Rats need plenty of space to explore, forage, dig and climb. They also need daily out-of-cage playtime, so please only take on rats if you can commit to meeting their needs. Below are a selection of cages suitable for various different group sizes. If you can go bigger, that is always better!
Rats are extremely social, so we only rehome rats to live in trios as a minimum.
Our minimum housing size requirements are:
3-4 rats = 100cm w x 54cm depth (or 5400cm square footprint) x 64cm height (i.e. Coco Large, Mamble 100)
5 – 10 rats = 100cm w x 54cm depth (or 5400cm square footprint) x 120cm height (Liberta Explorer, Savic Royal Suite 95, Little Zoo Venturer etc)
10+ rats = Savic Royal Suite XL or something custom made bigger than a Liberta Explorer!
If you choose a cage that does not have a particularly deep base, this should ideally be replaced with a custom made perspex tray to allow for sufficiently deep substrate for digging and burrowing in.
Sawdust and woodshavings (unless the shavings are aspen-based or kiln-dried such as Pureflake Extra or Bedmax) are not recommended as these can cause respiratory issues. Paper, cardboard, or hemp based bedding are suitable alternatives. Cardboard is our favourite substrate for rats.
Rats do need a decent amount of substrate that they can dig and rummage around in, so fleece isn’t suitable for them (and is also poor at absorbing urine and is therefore not good for their respiratory health). If your cage doesn’t have a deep base/tray, you’ll need to modify this by adding in something like a sturdy plastic storage box, or by making a new deeper tray/base from perspex. Check out Isamu Rats video below on making a deep tray for your cage!
Another great option for rats which is becoming increasingly popular, is a ‘bioactive’ soil base. Check out The Boho Rat’s video on this below, and visit the Naturalistic & Bioactive Rat Setups group on Facebook for more info.
Rats do best on a good quality mix, rather than just pellets which don’t provide them with much enrichment. Selective feeding is not usually an issue when the food is scatter fed. Rats don’t need a food bowl – scatter the food in their bedding instead!
We feed our rats a mixture of a home-made mix and Science Selective Rat pellets, alongside fresh veg/fruit. Isamu rats have a useful guide to feeding fresh veg & fruit: http://www.isamurats.co.uk/vegetables-and-fruits.html
If you’re interested in making your own mix, we highly recommend getting yourself a copy of The Scuttling Gourmet by Alison Campbell which is full of advice and recipes. Ratrations.co.uk is a good place to source ingredients.
If you prefer to buy a ready-made mix, Ratrations.co.uk is your best bet. The Rat Mix no.11 or Isa-Mix 11A or 11B are all good mixes for adult rats.
Some of our favourite treats:
Rats are super smart and agile, and love to climb, dig, forage and solve puzzles! Provide them with plenty of enrichment both inside the cage and during floor time to keep them occupied and out of trouble.
Your cage will need to provide your ratties with plenty to keep them physically and mentally active. Climbing, foraging, digging and puzzle solving opportunities are all important to provide. Check out Emiology’s fab video on how to set up a rat cage and our Pinterest board for some ideas below!