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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So just became a new rat owner. Feeder hopper rat, maybe a couple months old, maybe 30g or so, failed feeding to a snake and now in my possession. Two young boys who, under my leadership, should take good care of him.

He's currently in a temporary bin with some food and torn cardboard and paper as bedding. Plan to go to a pet store to get a cage today. Few quick questions:

1. Best cage, and can I get it from a chain store?
2. I should find my rat a companion. Any particular species? Are chain stores (Petco/mart) okay?
3. Anything else you suggest? I'm at work and plan to gather supplies on my way home today
 

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Oliver Bean, Phyllis, Waffle, Taco, Atlas, Cirrus, Orion
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Hi and welcome!! Bless you for saving this poor soul. I got my Phyllis as a feeder, went a whole week of being offered to a snake before they gave up, and I stepped in. Best rat ever. She was brave and knew what she wanted. Phyllis the Phearless. Look for a Critter Nation cage on craigslist or locally. People often have them for sale used. They are truly the best cage. I have a triple and a double. You can get another rattie (or two) from a rescue if you have one close by. You can also find them on craigslist. Doesn't matter what kind, just rescue another precious life and add to your first mischief!! Please do look for a local rescue, they can help with a lot of supplies. Where are you located?
 

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Hi! From my short experience on this forum, everyone seems to recommend the Critter Nation cage, which can come with one or two stories. However, I’m not sure if they’re stocked in stores or are just an online purchase. Typically, wired cages with lots of room for ratties to walk about and climb are best.

Pet shop rats are reputed on this forum to have health problems, so you might want to look for a breeder or rescue if that’s an option. There aren’t really different breeds in domestic rats, mostly just differences in fur type, ear shape and colouring.

I don’t really have any other recommendations other than to continue to use this forum if you have any further questions.
 

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Oliver Bean, Phyllis, Waffle, Taco, Atlas, Cirrus, Orion
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Aw boo...I'm on the east coast. I belong to a rescue, and we do wonderful things to help new owners. Hopefully there are others on the forum in your area who may be able to help connect you with a rescue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It may take me a while (read: a week or so, might just order one online) to procure a critter nation cage. Any good recommendations for a temporary enclosure? That doesn't also cost me $100 while I look for the main/long-term thing?
 

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Oliver Bean, Phyllis, Waffle, Taco, Atlas, Cirrus, Orion
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Ah, you can make your own bin if you are handy. We make them for emergency fosters and pregnant ladies. Shadow the Rat, who is all things rat and full of incredible knowledge, has a video on how to make a temp cage. They work very well and will suffice until you find what you are looking for in a cage. We use them all the time.

(1) Making a DIY Rat Bin Cage! - YouTube

Please check out everything she has online. You will learn more from her than anywhere on the internet!!! Can't say enough good things about her, she's amazing.
 

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Oliver Bean, Phyllis, Waffle, Taco, Atlas, Cirrus, Orion
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And the best bedding you can use right now is shredded paper. Yup, just line the floor with newspaper, and shred up a bunch of paper towels and toilet paper and any other paper you have. Clean the cage daily and your new little guy will be just fine, and it won't cost you a thing. Better than buying shredded paper bedding from a pet store.

And he needs a name. He is already part of the family ;) Post a pic of him if you can. If not, share what you know about him. He's a survivor!!
 

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I know feeder rats are considered not great pets and have lots of health problems however I've only ever had access to feeder rats. I've had several live till 3 years old and it just depends on the rat in my experience. I have a few with deformities but it does not hinder their lives one bit! It's always better to rescue but I'm in an area where the closest rescues are 4+ hours away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Rectangle Tints and shades Art Wood Brick

Rodent Tints and shades Rat Grass Snout

So with all the materials and the tools the DIY would have been around 100 anyway so I but the bullet and get a Merry Manor from PetCo.

Basic set up right now but have essentials, I think. Will look for DIY toys and decor.

Also will likely get a companion from the pet store tomorrow. Didn’t see any close rescues on close glance but will look again.
 

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I started out with a rat manor with my first rats years and years ago! Did you check Craigslist? Fb marketplace? Good news is this cage can also be the quarantine cage when you get more rats....because I started with 2 and I now have 8....
 

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Oliver Bean, Phyllis, Waffle, Taco, Atlas, Cirrus, Orion
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That is a very nice cage! You can make platform covers from pieces of cardboard to cover the wire. I also use linoleum tiles, easy to clean. And you can cover them with fleece too, very absorbent and easy to wash. You can make hammocks from old tee shirts or cut up pieces of blankets. The pants leg from sweat pants or jeans make great tunnel hammocks too! So much fun to make stuff for them

What's your little dude's name?? He's adorable!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Name is Lucky. Some updates, the original per shop is the only one in the area that has rats for sale and their 'pet rats' were 4 months and older and about twice the size of Lucky. So I asked for hopper feeder rat and they found me an albino hopper who's the same size.

I've been decorating following various DIY tutorials online.

My wife is (understandably) wary about the pets and the potential smell. I got an air purifier for my sons's room (where the rats are) but any advice on how to keep smell down? In other words, how often should I be changing out the bedding? Should I bathe the rats and if so how often?

Also, since the rats are so young anything specific I should be giving them besides standard rat/'small pet' food?

Thank you!
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum.
Lucky is a great name for him... he would be one of the luckiest rats around.:) I'm so happy for him.
All the best with setting up his habitat and integrating his friend.
Regarding the smell, with only two rats you might be surprised at how little they smell. Especially if you keep their enclosure nice and clean. Male rats don't stink the whole house out like male mice do.
 

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Rats don’t need bathing, unless they become old or otherwise unable to do it themselves for whatever reason. Best to leave them in charge of their own personal hygiene, but yeah, keep the cage clean to keep any smell down.

As a reference, I usually deep clean my cage once a month, with smaller cleanings as much as is necessary, so maybe every other day.
 

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Aw, Lucky!! He certainly is 😊. And getting a new friend! They will become best buds. I find that a pair of ratties is easier and cleaner than having a cat. My rats are trained to use a litter box, and they use it 75% of the time. I put a flat stone in the litter box because they like to pee on a flat hard surface. That helps them to pee in the same place. I wash the floor mats once a week and change out the hammocks and beds when they get stinky. Depends on the rats. Some are very messy in their beds; others are rather clean. I also give them cardboard boxes to shred up and sleep in. They love them!! I also wipe down the cage bars once a month.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
All sounds good! How did you train them to use a litter box and what should the litter box be made out of?

Also, I just put the bedding on the floor of the cage. I'm guessing I missed a step and should line the bottom with like a towel? Or what may be best?

Appreciate the help! They seem to like the DIY activities I made for them (braided a rope out of an old Tee and made a hammock and a few box homes) but for aesthetics I think I'm going to order some well-made stuff from etsy or something :LOL:
 

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Oliver Bean, Phyllis, Waffle, Taco, Atlas, Cirrus, Orion
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All sounds good! How did you train them to use a litter box and what should the litter box be made out of?

Also, I just put the bedding on the floor of the cage. I'm guessing I missed a step and should line the bottom with like a towel? Or what may be best?

Appreciate the help! They seem to like the DIY activities I made for them (braided a rope out of an old Tee and made a hammock and a few box homes) but for aesthetics I think I'm going to order some well-made stuff from etsy or something :LOL:
The shredded paper bedding will work just fine, just be careful of the dust. You can spot clean daily, remove wet stuff and pick up poos. You can use any kind of box, shallow cardboard with a flat stone or piece of tile/linoleum. For now, though, I would just place something flat in a corner of the bottom of the cage and train them to go in one spot. That will make cleaning easier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So had a little scare. Snowy suddenly disappeared! Saw that the bottom of the cage rests a little on the bedding and hypothetically he could have burrowed under and wiggled his way out. Looked all over!

Then saw that Lucky was in the tissue box (basically I put a brand new tissue box in there as somewhere online said they’d have fun pulling the tissues out) and I looked and Snowy was in there too! I’d actually looked in the box before but saw it was full of tissue so didn’t think he could fit in it.

I was wrong!

hopefully I didn’t telepathically give them ideas on how to escape 😅
 
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