Thanks for all your help!!!
 

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1.) I see many people have wire cages, but at the Humane Society we always used glass terrariums. Personally, I think a terrarium is easier to clean and looks better. I was thinking a 20 Gallon (long) for 2 rats... any comments?

[align=center]wire is best due to ventilation glass doesn't let them breathe. 20 gallons is kinda small for two rats. There is a rat cage calculator stickyed on the rat homes link here.[/align]

2.) As far as bedding goes, I know not to use Cedar. But what's the difference between aspen and pine bedding and is one better or worse than the other?

[align=center]Pine has phenols that are considered toxic to rodents Aspen is fine but Pine is a huge no no[/align]

3.) I would have liked to get a male and have it neutered, but I am a poor, broke college student and the price quotes I have been getting for neutering a rat is "a couple hundred" (which is far beyond my budget). I mean, if the difference between getting a female and a neutered male is $5 or $205, that's huge for me. I was planning on getting 2 females. Any comments? How expensive was it for you to neuter males?

[align=center]Females have an 80% chance of getting tumors which could be far more expensive to remove than a neuter. I have fifteen rats and none of my males are nuetered (kept very far from the girls) if you get females you would want them spayed to reduce risk of tumors. Rats are not as inexpensive as people think be sure you have a big vet fund saved up prior to getting your animals and do as much research on them as possible so you know what you are gettin yourself into.[/align]

4.) Someone suggested the paper from your paper shredder as bedding, which I remember we used for rabbit litter pans at the second humane society I worked at. Is this ok? Aren't most inks AP nontoxic?

[align=center]just make sure that the ink is vegetable oil based and it will be fine but there are alot of great suggestion for bedding here so take a look around and see what looks the best to you. Personally I use towels and do rat laundry once a week.[/align]

5.) Do rats like to chew on paper towel rolls like hamsters do?

[align=center]Mine love them and tissue boxes with the tissues still in it.[/align]

6.) Anything else a beginner like me has to take into consideration? I'm so afraid of doing something dumb and hurting my rats!

[align=center]Iwould just make sure you do all the research you can before going and buying them there are alot of great sites out there like this one and this one I would also advise looking into adopting or going to a responsible reliable breeder in your area rather than getting a petstore rat.
 

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1.) I see many people have wire cages, but at the Humane Society we always used glass terrariums. Personally, I think a terrarium is easier to clean and looks better. I was thinking a 20 Gallon (long) for 2 rats... any comments?

[align=center]wire is best due to ventilation glass doesn't let them breathe. 20 gallons is kinda small for two rats. There is a rat cage calculator stickyed on the rat homes link here.[/align]

2.) As far as bedding goes, I know not to use Cedar. But what's the difference between aspen and pine bedding and is one better or worse than the other?

[align=center]Pine has phenols that are considered toxic to rodents Aspen is fine but Pine is a huge no no[/align]

3.) I would have liked to get a male and have it neutered, but I am a poor, broke college student and the price quotes I have been getting for neutering a rat is "a couple hundred" (which is far beyond my budget). I mean, if the difference between getting a female and a neutered male is $5 or $205, that's huge for me. I was planning on getting 2 females. Any comments? How expensive was it for you to neuter males?

[align=center]Females have an 80% chance of getting tumors which could be far more expensive to remove than a neuter. I have fifteen rats and none of my males are nuetered (kept very far from the girls) if you get females you would want them spayed to reduce risk of tumors. Rats are not as inexpensive as people think be sure you have a big vet fund saved up prior to getting your animals and do as much research on them as possible so you know what you are gettin yourself into.[/align]

4.) Someone suggested the paper from your paper shredder as bedding, which I remember we used for rabbit litter pans at the second humane society I worked at. Is this ok? Aren't most inks AP nontoxic?

[align=center]just make sure that the ink is vegetable oil based and it will be fine but there are alot of great suggestion for bedding here so take a look around and see what looks the best to you. Personally I use towels and do rat laundry once a week.[/align]

5.) Do rats like to chew on paper towel rolls like hamsters do?

[align=center]Mine love them and tissue boxes with the tissues still in it.[/align]

6.) Anything else a beginner like me has to take into consideration? I'm so afraid of doing something dumb and hurting my rats!

[align=center]Iwould just make sure you do all the research you can before going and buying them there are alot of great sites out there like this one and this one I would also advise looking into adopting or going to a responsible reliable breeder in your area rather than getting a petstore rat.[/align]
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the reply!

1.) I am assuming I would be looking for something close to a ferret or chinchilla cage, right? I have been reading up about the wire floors being a problem... would is be sufficient to cover them with a towel?

2.) Yeah, I read that about pine bedding right after I posted and wondered how I couldn't have seen that in my wanderings through websites on my own.

3.)--

4.) How do you know if the ink is vegetable oil based? Also, If you use cloth bedding, so you just fold it on the bottom of the cage so they can walk on it, or do you leave it kinda loosely ruffled up so they can dig?

5.)--

6.) DO you have any good books to recommend? I was thinking about buying a "rats for dummies" book because my friend bought a similar book for hermit crabs and it actually turned out to be very accurate. Thanks for the websites, too... they really helped!
I was thinking adoption first as I am tied at the hip to humane societies after working for them since I was 12. I used petfinder to find a different local humane society that had 2 females, too! (I am getting really excited).

I also have another question:
7.) Can you give rats treats meant for other small animals, like "yogurt drops" for rabbits or "rollins" for guinea pigs?

Thank you for all of your info!
 

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1. There are alot of different cages I personally like martins the best www.martinscages.com and you can cover with a towel or linoleum or anything really that is safe for rats. I use linoleum. Depending on what sex you get ferret cages are great but girls can usually slip out of 1 in bar spacing especially young ones.

4. Not really sure as I do not use it maybe some one else can tell you?? that is why i don't use it.

6. That sounds liek a good start i also know that a woman named Debbie Ducommon wrote a book on pet rat care and supposedly she is a genius onthe matter.

7. I give my rats yogurt drops, fresh veggies, and left overs. There are a coupld of links on this forum to forbidden foods and i know there is a list on www.ratfanclub.org basically if it is healthy for you it should be fine for your rats but you want to double check everything.

Also I would start stocking a medicine cabinet for your rats. I have basically every medicine you can get for rats in a locked cash box (so no one gets to it during free range time) and if anything comes up I have meds for emergencies. I also would advise always having a bit of dark chocolate on hand as it can help a rat in respiratry distress. And stuff to stop bleeding mine rip their toenails pretty consistenly and I always have some quik stop on hand for it. (if you can't get that i know spider webs will stop the bleeding had to use that one once!) Other than that just make sure you know your stuff. There is a good chance that something will come up that you are not prepared for but all you need to remember is to stay calm and figure it out. Panic never helps in a stressful situation. (learned that the hard way)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Once again, thanks for all the help! I'll have to search for that author. The list on that link you provided was also helpful.
 
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