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I have 3 boys, oldest about 18 months, the other 2 , 7/8 months.The older fellow is very laid back, the othe 2 well they can be **** on 4 paws,.
Here's my question,,,the 2 younger guys are always covering up the food bowls with anything, any toy, that is in the cage...if you remove the stuff they fill it up again.
Is it them just hiding the food,,,or being jerks,,by making it more difficult to the othere to eat,,,it is very comical, watching them. Has anybody see this ?
 

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Lol, I have no idea why they do this, but my rats do this also. They also put whatever leftovers they have from their nightly salad/grains/ fruit etc. in with the oxbow pellets. So every morning I have to pick out their bowls. I usually end up taking off the top layer of oxbow just in case it is wet or just dumping whatever is left. Then on top of this they usually place their little cat balls on top. Every morning I have to smile at their little ritual. It would make sense to me they are covering it up, an old survival tactic that still exists and not bred out of them.
 

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Its stashing, aka protecting your food source, and a nautral thing for them to do. In the wild leaving a food source in the open means it wont be there the next day.

Its easy enough to stop this, rather than using a food bowl give them only what they will eat in 1 day and scatter / hide it around the cage. With oldies in the group I tend to split into 2 meals and do it twce a day. This not only stops stashing but encourages foraging which helps keep them busy and active as well as mentally stimulated.
 

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My own Loki loves to hide food. We just accept it.

Do other rats actually respect the hiding? I ask because one time I dumped all the food blocks out of the box where Loki was hiding them and put them back in the bowl. The other rats came to investigate and proceeded to eat the lab blocks. Considering that they don't consider these things treats, they have been pretty hungry to chow down on the lab blocks right there.

But the blocks were easily within reach. I'm sure they could have smelled them. Why act like the food is brand new?
 

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Endora likes to hide stuff. The only problem is that Esmerelda knows all of the hiding places. I think it's cute how Endora takes a treat, hides it, and then comes back as if she finished it and wants another. They both almost have seizures for those Yogi treats. Right now their favs are kale, broccoli, and red grapes. They will eat, but are not excited by, cauliflower and carrots. The stuff doesn't stay hidden very long.
 

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Buttercup likes to put toys on top of her food. I f ind if I use a hanging toy that is right next to the food bowl, she'll just push it into the food and call it good.
 

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Mine do this too and it was difficult to use the scatter method as someone else suggested. Too much of the food was contaminated and wasted that way. So i got one of these...

http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Fora...&qid=1449867736&sr=8-3&keywords=parrot+feeder

It stopped the behavior or destroying of bedding for the purpose of the "hiding the food" game AND it entertains them a bit because they have to work at getting it out. I also have a girl who will shovel the food into her mouth with both hands, scamper away to a corner, spit it all out and return to the dish to repeat over and over again when the food is in a bowl (it's rather comical to watch). But with this thing she just eats a few pieces at a time and wastes less.

Incidentally I also give them vegetable treats in a plastic foraging ball sometimes too. They love trying to figure out how to get the yummy surprises out. Though one of mine is lazy/smart and waits for others to get it out and then steals it from them!
 
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