Creativity is the keyword here. One doesn’t need to buy every toy made out there. You may find that your pet rat will think that empty toilet paper tube makes a wonderful place to hide in, or the shoe box you decided was taking up closet space will be a great place to take a nap in. How about wrapping a yummie up in a piece of tissue and watching your rattie enjoy taking it apart and eating the contents.
I kept one of the kids old Fisher Price farmhouses and all my rats love to go in and out of the windows and lay on the little shelves.
Another clever and inexpensive Hidey idea (submitted by Virginia Simpson) is to take a child’s plastic lunch box (can often be found at Goodwill for 50 cents) and cut a round hole on each narrow side of it for cage furniture. Get more than one and place them together or stack them for a multilevel condo. You can also use just one with one hole in the narrow side to make a great den or to carry a scared or shy rat in.
An excellent homemade play area for rats is to make up a digging box. It is very easy to do and relatively inexpensive. Take a small plastic box (a small cat litter box is ideal) and fill it with sterile potting soil; throw in some bird seed, wheat or rye grass, and sprinkle with water. It will only take a couple of days for the grass to grow. You might have to show your rats what this box is for the first time they are put in it. You can do that by partially hiding some of their favorite treats in the dirt for them. It’s a guaranteed winner and it’s lots of fun to watch them at play.
For additional suggestions on homemade toys and keeping your rats entertained, check out The Dapper Rat.
If you are still looking for toys to buy, there is the Wodent Wheel which is perfect for rats, as well as rat shaped toys by “Super Pet” that hold yummies that your pet rat can dig out of the holes in the bases to eat.