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Discussion Starter #1
I have three rats in a cage that is already too big for them, but of course I want to go larger and I'd love to build it myself.

Has anyone taken a look at the Rat Grotto?
http://www.dapper.com.au/grotto.htm

I think I'd enjoy something like that, though maybe a little smaller since I don't think I'd ever have more than four rats max (Though I said I'd never have more than two also).

So what do you guys think of it? Think it's a solid cage that will work well for rats? And what do you guys think is one of the best designs for a cage that's easy to clean. One thing I really like about this one is you can throw the rats in the bottom and clean the top, then do the opposite.
 

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I actually had a grotto-style cage for my rats before switching to my Ferret Nations. Here's my old cage:













 

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Darn! So many great ideas for cage designs being thrown at me D:

Now I'm torn, make a larger grotto style cage for the ferrets and give the current ferret cage to the rats or just make a seperate larger cage for the rats and enlarge the ferrets?

I geuss the making the cage for the ferrets and giveing the hand me down ferret cage to the rats would be easier *snerks* But I think the ferrets would totally miss their tunnels unless I can think of ways to make that tunnel crazy as well XD


Decisions...decisions...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So would you say you approve of the Grotto style cage? Your's looked really nice, but I've seen the pictures of your larger cage as well which is far beyond what I'd like to do.

By the way, I liked what you do to just use towels as bedding. How well does that work? Do you just remove them and wash them every once in a while? No need to wipe down the shelves often?
 

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I LOVED my grotto cage! It was so easy to clean, and I missed the full doors when I switched to my martins. I still use it as a QT cage, since babies can't slip out of it ;).

Mine isn't nearly as wonderful as Night's, but it was made a week after I got my first two rats, and I think we did an ok job. If it's ever used again though, I'm putting in full levels.

This is the last time it was used, when Amelia was waiting for Tsume to be neutered.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think you guys are on the right track of convincing me to build it. I really like the idea of the full door as well, and I'd love to be able to put more hammocks and things in. My cage right now just couldn't handle all the junk I want to put in a cage.
 

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cjshrader said:
So would you say you approve of the Grotto style cage? Your's looked really nice, but I've seen the pictures of your larger cage as well which is far beyond what I'd like to do.

By the way, I liked what you do to just use towels as bedding. How well does that work? Do you just remove them and wash them every once in a while? No need to wipe down the shelves often?
Grotto style cages are great, but they usually take, a) a lot more time than expected to build, and b) a lot more money than expected. I was thinking that my homemade cage would take a few days to build and would be under $100. Yeah, didn't happen :p It took me about 2 weeks to make (though, I was by myself 90% of the time) and about $400-$500.

Also, if you have any back issues, a grotto cage may not be your best option since you have to bend down/lean over into them to clean them a lot - at least if they're not on a table. With my old cage (in the pictures I posted) I would be on my hands and knees cleaning for about an hour, leaning in and out of the cage getting accessories, sweeping, taking out hammocks, et cetera. My back would be burning and aching by the time I was done.

Towels are great! I use a mix of towels and fleece in my cage, and I much (MUCH) prefer it to regular bedding and find it to control odors a lot better. Every 2-3 days I remove the towels, shake them out, and pop them in the washer. I'll actually wipe down the levels with cleaner every week, or sooner depending on how messy my rats decide to be.

It's always good to have lots of spares, since that way you always have towels available, even if some are in the laundry. How often you wash them will depend on how many rats you have, and how well they're litter box trained. Though, do realize that rats are chewers, so if you switch to towels, get used to buying new ones every so often ;) Also - rats, especially ones who aren't used to fabric bedding, sometimes enjoy moving it around quite a bit. Some people opt to put velcro strips in the corners of the cage to keep that from happening.
 

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I have a crappy cam forgive me for it doesn't do their cage justice :p, Mine cost about $20.00 mainly because i live on a ranch and have tons of spare nails, Hinges, Mesh, and all sorts of power tools. I made this one in a day but me and my boyfriend worked all day (up8:00am-11:30pm :|). My larger 5 story cage took about 2 - 3 days because i couldn't spend all day on it. When i get a better cam I'll post better pics but heres the best i have right now.
(If you have an old book shelf or something like that, You can saw holes out the corners and then screw the sides in for extra hold if you don't use just the little support "plugs" some of them have)
 

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So i was thinking of building my own grotto cage and i was wondering 1.) how much it costs and 2.) what kind of tools do i need i really want a huge one for my boys so thati can have seperate areas for the ones who don't get along (there need to be four different areas) i was going to buy another ferret multi level super pet cage but if it is going to be cheaper to build a better one i really want to do it
 

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Honestly, if you need four separate living quarters, that would be a LOT of work and money to build a cage that size - a lot more than what another SuperPet cage would cost. If I were you, I would just purchase the second SuperPet cage :p
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Night, I can't imagine how your Grotto cost $400. The one on that website only cost about $110 USD for all the materials and it's gigantic. Did you make it out of the same stuff (I think it's called melamite or something like that)?

I definitely think if I build it, I'll switch to towels. With only 3-4 rats in a sufficiently large area, I don't see why I'd need to change them more than once every 5-7 days or so.
 

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I was completely not prepared for the project :p I had to buy tons of different tools and such (IE - drill, saw, nails, screws, glue, primer, et cetera). I made the cage out of fiberboard, and then primed it with Kilz primer, which is water-proof and stain-proof.

Believe me - I also have NO idea why it cost so much!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Luckily I already have most of the tools I need or know where to borrow them, so no added expense there.

I think my largest expense outside of building materials will be towels. But I imagine the price of the towels will eventually be roughly equivalent to that of any other bedding.

It's so ridiculous, this obsession I'm sure we all get to build or get bigger better rat cages for our rats when really, they don't need them. They don't need them one bit.

Edit: Oh, and thanks for all the help Night! I think you've convinced me. Now I just gotta start saving for supplies. I'm in no rush.
 

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Rats always need more space! I think it's great having a cage for your rats that's bigger than the recommended size - tons more room for fun stuff like toys and hammocks. My monster cage is twice the size needed for 12 rats - it can fit a whopping 24 rats (whoa, I can do math!). My rats are absolutely elated with all the new space :)
 

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thanks much night i was looking at another super pet cage and it is $150 so i am gonna go with that route also i am going to split the one i poseted i half for my sniffs alone he has the top half now and soooo many toys (he loves his doggie bones) i will just go get another one of those cages and put iriquois, jackson, little man, and steve in the bottom half and fizzgig and sebastian in the top half as soon sebastian is big enough to not squeaze through the bars
 

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just found the cage on sale at petco for 114!!!!!!!!! i am going to pick it up tomorrow i'll take picks and stuff after it is all set up ;)
 

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Night said:
Rats always need more space! I think it's great having a cage for your rats that's bigger than the recommended size - tons more room for fun stuff like toys and hammocks. My monster cage is twice the size needed for 12 rats - it can fit a whopping 24 rats (whoa, I can do math!). My rats are absolutely elated with all the new space :)
I know what you mean by elated. When my rat girls first got their new cage they were all over it. XDD
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Edit: This post will make more sense under the "Ferret Nation" thread, so I'm going to move it over there.

Now that I've been around these forums longer and am about 100 posts wiser, I'm beginning to wonder if I should just get the Ferret Nation. That seems to be the end-all cage that everyone ends up getting, and I've never heard a complaint.

I'm estimating the cost of building a cage to be $150. This is $40 more than the original Rat Grotto maker's cost, but I'm assuming my cost will simply end up being higher than whatever I think it is. Though I need to make a trip to Home Depot to get a more accurate estimate.

So here's my question. Is it reasonable that I should be able to get a Ferret Nation for $150 or less? I noticed PetSmart is selling it for like $220, but I've heard you can price match online in another thread. Is this true? Has it worked for anyone here? What did everyone else pay for their Ferret Nations?
 

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OMG!!! This is absolutely perfect! James and I were going to be rebuilding our cage entirely and the cost of it all was getting a bit outlandish! I'll be taking it all back tomorrow. I've already got hundreds of ideas going through my head. Love it!
 
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