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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys! So it's finally becoming winter time in California and my room is getting pretty cold. I don't think my apartment is instilladed because it's very cold without the window being opened. This being said, I'm worried for my girls. They have a hammock which they always sleep in together and another bird bed? I guess you'd call it which is a triangle looking hanging bed which they don't go in as much (has nice fluffy bedding on bottom). I've tried putting a cheap hide box (aka tissue box) and they never used it, just ate it. But I'm afraid because it's pretty chilling I'm the morning and at night. Any suggestions what i should do so it's not as cold for them? Only thing I can think of is a small portable heater type of thing. Thanks!
 

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i actually gave u some advice on your other thread :)

But you can also get some cheap fleece blankets that you wont mind being chewed. Walmart sells them all the time for $2.88 (though sometimes you gotta search for them and other times they are sold out)
Cover the cage in 1-3 of them leaving like the front open. It will help keep them alittle bit warmer.

Honestly rats dont do horrible with a bit of a chill. I'm in NY and I probably prefer the house a bit on the chillier side of things lol. As long as there isnt drafts or too cold it isnt that bad. Body heat when they are sleeping in a pile and lots of comfy blankets to snuggle help. Those fleece blankets from walmart are also awesome for cutting into scrap pieces for burrowing and little rat size blankets.
 

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I toss old socks or rags into the cage and they pretty much build their own bed... There's one of those igloos in the cage and last winter they used a sock as a door... They went into their igloo and pulled the sock in front of the opening to keep the warm in and cold out... In their secret nests they pretty much use paper scraps to make nests in... they steal tissue paper paper towels and important documents and shred same to build nests to snuggle into in and behind the furniture... Rats are born builders all you need is to give them materials and they will do the rest.

Best luck.
 

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I make sure there's enclosed boxes that help trap body heat, like old tissue boxes, shoe boxes, etc that are mostly closed on all sides. I also always tear strips of newspaper every time I clean their cage and they love that for bedding. I stuff one box and a hammock full of paper shreds and they move it around as they see fit. I was given this hammock a while ago: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=6067+28219+17460&pcatid=17460 and my rats LOVE it. There is always at least one ratty curled up, and often times all the rats are in there. I image it stays nice and warm. I also put in strips of fleece and newspaper for extra warmth.

What kind of cage do you have? If you want a semi-permanent heater for your guys, you can use a reptile heatpad that's meant as a permanent fixture in rep cages. it cannot go inside the rat cage, and do not stick it right to the bottom of the cage! I have a small one (I think the smallest or second to the smallest) that I have stuck to a very large ceramic tile. I used it when I have very ill or old rats, and plugged it in for my sick girl who was pts on Sunday. But I think I will keep it on since it's getting a little chillier and I like to keep the window open at a night a bit (I live in CA too, finally some cold weather!) I have a DCN cage, so I put the ceramic tile, heatpad side down facing the floor, on top of the bottom unit's metal grate which is good because it cannot be enclosed, so it has ample air circulation and won't overheat and become dangerous. I sandwich the tile between the wire floor, and the plastic pan, with the tile side on on the plastic side, and the heatpad side on the wire side. It cannot be reached by the ratties at all that way and I feel that it is very safe. It doesn't get too warm, when I stick my hand in the box and touch the fleece floor, it just feels like a rat had just gotten up from a nap, just nicely warm, but not hot at all. I put a shoebox with no lid upside down over the warm spot so if the rats do feel a little chill, they can sleep there. So far no one seems to care much, but when the time comes that I no longer need to use the air conditioner during the day, they may like it.
 

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I sometimes give them old hats or old towels or blankets.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have the rat manor by Petco. So it has a metal bottom and then wire on the sides of the cage. So I don't know if that would work. If you were able to post a picture with different angels so I could see then maybe I would be able to copy as well. I tried putting in 2 big strips of fleece this morning into the hammock they normally use and when I got home today, both were on the floor of the cage. Haha so I don't know if that option will work. But i'll look for more hide-aways for them. I did a tissue box and they ate it and I always found it upside down when I got home from work. So I don't know if they used it much. The heating pad would make sense. And I think I saw one on Dr. Foster's website when I was looking up beds for the girls. I know!! winter time FINALLY in Ca haha.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes you did! Thank you for that! I thought about putting fleece or a blanket over the cage and leaving one side open for air. I'll try that but I think they'll just try to eat it and pull it through haha. The oldest is a chewer and she chews/nibbles on EVERYTHING possible. They have made a million of holes in my bed quilt (where they free range) haha. On NY is cold. That's good. I've just been worried since my oldest is making an odd noise. It's not constant but it can become loud. I hadn't heard it in a week or so and toady its super loud! I can't tell what it is.
 

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Winter was way too long in coming to California. I have a Lixit Igloo from Drs. Foster and Smith on the way. I'm hoping that it'll trap more heat since it has a small opening. I'll probably stuff a bunch of fleece into one of those chinchilla dust houses too. I get worried in winter since my rats are housed in a shed out back. It has an air conditioner (main problem in SoCal is the heat), but it only has a foot radiator heater (since it had the least fire hazard that I could find) for warmth during the cold snaps. I like using shavings and Eco paper bedding. My rats like to make nests out of the paper.
 

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For your cage, I would still get a large ceramic tile (at least twice the size of the reptile heat pad) make sure you look up reviews from reptile folks to find a good, safe one. I think mine is zoo-med brand? since your set up is different from mine you can maybe prop up your cage on bricks and use bricks to pin the tile to one side of the cage (maybe use like 3 bricks? One on each end, and then one near the center to hold the tile against the floor of the cage. Make sure the heat pad is not being touched at all, and there's at least 1 inch space underneath the heatpad to make sure it gets proper air circulation and wont' overheat. I used a set up similar to this for a plastic bottomed "retirement cage" early this year and it seemed to work well. A metal pan is probably even better for retaining heat. Be sure to stick your hand underneath the cage and feel the heat pad directly a few times a day to make sure it isn't getting too hot. This way you know there will always be a warm spot for the babies if they get chilly! An igloo would work well too if they don't like sleeping in boxes. Anything to set up on top of the warm spot so it gets nice and toasty when they want a cozy place to relax, and make sure it's only on one side of the cage so there's still a cool spot on the other side of the cage that's an option for them.

I'll try to take some pics of my current set up, but it'll be different from what your cage will need.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Rattytriplet, only downside to the first one you posted it says do not let them chew or bite. Mine chew fleece so I wonder if they'll chew that one. Well, Storm in particular would do it. Not Rogue. The heating pad may be better. I did just post a question regarding if it would be a problem to leave it on a metal cage pan since my cage is metal based (Storm decided to chew through the plastic one). Those are great though!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Finnebon,
So you're saying place it under the cage and dont have it to be in direct contact of the cage? have a gap between the two? But get it close to the cage? I'll look into that. Rattytriplet just posted something from amazon which is also a heating pad but animals can sit on it directly. That may work similar to what you're saying as well. Yes! pictures are welcomed, if you don't mind that is. It's helpful for me and I may get ideas of how to decorate the cage :) Thank you!!
 

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Here's a shot from underneath the cage. You can see the large tile and the heatpad stuck to it, and it's totally open because of the wire bottom. It's underneath the plastic floor of the CN. Lots of air space for the pad so it won't overheat. Can you tell I'm paranoid about that yet? haha



And here's from the top. Just looks like a regular (messy! due for a cleaning..) cage. The box is situated right on top of the warm spot of the heat pad, and the wire comes out through the gap through the door, totally unable to be reached by the babies.

 

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Let me try to draw a super quick diagram of how I set up my retirement cage before. It sounds like it'll be the same set up you will have for your cage since it's not a CN with the wire bottom and pan on top.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Okay so you have yours set on the wire bottom which allows the pad to have air circulation and then the tile ontop with fleece and a hide away for them. That makes sense. yea, my bottom is metal pan so it won't breathe like yours. Thank you so much!! I hope I'm not putting you through too much trouble. Ha, my cage is just as messy! actually, the carpet around the cage is worse since Storm attempts to chew through the corners. She hasn't gotten it yet she cant eat through metal, HA.
 

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The snuggle safe pad that ratty triplet linked you is very safe to just set the cage on top of. They are microwavable, so no cords, batteries or electricity to worry about over heating. I use them for all my pets after surgeries or my oldsters.

If your's are plastic chewers I wouldn't stick in the cage with them. Though whatever is inside is supposed to be non toxic, no need to test out that theory. I've had one of mine for over 10 years! I killed one by accidentally over microwaving it though and had to toss it. You want to always feel it before using it, it's easy to get them too hot if you have a high watt microwave. Just remember once you get the timing right to right down how long it took. They will stay warm for about 10 hours. I could go to work and come home and it would still be fairly warm.

If your rats are inside and healthy though they probably don't need one, if you are not freezing, neither are they. As others said, give em some blankets, hides, sleep sacks or something to make nests out of and they should be fine.
 

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Lol ok since you asked, here's a super quick diagram that I used for my retirement cage that will probably work for your cage, except your cage has a metal pan. It won't get hot enough that it will make the whole metal pan hot, just the area the tile touches should be warm.

I hope this is helpful! If this doesn't make sense, please ask questions haha.

 

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Discussion Starter #20
Oh my! that diagram is very detailed! thank you!! I thought thats what you were trying to describe. I have the cage propped up on a wooden self (kinda like a 2 level shoe holder) so I would have to see how I would do that. But that is great and gives me something to go off of. Now, do you leave the pad on all day when you're not home or how do you do that?
 
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