After bringing your babies home, you probably realized you need to give them some sort of toys to entertain themselves with. I’ll give you some tips I learned and found very helpful, in the hopes that your rats will find the toys you make them fun. There are some very cheap materials you can make rat toys out of, but some of the best are small cardboard (not the heavy duty stuff with layers), twigs, and cloth. In addition, I’d like to make the suggestion that you switch out their toys once a week, that way, they have a new set of toys every week, and feel like they’ve got something new to play with, even if it’s actually a toy they’ve had before. Let’s show you some simple rat toys you can make!
Cardboard can be used for all sorts of things. The best part is that it’s cheap. Tissue boxes or other small boxes with stuff inside are a great toy for the rats. Once they realize that the stuff inside is easy to pull out and move around, they’ll pull as much as they want out, and make a little nest with it. Toilet paper and paper towel rolls are also great fun for the little ratties. Leave them as-is and they’ll climb through them, or put them together into a maze, and they’ll be nearly as entertained as you will be watching them.
Twigs are a very important toy for rats to play with. They use them to gnaw on and wear down their teeth, which grow constantly. A few important things about twigs: never use cedar or pine. Cedar and pine contain chemicals that are dangerous to your little ratties, and will hurt them if you put them in their cage. There are plenty of safe wood varieties out there that you can let them gnaw on, so don’t use cedar or pine. If you don’t want to risk a twig, bones of chickens, turkeys and other fowl are also great for them to gnaw on.
Here’s another really cheap toy idea. I cut up several small squares of spare material and threw them in the cage. The rats have had more fun with the cloth than with anything other than the little climbing thing we made out of a paper holder. The rats burrow in, under and nest within the strips of cloth that I gave them. You can also take some of the cloth and make climbing ropes, ladders, or hammocks for them to play on.
With some invention and imagination, you can make all sorts of fun toys for your pet rats to play with. What I’ve given you here is just to start your mind working. Try some of this stuff out, and then, get inventive! Sure! Make a rat maze out of pvc pipe. Or a house for them to sleep in within their cage. Play around enough, and you’ll certainly get the hang of what they do and do not like.