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My two boys, Beauregard and Marcellus, have been very difficult to entertain. I have tried many different kinds of chew toys, timothy hay, balls with bells inside, climbing ladders and climbing ropes, wooden wheels, a parrot "kebob," a treadmill, certain types of doggie chews, even rosemary and lavender twigs, recommended by a pet store employee. The one thing they reliably enjoy is ripping up paper, so I keep some packaging paper (no ink) around to put in their cage. They shred it small and line their various homes with it. I also have made some food toys--things that make them work to get a little treat. But I can't do that too often, because they are overweight.

The maddening thing is that, when I let them out to range, they chew the heels of my shoes, the edge of my doors, they will shred carpet in the attempt to get under a closed door, they chew the leather of my couch, and, of course, speaker wire and electric wire (I have now secured against that). They don't seem to train well--I've had them almost a year, and they don't know their names, do not respond to "come," and lose interest in hand or finger games really fast. What they seem to love most is free-ranging and eating, and curling up in their little homes. I take them outside now and then on leashes, and they do explore, but move around slowly, checking everything out. If they smell me nearby, they come and climb on me.

I'm not able to let them out of their cage as often as I would like, and they have gained a lot of weight and I'm worried that they're bored. I know ratties are different, but does anybody have any surefire toy ideas?
 
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