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whenever i put samantha back in her cage after she's been free for a while, she freaks out and is running around trying to get out. she's even started trying to get out when she sees movement in the room.
i have an aquarium-type cage for her (i know it's the wrong type...but i didnt know until after i bought it- am in the process of trying to convince don to buy a cage topper for her!) and she has started jumping up to the mesh-type lid. this morning she was doing that, and she grabbed hold of the mesh a couple times and was dangling from it. i'm really worried that she'll hurt herself doing this- either break a finger from dangling, or hitting her head against the mesh too hard- or even missing and hitting the edge of the aquarium. she's an only rat, and i know getting her a friend would help, but i cant afford a quarantine cage right now. hopefully at the end of the month i can get one and a friend for her. but what can i do in the meantime to discourage her jumping up like that? she has some toys in her cage, and she was fine being in there until i started letting her out for multiple hours (which i started doing because i felt bad that she was in there all alone all the time).
i'm especially worried about this because don and i are going away for 4 days, and i dont want to come back and have had something happen to her. (i've asked my mom to come over and play with samantha for at least an hour every day we're gone, but that's still up to 23 hours she can get into trouble or hurt from trying to escape. and i cant take sam over to my parents house because they have 3 cats and i know someone over there will think its a good idea for the cats and rat to all play together. i dont trust our roommate, either, to play with her because i saw how he was when i had my hamster.)
so, i guess i actually have 2 questions: how to discourage jumping and possible injury? and
any tips for keeping a rat entertained for 4 days? does anyone have a toy or something that has worked especially well for entertaining their rats?
thanks for reading my long-ish post, and thank you for any advice/tips!!
 

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do you have anything in your tank for samantha to climb? i have a "monkey" rat who will climb rather than walk around her cage. when she was little, she would swing from the bars on the top of the cage, like kids do in playgrounds where there are monkey bars. try suspending a couple of ladders from the top of the tank.
 

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Honestly, I would recommend getting another cage, and using the aquarium as a quarentine cage. Places like EBay and Craig's List would have decently priced cages. Or you could use a cat/dog crate (though it would require added levels and hardware mesh so the rats couldn't get out). If you're feeling really handy, you could even build your own cage.

As for injuries because of jumping and hanging... I don't think that it would be something that you really have to worry about (I could be wrong about that, though). I have rats that will "hang" from the bars in their cage, much like Crapola described. Climbing the bars is a good form of exercise... which is another reason to get a new cage.

I can't think of one single toy that will keep your rat entertained for four days. Typically, rats would find the most entertainment simply by playing with you! The more time you can spend with your rat out of the cage, the better.

As far as toys inside the cage go, there are lots of cheap and easy ideas. Toliet paper rolls are always fun, especially when there's a little bit of toliet paper left on the roll. You can also use a toliet paper roll to make a rat pinata... fill it with fruit or veggies, and hang it from the top of the cage. For added difficulty, use some toliet paper to really bury the treats in there. Mardi gras beads are also fun for rats. I would also recommend hanging a hammock from the ceiling- you can make one very easily using an old towel and safety pins. Just cut out a piece of the towel, and put a pin in each corner. Attatch it to the cover of your aquarium, and you've got something your rat will grow to love. Also, try using some type of old box (kleenex, cereal, etc.) as a "rat house". It'll get chewed up quickly, but your rat will probably love it!

I could go on with the suggestions, but you probably get the idea. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!
 
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