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Discussion Starter #1
I know that rats need a wheel in their cage, but do any of you have those balls that they roll around in the ground on. So they can really pick up some speed and help exercise?
 

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I'm assuming you mean those plastic hamster excercise balls. Years ago I tried to put a rat in one of those and the poor thing looked like he was about to have a heart attack. They're supposed to be bad for rats because they curve the spine too much and the rats just can't handle the stress of being confined to a small, plastic ball that doesn't let them explore. It's better for them to let them run around your bed or on the floor (supervised, of course). That way they excercise their minds and their bodies as they climb, run and explore everything around them. And as an added bonus, it means more bonding time between you and yours ratties as they will probably use you as a jungle gym :D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well they have those huge balls for the rats now. And I also have guinea pigs and I know they say never put your piggie in there cause it curves their spine, but they also can't use the wheels. So I was just wondering after reading about the possiblity of a rat getting really fat and unhealthy.

I don't have any rats yet, but I've already set up my closet so they can run around with me in there at first. I'm really scared of them running off in a larger room and getting too scared to come back to their cage. Believe me, there's no getting a scared guinea pig out from under a bed! I'd move to one side, she'd move to the other. It took her like 30 minutes to get out. So scary! I don't want that to happen to my rats!


But, you're right. Putting them in the ball is selfish. I should just play with them and be careful! Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What do you mean very few rats like being in the ball or on the wheel. I thought everyone in here said you "have" to have a wheel for the rats...it's like mandatory
 

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What they meant is that rats need to have something to do to keep them occupied.

My four boys think the wheel is a strange, useless, moving platform.
 

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that doesn't mean your rats won't like it though. most of mine enjoy it. some more then others. there seems to be higher incidence of rats likeing the wheel if introduced young. as for the balls though most rats aren't likely ever to learn to like it. rats can't really see wit their eyes, instead they navigate with their sense of smell and touch, in a ball they're blinded completely as those senses are made useless. if you already have the ball though you can take off the door and hang it in the cage. i have two in my cage and its a favorite hangout for my girls.
 

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Yeah, those rolling balls are terrible for rats. The only rat I've ever seen enjoy it was a 4-wk old baby, and it got sick of it after a few minutes.

And wheels aren't necessary, as long as your rat's got plenty of space to run, and cagemates & toys to keep them entertained. However, I'll never have a rat without a wheel, because mine all seem to love it. Even my new boys have taken to it, and one of those guys is over a year old. (My cage really doesn't have good floor space, so the wheel is great for them to get exercise.)

Plus, with some wheels, you can put sandpaper underneath the mesh and wear your rat's nails down. I just tried that recently, and the runners are a lot less scratchy to hold.
 

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picasso thinks the wheel is the greatest thing since sliced cheese. she has plenty of cat toys and hammocks and play time, but she really seems attached to this wheel thing. mozart didn't have one in the cage at the petstore i got her from, and she doesn't really seem to care about it. it's a preference thing, i guess.

and i wouldn't recommend a rat ball cuz like twitch says, they're practically blind anyway, and when you cut off their other senses in a ball they just aren't happy, although i have to admit that they have balls these days that are plenty big enough for a rat to play in, if they were good at that sort of thing.

recently i put an old lei in picasso's cage, and it's her new favorite thing to drag around, sleep on, nibble on, play with, etc. here's a pic of her sleeping in it, lol:

 

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penelope said:
What do you mean very few rats like being in the ball or on the wheel. I thought everyone in here said you "have" to have a wheel for the rats...it's like mandatory
Its not mandatory at all. Maybe for mice and other rodents like that, but rats are different. There ARE some rats that absolutly LOVE the wheel and ball, but not many. Rats are very smart animals and would rather be outside of the cage, exploring and acually running! Keeping your rat in a ball is horrible; its cramped and theres nowhere for your rat to hide if he/she gets scared. As for the wheel, most rats wouldnt even notice it; its pretty boring, lol.

Whats IS manatory is letting your rat out of its cage for at least an hour a day to play and exercise!
 

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My two use the wheel mostly at night, or Mindy will run if she's nervous.. it's kinda funny, I think she actually believes she is getting somewhere, far away from whatever spooked her :lol:. We had a wire wheel when they were little, and they'd fight over it or run at the same time... that usually ended up with Lucy being a little slower and doing back flips :roll: It was quite amusing for everyone! We have since bought them a 10" Wodent Wheel... which they shouldn't outgrow (i dunno they're getting huge!) but I know males need atleast a 12" wheel. Avoid wire wheels, and make sure there backs aren't arched while running. I like the Wodent Wheels as they aren't wire, and they have an enclosed design... which is good for those shy rats. Mindy often sleeps in the wheel, she's the runner of the two.
 

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Wire wheels are okay if they're a small mesh.

And maybe my rats are dumb, or easily entertained, but they all love the wheel. Even the free-rangers like it. I think they are endorphin junkies, and it's hard for them to be able to get their fix in a 17ft long dorm room.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
This doesnt really fit with my original question in this thread but since you all seem to be responding...I was wondering if there anything that rats really shouldnt eat. I'm scared about letting my rats eat new and interesting things cause what if it's bad for them. I have guinea pigs and there are a lot of NO NOs for them. Can rats basically have anything, in moderation, or are there things that are really bad for them?\


Thanks for all the help!
 

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penelope said:
This doesnt really fit with my original question in this thread but since you all seem to be responding...I was wondering if there anything that rats really shouldnt eat. I'm scared about letting my rats eat new and interesting things cause what if it's bad for them. I have guinea pigs and there are a lot of NO NOs for them. Can rats basically have anything, in moderation, or are there things that are really bad for them?\


Thanks for all the help!
Reference this list, but in moderation is always good. Ratties enjoy fresh fruits and veggie. Lab blocks like Harlan make a very good base food. :)
 

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it was but she asked another question on forbidden foods too. i don't think there's much that can be said about the wheels anyway that hasn't already been said
 

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Yeah, I agree, wheels & balls have been covered well enough. I just missed the topic change.

There are a lot of other things that I don't give my rats, in addition to the Forbidden Foods list. I avoid anything fatty, fried, with processed sugars, lots of preservatives, dyes, or chemicals. I also try to feed organic, because pesticides build up so much in a lot of foods - especially these: http://www.care2.com/channels/solutions/food/242
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Someone didn't read the whole thread! tisk tisk!

Yeah, I changed the subject I just didn't want to start yet another thread to ask one question, and everyone is doing a great job of really helping me out on this thread.
 
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