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Discussion Starter #1
(wasn't sure if this belonged in Homes or Behavior, sorry!)
my older girl Dagny lately has been treating free range time as "try to escape from the rat-proof room" time. For free range, I put the cage in the middle of the living room floor and I place two large trunks (like treasure chests, i keep clothes in them) in each of the doorways to the living room, since there are no doors. I have to keep something on top of the chests too because Dagny can jump on top of them pretty easily. Now she's learned the trick of moving the object on top with her teeth while clinging to the side of the trunk--it only takes her two seconds and she's gone like a flash into either the kitchen or the bedroom/bathroom.
I'm wondering, should I give up on the barricades and just let her into the rest of the apartment? Here are some things:

  1. she doesn't ever chew or show interest in wires, and we don't have many anyway. the computer wires are rat-proofed.
  2. my main worry is the oven. i'm afraid she'll go behind it and get into the workings of it and get trapped. i can't really put stuff around it without it being a fire hazard
  3. she is always easy to find again when she DOES get out of the rat proofing. she always comes when i call her name and tap my foot.
  4. the bedroom and bathroom and all the closets DO have doors.
  5. only one of our cats tries to hunt the rats. i guess we'd have to shut him in the bedroom?
what should i worry about? does anyone do this? i always watch them pretty carefully, and my younger girl Peaches is nowehere near this level of autonomy. what could Dagny possibly get into, right? just looking for some opinions here
 

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you could make a playpen for freerange.the most easy and cheap way is to construct it with carton.If you type in google ''pet rat playpen'' you will see many different options :)Another option is to rat proof the bedroom or the bathroom, which have doors,and free range there.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I was hoping Rat Daddy would chime in and tell me none of his rats were ever interested in the stove :p
Dagny is just one of those rats whose curiosity is never satisfied! the free range area already has a box castle, a wheel, and my two cats who will play nicely with the rats. Today I allowed her into the hall and she seems placated for now. I might try cardboard or something around the oven...
 

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I have a similar living room situation. I use two large TV boxes (from big 50 inch or so TV sets) as barricades. For the first few days they chewed on the boxes, so I taped the bottom of boxes with gorilla tape all around. They still chewed, but eventually lost interest. Maybe try to look for such boxes too? Maybe on Craigslist?

And a story about oven. When my rats were babies they used to enter an oven. One of them spent more then 30 hours in there and I thought she was lost! Oven was not in use. And although rats climbed everywhere inside of it, they never got trapped. But maybe that's just this kind of oven. I would still suggest try to barricade their play area.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As of tonight, they have beaten me down and they now can access every room but the kitchen. There's nothing in the bedroom or bathroom to hurt them, and I don't have to worry about the oven. Thanks guys!
I have tried training her various ways, but she always gets bored or outsmarts me... I may have started too late with stuff like that, when she was a baby I let her bully me around so bad. I never stopped her from chewing so she thinks chewing stuff is fine (which it is!) but I doubt I could get her to stop chewing now, for example.
 
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