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Had my two boys for about 2 weeks..tried two different wheels and I've only heard them use it once.. how important is it for them to have a wheel? Should I give them more time with it to see if they start using it? Just takes up so much space and I could more hammocks and other things they may use more... just thought it was super weird that they don't use it.
 

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My rats don't have wheels. Never have. They never used them. but my boys also live in a huge DCN so they have plenty of room to run and climb plus time outside. I really don't think they HAVE to absolutely have a wheel. They just have to have entertainment and exercise. Rats need to climb. Since i have gerbils before my rats and hamsters before that, who all used wheels I totally understand it being weird but it's also kinda nice not to being constant battle with the squeaking of the infernal thing. But anyway, i'm not an expert but i don't think they need it or they die. They just need exercise.
 

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Rats dont need wheels. They don't really use them. Generally,Females tend to use them more than males as females tend to be more active and energetic than males.

I'm going to get a wheel for my girls just to try it. :)
 

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My girls love their wheel. My boys never use it as intended. I've seen them sleep in it and occasionally use it as a restroom.
 

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Try sprinkling some food or treats in there to get their attention. They might start playing in it then. If they simply won't after that, then it might be best to take it out and hold on to it until you have a rat that enjoys it more.
 

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My females use it all the time. Neera loves the thing and I think it's important for her to use it. Neera isn't able to climb the bars as well as she used to since she had an ear infection that left her with a head tilt. She can't climb as well since her balance is off now. :I So, that and her free range time is how she gets her exercise. :3 Dela uses it when she's in heat and she has more energy. XD
 

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I always have a wheel available for my rats, though not all use it loads. However my guys are brought up with a wheel (I tend to introduce wheels to my babies from 2.5 weeks old) so tend to use them quite a lot as kittens then most cut it down to once in a while. I will say that they tend to run in the wheel most when you’re not there, when I’ve gone to the rat room at an unusual time I’ve often heard the wheel stop spinning as I get in there. When I am there im more interesting than the wheel.

I do everything I can to encourage wheel running, whilst climbing and a big cage is really important for fitness too running is a different type of exercise and something that’s a natural behaviour that’s good to encourage, unless you’ve got a cage in excess of 2 m long a rats going to struggle to truly run in it. A good free range area can help but I like them to have the option all the time, even if they choose not to do it. Wheel running is one of those things that studies show can extend the lifespan of rats so well worth encouraging for me.

I do think girls are more likely to properly run in a wheel, so tend to favour quite a fast lightweight wheel for them. Bucks (once they are older than about 4 months) favour a larger heavier wheel, enjoying a slow trot for maybe 30-60 seconds more than the frantic racing along for minutes at a time. Saying that I’ve a 6 month old buck whose still just as speedy as he was as a kitten and not showing signs of slowing down yet, he’s a bit of a D’uck though (doe like buck)
 

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i think i'm going to try out my girl with a wheel, i can't get her out as much as i'd like to and she's starting climbing across the top bars on the top of the cage, which worries me should she fall when i'm not there (she's not very good at it).

she's ridiculously energetic to the point where i can hardly keep up with her when she gets free-range time, so maybe a wheel will help her spend some of that pent up energy.
 
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