Naughty Smelly Rats

Yet again I’m having to modify the rats’ cage! Recently one or two of the rats have for some unknown reason decided to “tidy” all the poos in their cage from their toilets to the large “Acroplatform” which is supposed to be a kind of general run around area. Not only that, they have been diligently urinating over the same platform/shelf, so that when it comes to cleaning time, I am almost reduced to tears with the sheer stench of it! I must add that I give their cage a thorough clean every week religiously. The main culprit is Shy-shy, who among other things, has obsessive nesting instincts, and territory issues! An example of this would be the time I tried to remove some spoiled bedding to replace it with new stuff, and Shy-shy lunged at my fingers, mouth wide open and teeth flashing! He didn’t bite me but I didn’t give him much chance! He’s the only rat that is defensive about is home, and is never aggressive outside his cage or to his cage mates, but I give him a healthy respect, and “knock before entering” the cage (let him sniff my hand – and never try to move bedding/food/stuff once he’s claimed it as his!) I’m sure it’s quite common this behaviour and it’s just a natural instinct which serves wild rats very well.

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Shy-shy “redecorating”

To combat the problem of messy cage habits, I had the ingenious idea of adding a couple of new levels to our huge cage, which have been filled with cardboard litter to absorb the yucky rat by-products! I have removed the Acroplatform for now and got hold of two cat litter trays which I’ve drilled holes into. The trays are attached to the cage with metal loops. So far so good, the ratties haven’t turned their home into a tip quite yet, but it’s only Monday!

Today my rats have been mostly eating their boring old rat food again!

Rat Bath

It’s not necessary to bathe rats normally, because they continually wash and groom themselves (and each other) several times a day. They don’t seem to bother much with their tails though – as I noticed after the “rat print making episode” when Rocky had purple stains on his tail for about a week! Bucks tend to be a bit wiffier than does and as I have four of them slobbing out together, I thought it might be good to give them a little bath.

I got an old washing up basin and filled it to about a quarter (not too deep!) with lukewarm water and a little squirt of baby bath, which is very mild. I had a nice warm towel at the ready for afterwards.

Shy-Shy was not impressed! He gave out a loud squeak of defiance, so I just gave him a quick swish and rubbed his fur very gently, then I wrapped him in the cosy towel which he loved! I rubbed him vigorously but carefully with the towel, and he went still, and seemed to enjoy it. In fact none of the boys were that struck on the bath, but they all liked the towel drying part.

Afterwards I noticed the rats were all busily washing themselves (probably weren’t keen on the baby bath) , but at least they were all very clean and glossy furred!

Note to self and other rat owners: Don’t bathe rats, it’s a futile exercise! Keep their cage clean, and they will keep themselves clean, it’s a rat thing.

Today my rats have been mostly eating sprouts.