You have these cuties, now what do you put them in?

Summary of 2 basic types of housing:


Pro's (good things):

-Keeps the bedding in well.

-Safe for babies because they can't fall/climb out between the bars as in a wire cage.

-Easy on the rat's feet, no metal grating to walk on.

-Keeps drafts out, which is especially good for sick or hairless rats.

Con's (bad things):

-Usually too small--a 10-gal. tank is really not well suited to any adult rat. I use them temporarily for sick rats and for a mother and her new babies. Otherwise I prefer a larger cage.

-Can be difficult to clean thoroughly. The larger ones especially are heavy and fragile. It's best to wash any cage occasionally, with many preferring to do so on a weekly basis.

-Limits ventilation. You have to change the bedding more often because the rat should NEVER be forced to endure the odor or stress of ammonia from its urine. The lack of ventilation reduces air quality and traps ammonia.

-No opportunity to climb--lacks the bars and ramps common to wire cages and can reduce exercise opportunities. Most are too small for a good solid exercise wheel or for much in the way of toys.

NOTE: Make sure the lid is secure or weight it down--escapes are easier than with most wire cages.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Pregnant mothers, nursing mothers with small babies, rats with bumblefoot, elderly rats who are no longer agile, hairless rats or rats susceptible to drafts.


Pro's (good things):

-Better ventilated--more air circulation, therefore the rats get cleaner air. Helps reduce respiratory problems.

-Provides climbing exercise to keep rats healthy.

-Usually larger--keeps the rats happier because they are curious and playful animals and like to explore and run and climb.

-More room for toys and wheels--see above.

-Sturdier and lighter for their size than aquaria, so easier to move and clean.

-Wire construction is easier to attach toys and rattie furniture to.

-Less expensive per square foot of space than aquaria.

Con's (bad things):

-More exposed to drafts

-Rats can slip thru the bars if the spacing isn't right for the size of the rat (generally 1/2" by 1 or 2" is safe for any size rat; larger spacings are dangerous for little ones or slim girls. For our European friends who use the saner metric system, about 1 cm by 2 1/2 to 5 cm is the equivalent).

-Wire floors can irritate rat feet, esp. if the rat is overweight or older. Where possible remove or cover wire floors. Plastic needlepoint canvas is good, cheap, self-draining floor cover that will save the ratties' feet.

-Some people are concerned about zinc poisoning from galvanized wire. I have not had a problem with it in my rats but anything is possible. Some cages are coated to protect against this.

-Bedding tends to scatter more, so wire cages can be messier to have. Using a heavy bedding like recycled newspaper bedding or pellet bedding often helps a lot with this.

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