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1) Use a long piece of baling wire (or something less durable) to string a "necklace" of corks, lab blocks, and treats (e.g., peanuts in shells). I used a very small drill bit to drill a hole in everything before threading. I hung it across the cage, within "medium easy" reach. The options for the necklace "beads" are pretty much limitless once you've got the drill out.

2) This was mentioned upstream, but a roll of toilet paper is rattie heaven. I hung one suspended in the cage on a rope, and lightly creased the cardboard roll to make it more difficult to spin. The ratties applied themselves to tugging it into the main nest for bedding. If you make it awkward enough that too-hard tugging rips the toilet paper, you'll get more mileage out of it.
 

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I enjoy making origami paper cubes just for fun, and the other day I decided to give one to my rats to see their reactions. Amadeus got really excited, and wasted no time in dragging it to his hiding corner and ripping it to shreds. It was fun to watch, and I know he certainly enjoyed it. cx
 

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My boys are in heaven. I heavily felted a wool sweater and cut the arms off and cut them into different size tubes. They can't stop going in and out of them. So cute
 

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I love all these ideas! I got a bunch of fleece remnants at Joann Fabrics and I made a whole new set up for my rattie. He is loving exploring his new world!
 

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So my rats love this for free range time. Take a small laundry basket and either clip some of the holes bigger (for skinny white laundry baskets) or just place it upside down. Then throw a blanket over half!
 

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Recently I've been experimenting with new foraging ideas and had a brilliant one the other night while I was cleaning my girls cage. I have bits of thick cardboard tubes from rolls of upholstery fabric (my grandmother works in the upholstery business) and I often use them as tunnels. But the other night I decided to clip some to my cage walls as little climbing things and had the realization I had just created foraging tubes as well! They can only get their front halves into the tubes as the other half is blocked but the cage and you can add treats or bedding from the outside via cage wall. It's a challenge for them to reach into the tube and grab up the goodies but it seems like good natural foraging behavior.
 

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It gets hot in my room during these summer days (and even some of the nights) so I've been working on ways to cool them down.

Shroom-sicles:
It's those juice pops we all made as kids with ice cubes and tooth picks, but for ratties! You need an ice cube tray for small rounded ice cubes, a large handful of washed spinach, about a 1/2 cup of cooked chicken (no gristle or skin), *1/4 cup of ground up rat blocks, quarted baby carrots or some other small stem shaped treat your furry babies like, and enough water to get the solids to blend and pour from a spoon.

*I usually sift the powder and crumbs out of the bottom of a new bag and store it in an air tight container for later use. But you can also grind up rat blocks using a mortar and pestle, or a food processor/blender, or even a coffee grinder if you feed them the tiny pellets... just don't let coffee grounds contaminate it.
Blend the chicken, spinach and "rat block flour" up with a splash of water until it's got a consistency almost like baby food, but with more texture. Use a tea spoon to pour it into the ice cube tray, leaving it just below full so that you can insert the "stems" without them over flowing. Put the tray into the freezer for about 15-20 mins to set, then take them out and stick a "stem" into the middle of each one, leaving just enough for their little rat paws to grip. Put back in the freezer for 2-3 hours... or more. Thicker mix = needs more time to freeze.

HPIM3741.jpg HPIM3744.jpg Voilá!
Alternatively, if you only have the large chunky ice cube trays, you can fill those with the mix and then put a whole rat block into it. My boys won't share one ice cube, so I can't put one big cube in to the cage.

HPIM3746.jpg
Enjoy!
 

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Some things i know my rats love, the price varies depending on the store or site you visit, but anything by SNAK SHAK. They are edible tunnels, but also come in little huts with hay toppers that my rats love to shred first, i've seen em made to look like furniture like couches, or you can find tunnels stuffed with treats.
 

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I'm not a gifted sewer, so I buy cotton or polar fleece scarves from thrift shops and clip them to the cage as hammocks.

I also use bandanas and old clothing, but my boys favourite is actually a dog jacket. I hung it from the roof with the velcro straps and clipped the last side to the wall.

I put a few mouse-shaped cat toys in their cage and I found it hilarious to watch the boys carry them from level to level, put them next to the food and water (trying to feed them?), taking them to bed, power grooming them, and otherwise bullying these poor mouse toys (putting them somewhere nice and then shoving them off the edge of a level, pouncing on them, burying them in the litter tray, etc).
 

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My rats like to play with string they will chase it and bat at it. They also like to play with my bracelets and one of them even likes to wear them around her waist.
 

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It's a little late in the season now to find these but I picked up a large plastic ball ornament from Walmart for 50c. I took off the hardware on top so just the ball itself was left. Then I put some Rice Krispies inside and hung it from the top of the cage. The rats have to figure out how to pick it up and turn it upside down to pour out the treats, and that's after they get it down.
 

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Inuling- great idea, it looks like a lot of fun for your rats. I know rats are smart and that it is not likely to happen but I would make a few extra holes in it in case one of your rats got his head stuck in it, so he/she doesn't suffocate.
 

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My rats really loved this last night.

I read that they enjoy digging and finding things, so I did this

Need:
1 smallish box, mine was about 9" x 6" x 4"
1 med box that will hold box one with room for rats to move around
1 large box to hold med box with walking room for rats

Cleaned and sanitized pebbles
Small treats, like seeds and such
Balled up tissue and lose pieces of tissue

Shake up mixture above and put it in box 1.

Put box 2 over box one with a small door cut out

Put the open side of box 2 to the back side of box 3.

Add rats.
 

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I've got a belly stuffer in my cage with my boys, they love it. I also take cardboard boxes and fill it with tissue paper and poke holes in it for them to chew open. They're very destructive

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Since it's starting to warm up, it's time to start some water activities! I like to get a bowl and fill it up with a little bit of water and put some frozen peas. My 2 older rats like trying to grab the peas (even though they don't eat outside the cage), very excited to let my baby rat have a go soon. :)
 

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Pack of cards, a hole punch, and some sisal or hemp string all tied into a hanging toy drives them wild.
 

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Honestly I think one of the best diy toys is a cardboard box. I mean, rats in general seem to love them, they're cheap, and easy to replace. I'd recommend tissue boxes (you can even hand them on the side of a cage) and cereal boxes. I'm also planning on buying some PVC pipe and plastic baskets, since they're washable and usually set at a good price. There's also this 2-tier spice rack at Target that caught my eye, it seems large enough for a female and could be attached to the bars of a cage.
 

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I bought a Kong for ours in the smallest size that I stuff with treats, usually something like sugar free cereal, cracker or dried fruit. They love it!
 

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Basically get some non-toxic Elmer's glue, Popsicle sticks, cardboard, and whatever else you have rats can use. Glue it all randomly together, making hideys and ladders as you go. It's a great diy playground and entertains for hours. My friend and I made one that took up 1/4 of her room.
 
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