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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started free ranging my babies for several hours a day, which has led to them living in my dresser. I have removed my clothing and placed fabric remnants, and clothes that were set to go to the goodwill in the drawers. Although they have freedom to go wherever they wish within the bedroom, they stick to the dresser, and the immediate surroundings. When they were just free ranging for a few hours, I'd leave the cage open for food and water and they would sometimes go in for a drink or nibble. Now, I still leave the cage open, but suddenly I'm worried about them drinking water. I don't really see them going in their cage. Do you think they will forget that their water source is in there? Should I provide a different water source? I don't want them to get dehydrated and find them dead. Very worried.
 

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I doubt it, rats don't get lost, they know where things are. If they can find their cage they can find their water. If you want to feel better put a mark on the water bottle so you can see the level go down.
 

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I've watched a video by United States Military looking into rats and it showed quite clearly that rats travel a fair distance to access food and water. They can easily cope with larger environments than one room so I wouldn't worry at all. You might be thinking that's wild rats though but I have also seen other video studies that place lab rats into a "wild" environment and they cope perfectly well. :) I would also add my rat Freddy lives free in my room and ad no issues traveling back to the cage for food and water. He will actually go there and sit next to his bowl looking at me if he wants a treat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the responses. I figured that they would be fine, but because I have limited experience, I didn't want to make a tragic mistake. Really appreciate it!
 

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While I doubt they would die, they might not be getting as much water as they need either. Several of my rats love free ranging so much that they won't go back to their cage for a long long time. I noticed that as soon as they did they were drinking nonstop at the waterbottle!

Now I keep a bowl of water out and it has done wonders. I would get a heavy ceramic bowl that cant be knocked over and add alittle water, on/in the dresser for them. It wont hurt anything.

A fair bit of warning though, unless your rats are litter trained that dresser is going to get yucky fast. The inside wood of dressers is great at soaking up pee. That is going to start to smell like no tomorrow & be like impossible to clean. I personally would not let them free range in there.
 

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Oddly the first rats to build a secret nest don't usually poop or pee in it, they will continue to use the litter box or cage, but as new rats move in they don't seem to understand that it's not a bathroom. But yes, it will get nasty eventually.
 
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