Rats need something to do. A stimulating environment, conducive to climbing and exploring, contributes significantly to animal health and well-being.
Some studies on laboratory rats have shown that the animals develop behavioral disorders (e.g. gnawing on bars) and are more susceptible to stress and more anxious when they are confined and lack stimulus. When keeping pets, it should go without saying that pet rats live in a large enclosure with many opportunities to climb, run and retreat. In addition, the agile rodents need daily exercise in a rat room that has been set up without danger.
In the room, you can offer the animals, for example, self-made climbing trees and playgrounds. Ramps, tubes (made of fabric, plastic, cardboard, or cork), hiding places (e.g. wooden and ceramic houses), hammocks, and thick ropes, as well as branches, should not be missing in the enclosure and exercise area. Buddle boxes with unfertilized peat, shredded paper, or other dust-free bedding are also very popular with rats.
Agility for rats In addition to a varied and stimulating design for the enclosure and run, you can promote the fitness of your rats with simple “sports equipment”. For example, you can train your rodents’ balance and dexterity with a rough broomstick or rope. Place the broomstick on the ground and use a treat to lure your rats from one end of the handle to the other. If your rats enjoy the exercise and are good at it, you can slowly increase the demands.
Bit by bit the distance between the broomstick and the ground is increased. First, the two handle ends are placed on two piles of books, later a small stool or chair can serve as a holder. Of course, it is crucial that the broomstick is firmly attached and that the rats are safe enough to cross it so that they do not fall from a great height to the ground. You can also use a sturdy rope stretched between pieces of furniture.
Fun & Games Self-made labyrinths offer further stimulating employment opportunities. Just take an old cardboard box measuring e.g. B. 20 x 50 x 30 cm (height x width x depth) and draw an extensive maze on the floor. After that, glue high cardboard walls to the floor. Two entrances should also be cut into the box so that the rats can exit the maze on their own. Bottles or books placed on edge work in a similar way to a labyrinth. The bottles or books are placed in a staggered manner and are intended to encourage the rodents to run in the slalom.
The books can also be used as an obstacle course. Lure your rats over the obstacles with a treat. At first, the animals will certainly run around the books instead of jumping over them. With a little patience, however, you can teach them to choose the path over the obstacle. As long as your rats are having fun and there is no risk of injury during the fitness exercises, there are hardly any limits to your imagination.