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Ive seen a lot of posts mentioning letting your rats stay outside their cages for long periods of time, free to roam about. How do you do that while still being able to take care of them? I take them out 1 to 3 hours a day, on average, but they pretty much stay with me the whole time. My room/apartment is too messy that Id be afraid Id never see them again, but if I cleaned up my act, how would it be possible to give them free reign of the place?
 

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Well, my old rat (RIP Beavis), pretty much owned my room, haha. I dont know if there was ever a certain way to do it. My room was pretty much rat proof and I left the cage open for him to come and go as he pleased. My room wasn't very big either so I couldnt lose him if I tried. Rats tend to pick one or two speacial hiding places anyways, so if I REALLY couldnt find him just by looking around, I knew where he was and when I would call his name, sure enough he would pop his cute little head out to let me know he was there (which for Beavis was behind this big dresser).
 

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Type on "rat proofing " into google you should get loads of stuff. I know what you mean-you know how people have a drawer with random bits and bobs in it? My whole house is like that! Very interesting for rats but probably dangerous. My enclosure is at table hight and the area is "fenced" with lino to set a boundary. They can climb allover the cage and surrounding surface and they love to get into the clean towels and fleece on tho of the cage. They seem happy to stay in the area but when Lola was on me last night she made a massive jump for my book shelves and got stuck in there knocking stuff off so I guess shes getting curious!
 

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Letting them free range is only advisable if you have hardwood, linoleoum, or tile, otherwise, they will chew the carpet up around the door frame. Many rats will also chew the hardwood, or linoleoum. Making the choice to do this means that you agree to put all of your things at risk of destruction. You can minimize destruction by never leaving around things like chapstick, or any type of object small enough that they can pick up and carry off (they will carry off things that are bigger than their bodies, if it's light enough). You also have to prepare for a hoard somewhere, in my room it's under my bed. Of course, they will choose a spot to go to the bathroom, which will be smelly because it'll probably be a corner that'd hard to get to.

Googling rat-proofing will give you all the details, as ladylady said.
 

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2manyrats said:
You can minimize destruction by never leaving around things like chapstick, or any type of object small enough that they can pick up and carry off (they will carry off things that are bigger than their bodies, if it's light enough). You also have to prepare for a hoard somewhere, in my room it's under my bed.
:roll: :lol:
 

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Wires for things like computers, cd players, whatever, can be held up against the wall over a nail, or they can be covered with wraps that you can get at hardware stores I think.

I can attest to 2manyrats' post, if you let your rats free range they will chew up carpets and things. My first rat never used to be a chewer, but all of a sudden lately she's tearing the faces off my plushie toys and ripping up my carpet. I have to clear my entire room tomorrow (it does need a clean, but the fact that I can't let her wander my room because of the stuff everywhere is an incentive to get it done), so she'll stop tearing apart my books and papers. I'm just hoping she doesn't get a taste for wires.

Like 2manyrats said, they hoard anything that interests them. Nothing is really safe. Doris takes my house key, my nasal medication, papers, anything she can get. It's worth it to keep small things away from their reach. Trying to find the latest nest to get your house key when the bus is coming in five minutes is extremely frustrating. I keep important small things in a jar where she can't get them.

So:

Wrap or tie up electrical wires
Put anything small and meaningful in jars or on a shelf they can't get to
Keep all important papers away from them
Prepare for ripped up carpets
Put stuffed toys out of reach
Make sure they can't get out of the room
Cover open water sources (My Doris used to drink out of my fish tank until I started keeping a glass of water on the desk for her)

I'm sure there's more things I'm not thinking of. Oh, some people also like to put a "rat blanket" over the bed/couch/whatever, as rats tend to constantly dribble.
 

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2manyrats said:
Letting them free range is only advisable if you have hardwood, linoleoum, or tile, otherwise, they will chew the carpet up around the door frame. Many rats will also chew the hardwood, or linoleoum.
I've actually never heard of this problem. I've had rats for many years, and I used to have a bedroom with carpeted floors - my rats never bothered with it. Plus, during free-roam time, rats need to be supervised at all times. This keeps them from doing things/getting into things they shouldn't. If you leave them alone or don't check on them, if there are things destroyed, the owner's to blame - not the rat.
 

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Night said:
2manyrats said:
Letting them free range is only advisable if you have hardwood, linoleoum, or tile, otherwise, they will chew the carpet up around the door frame. Many rats will also chew the hardwood, or linoleoum.
I've actually never heard of this problem. I've had rats for many years, and I used to have a bedroom with carpeted floors - my rats never bothered with it. Plus, during free-roam time, rats need to be supervised at all times. This keeps them from doing things/getting into things they shouldn't. If you leave them alone or don't check on them, if there are things destroyed, the owner's to blame - not the rat.

My first set of girls chewed several holes in my carpet, which lead to me getting nice, purdy hardwood floors(w00t!).

Yeah, they were my first girls, wasn't as ratty-smart as I am now...^_^;
 

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My boys try and chew up my couch all the time LoL I have to tell them to stop at least six times and hour they just look at me like but but but mommy LoL they try and chew on my pillows too
 

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My rats are chewers, and while they have never chewed the carpet they have taken to chewer a corner of the wall where it sticks out... they've chewed all of the paint off of it - no I'm not kidding.

They also chew on the dressers, bookshelf, and anything else they can.

For that reason my rats only get supervised free range time each evening. If you are in the room with them entertaining them they don't get bored and are less likely to sit there doing destructive chewing. Not to mention its great bonding time!

I personally know I could never trust my rats to unsupervised free range time. They have about 1/2 hr unsupervised each week while I"m cleaning their cage -- and the destruction they can do in that time is amazing! LOL
 

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Personally, I think the destruction is worth the benefits. Rats are *so* awesome when they're free-range. They become so much friendlier, and they treat you like a welcome commodity rather than wanting to escape to run around. ;) My fav girl has recently become free range in a friend's dorm room (my stuff's too nice, she's got hers rat-proofed), and everytime I visit she comes and curls up to take a nap on me. Rats become much more like dogs when they co-exist in the same room with you, waiting at the door for you when you come home, visiting your lap when they want attention, and taking naps on your lap (or shoulder, or tummy, etc.).

And carpet/door frame destruction is a huge problem - once they see that there's another world beyond the door, that carpet/door frame is usually toast. All of the free-range rats I've known have done it. :( There might be a way to stop them, but I haven't figured it out. I'd suggest duct taping around any corners or door frames you particularly like! I'm sure you could also make plastic or coroplast covers for edges, too.
 

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perhaps tobasico sauce or bitter apple spray (bitter apple can be found in most ferret sections of the pet store) on edges and things that you don't want them to chew? tobasico sauce might eb a bi messy on books but maybe the spray? i've never dealt with this myself before though i would like to have my rats permanently free range someday but its not really possbile until i buy my own house. i don't think my landlord would really appreciate me otherwise.
 

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The bitter apple spray sounds like a good idea. Generally tabasco works well, but once it's dried it doesn't seem to deter them as well. If anyone tries the bitter apple spray, please post! I'd love to know how it works.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ive sectioned off about 1/4 of my room for the rats to climb around on, under my supervision. It includes a couch, long window sill, and end table. Id love to make it possible for them to explore the entire room but its just not possible right now. Its a small room and I keep all of my musical equiptment in it, and I just cant risk it getting wrecked.

I am building them a larger cage, though, that should give them a bit more space when they arent out and about! Ill post pictures when Im through.
 

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2manyrats said:
If anyone tries the bitter apple spray, please post! I'd love to know how it works.
Many rats like the taste of it. :(

Some people have had better results with Fooey, but I can't get it locally so I've never tried it.
 

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My three boys have free range from my couch to my desk when I am home (their cage is right in between). I have one that chews on the desk. He usually waits for me to go into the kitchen to get a drink or something to snack and I hear chomp chomp chomp. I say teddy NO and he usually stops til the next time I get up. For the most part they usually go in their cage and do their duty. I haven't found them doing it outside the cage so much. Every once in a while there will be a puddle on the desk but not to often. The other two don't bother with chewing except this cardboard box I have on the desk. I clear my desk pretty much of anything that I don't want to get ruined (kids schoolwork, books, mail, etc.) and open the cage when I get home.

On the couch I throw an old blanket in a clump that they all love to get into and hide and romp around in. It has a few holes in it that they love to stick their heads out of. It's just funny to watch.

I walk through the door after work and they are all standing in the corner at the top of the cage looking at me as to say LET US OUT PLEASE! It's quite adorable.
 
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