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I've had my boys for just over a month now. Up until this point I've just been putting a blanket down and opening the cage on the bed with various toys and hidey-holes they can explore.

It's been working fine but now they're getting used to me and the outside of the cage...well let's just say four young boys all running in different directions is hard to control :p

I want to provide them some play-time but I don't have a lot of space so the play area needs to be contained but also easy enough to put away and store.

I had a couple of ideas but wanted to check what people thought.

First off is buying a baby play area. The frames that have webbing around them and plastic supports and bases. Would this be safe (they would be attended the whole time obviously) if I put a blanket in the bottom of it?

Secondly is an enclosure for a larger animal made out of wire. Something that a rabbit or puppy would use. The problem with this one is that usually the bars are too far apart and I haven't found anything suitable.

Are they any other ideas floating around out there, for what could work as a large(ish) play area that is easy to set up and store but also safe for the boys?
 

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i had a playpen called the grrreat wall. they can't climb it because it has slick sides but one of my boys could jump out of it so had to be watched. it was adjustable and malleable so it could be bent to fit your living space, and at max size it afforded a lot of room, enough to sit with the rats. i used an exercise equipment mat underneath it, the kind meant for treadmills etc to rest on.
 

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You can build one use coroplast (it is like plastic cardboard and you can get it at home depot) or big sheets of posterboard taped together.

They have playpens made for rats here: http://www.martinscages.com/products/cages/rat/ they are covered and have nice space.

I would be overly cautious using the type of playpen you describe. The mesh is so easily chewed though it is insane. I have a dog playpen with mesh sides. My rats chewed through it in seconds. I was literally in the same room as them, watching them, and saw what was about to happen. In the time it took for me to cross the room they chewed a huge hole.... And I think the little holes of the mesh kindof encourage chewing even.

Some rats are not big chewers and with constant supervision may not ever chew. But I think it is very likely they will.
 

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When I had 13 rats for cage cleaning time I would put everybody in a baby playpen in the kitchen, my son would hose off the DFN and I would sit next to the playpen and supervise. With this set up the rats seemed more interested in exploring the toys in the playpen, climbing the sides to look for a way to escape the playpen, and coming to climb all over me than chewing their way out. So my advice would be if you use a baby playpen supervise. It can be a really fun way to interact with your rats. Another idea is a play table with sides attached and toys on it. The sides will keep them from falling off and most rats won't jump from that height. And one more possibility is a sheet of this http://www.homedepot.com/p/1-16-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft-Plastic-Panel-63003/202090190 cut into two 2' X 8' strips and taped, velcroed, or clipped together into a circle. When not in use it can be stored flat against a wall.
 

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Petco is having a great sale right now - 40% off site wide with an extra $10 off $49+ with free shipping.

My boyfriend gets angry at me sometimes when I pet the rats loose in our living/kitchen area. I still plan on doing this but for times when I'm busy cleaning their cage or cooking I purchased a the 'You & Me Small Animal Play Pen - Medium" from the website. It comes assembled with a mat to put on the bottom (or top if they are outside). I'm very skeptcal if it will work but I plan on returning it immediately if it doesn't. It was around $25 dollars. It should be arriving tonight so I will update this review when I get it!
 

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UPDATE: Okay, well the enclosure is surely a decent size. The mat is made of a plastic canvas type of material. It has prominent edges that are a pain in the but to fit the cage in snugly... So I kind of just stretched it out to cover most of the floor. The vertical bars are a little more spaced apart then I would like but they will not allow an adult rat to escape. My boys kept pushing their heads into them thinking they could fit :rolleyes:. There are 3 or 4 horizontal bar 'bands' that hold the gates integrity. My boys didn't try to climb them until a plastic igloo was put in the pen and they used it to climb out. Its about 18" high.

All and all, if you could get this product for around $20 it's worth a shot. I wouldn't pay much more then that. I'm going to return mine because my rats are so used to free roaming around the house that they really could not stand the pen.
 

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Save yourself some money and just build a cardboard wall. I did that in the beginning with some duct tape, and if you leave about a half inch gap, it'll fold up. They can't climb the sides, and you can make it whatever size you want. I eventually just modified my room so there weren't any spaces to squeeze into, but when I was traveling, it worked like a dream.
 
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