I don't give my ratties a wheel, I tried but they weren't interested.
I give them all sorts of things, baby toys, parrot wooden toys with bells on, I string up an apple for them, a jingle ball, hammocks, cardboard tubes, little teddy bears, little cardboard boxes.. everything!
Hammocks are the big thing for my girl! She loved her wheel until around a month ago because it's warping now, but once I get her a new one I'm sure she will use it again.
I stuff toilet paper rolls with food and sometimes hang them or just toss them in there for her to open.
She has some hanging chew things that I've put apples, corn on the cob, and wood chews on. She's my first rat to ever chew the wood though, so I don't know how much of a toy those actually are!
I have a wooden bird perch that for some reason she loves to climb up on and it does keep her nails down just a little bit, which is always a good thing.
I've seen other people tie fleece into ropes for their rats to climb on.
Feathers are a BIG hit with rats. Like the ones you find on cat toys. It's fun to either play tug-o-war or just hang it on the outside of the cage so they can grab it through the bars and destroy it (actually, anything within reach outside the bars is fun for the rats because they like to get things they 'aren't supposed to have' such as towels, old clothing, ect).
Digging boxes, (I.E. a box with shredded paper or fleece scraps). Some rats like to dig, others not so much.
I know there's more stuff, but that's all I can think of for now. Be creative, post on here if you have questions about whatever you're going to put in (better safe than sorry!), and have fun with it!
Sometimes wheels take a long time. I had given up after a few weeks of apparent inactivity, when suddenly Belgie started using it- two months after she'd first been introduced! She doesn't use it a lot, but I'm glad it's there for when she does want it.
Lots of rattys are not interested in wheels, its been said they are far too intelligent for them... also never give your rat a caged wheel (if thats the right word, with lots of little bars making it up) as rats can get tails, feet and heads stuck. Greats toys are large glass jars, ropes, branches, lots of chewy, climby and hidey things. Rats are very intelligent and will get bored easily so need lots to humour them...a clean brick for climbing is good for keeping nails down and safer than cutting them yourself and risking severing one of the veins that runs through them....
Also no matter how many toys make sure they spend at least an hour out of the cage every day #
I don't think rats that don't like wheels are too intelligent for them... running on a wheel is exercise, which releases endorphins, which are feel-good hormones. Kinda like why some people enjoy going for a jog and stuff.
One of my girls didn't start using a wheel until 4 months after first being introduced to one. Some jump on right away, and some need time to get used to it.
Any rat that has no interest in a wheel, I would recommend trying out a Wodent Wheel. My rats all started running in wheels after I got one. It has a closed front with holes so they can get in. Rats love holes, so they go in to explore, and discover the fun of wheels ^_^
As for other toys, I haven't found anything my rats are really into. Sometimes they like playing with tissues or toilet paper (shred it up, or carry it around, or play keep-away), and one of my boys seems to like those balls with the bells inside. Boxes for them to climb in, tunnels to run through, fabric to hide under - rats are pretty easily entertained ^_^
The best toys for rats are other rats My girls love to wrestle and chase each other around, and unless they want a place to sleep, pretty much everything else I give them is ignored.
One thing my girls like are shredable bird toys. The little chinese finger traps are a real hit! I also give them "soft" plastic tubes/tubs to destroy(like packaged food comes in). They have a lot of tiny stuffed toy/dolls and plastic jiggle balls, that they barely use.
I'm going to invest in a wodent wheel for xmas, even tho my girls are 22 months old lol.
I go a little toy crazy with my rats because I think that stimulation and cage environment are so important. Here are some ideas:
- Toy boxes (boxes [with or without a lid] or bags full of plastic cat balls, bells, whiffle balls, etc)
- Pieces of fabric with different textures strewn about (good for laying on, playing with, rubbing on, hiding in, etc)
- Boxes or tunnels of any kind
- Hanging bird toys
- Toddler treat cups (I found these at the dollar store, but they are little cups with lids and a little hole cut in the lid to let crackers or whatever fall out of the hole, so it works the same way as a treat dispenser.)
- Feathers and ribbon (loose in the cage, hanging, etc)
- Dog toys, ropes, stuffed animals
- Marbles (They love them! My rats use them as a sort of currency. "I'll give you my chocolate chip for your marble!")
- Birdbath (in the cage with some water in it. They bathe and play in the water when it gets hot.)
- As many different places to sleep as you can possibly imagine.
I also think that this is very important. Plus, it's fun! :lol:
A wild rat spends most of its day moving around in search for food. In contrast, our rats usually are served dinner in a nice dish. My rats typically rush to a plate of food in an attempt to grab the choicest morsel. This is when the most incidences of aggression occur, particularly between males. An easy way to eliminate this, and provide the rats with several hours of activity is to serve lab blocks in wire baskets (thus encouraging the rats to work for their food). If you feed a grain mixture, try lightly scattering it on the floor of the cage. The rats will spend several hours searching for the food, and since it doesnâ€™t draw them all together at the same time, there is little aggression.
Another good enrichment opportunity is to offer novel food items to your rats. Occasionally offering your rats a steak bone, spaghetti, fruit, or anything else out of the ordinary will perk a ratâ€™s interest. This however can be overused, and if a rat leans to expect â€œgoodiesâ€ with its dinner, the effect is greatly reduced. Rats can also become obese from overfeeding of treats.
My favorite food related enrichment involves the use of what is sold as a â€œferret roller basket toyâ€ (Pets International LTD., Arlington Heights, IL 60005) and can be purchased at some pet stores. This is a hard plastic ball that looks very much like a large cat toy, and comes apart into two halves so you can fill it with food and then close it up. My rats will spend hours rolling the ball around to get the food out. As long as you make sure the food is in small enough pieces to eventually fall out, the rats will not chew on the ball. I have used dog food, broken banana chips, chopped vegetables, and chopped fruit all with success. If the ball is just left in the ratsâ€™ cage, they will even play with it when it doesnâ€™t have food in it. My rats roll the ball around, kick it, push it, and even pick it up and carry it around their cage.