Rats are extremely intelligent and need access to toys for mental stimulation. If you cannot afford toys, your little friends will be perfectly happy with boxes, toilet paper rolls, crinkled paper, pipes, and more! A little creative thinking goes a long way.
Encourage your rat's natural instinct of gathering and working for their food by providing them with foraging toys. Not only do they increase mental stimulation, but they are great boredom busters!
Foraging Treat Toy
Teach n Treat Toy
Kaytee Hide N Go
Ladders & Ledges
Rats have incredible balance and love to climb. If they're not perched on your shoulder or climbing up your leg during playtime, they love to climb all over their cage. Fill their cage with different levels, ladders, and ledges.
Tunnels & Tubes
As prey animals, rats feel most comfortable in small spaces. That makes tunnels and tubes a sure favorite! You can create tunnels out of pipe from the hardware store or DIY with fleece, cardboard, or juice cartons.
6 Tunnel Toy
Chews & Shredders
If you have rats, you know how much they love to chew... your clothes, bed sheets, remote controls, phone chargers etc. Give them things they can chew without breaking your heart (RIP to my 100th phone charger).
Hammocks & Hangouts
Rats love to be spoiled with a variety of sleeping spots. Hammocks are a favorite choice, allowing your rat to feel safe in a high place while being comfortable.
Cardboard boxes are great and rats absolutely love them... but sometimes you want something that takes a little less creative effort and looks pretty cool too!
Running balls and wheels are considered controversial in the rat community and should be used with caution. Many people believe that balls and wheels are bad for rat's backs and should not be used at all. Others believe they provide for good exercise. Read our blog regarding the safety of wheels, by clicking here. If you decide to use either of these toys, ensure that it is large enough for your rat. 10 to 12 inches is a minimum size.
Do not use wire or mesh wheels as they have the potential to injure toes, feet, and tails.
Suitable designs are pictured on the left and right.
Large size wheels are preferred.
Toys to Avoid
One of our goals as owners is to provide our rats with things that enrich their lives. But some toys are dangerous or bad for their health - no matter how fun they look! Avoid the following toys. If you already use these toys, I suggest removing them before problems arise.
Snak Shak Edible Activity Log
This item and its similar product line, contain items that rats CANNOT digest such as pine and alfafa. While it is "edible", it should not be used for rats.
Some owners have reported illness and even death after their rats ate Snak Shak products.
Most rats do not like running/exercise balls. Your rats will be uncomfortable when they are trapped within a small space, unable to use their sense of smell and touch to manuever. Due to their poor eye sight, the ability to use their other senses is extremly important. These exercise balls also contain small air holes where toes and feet may become caught.
If you decide to use a running ball, please purchase the largest one available. Click here to purchase a large 13 inch ball. Do not shove rats inside the balls if they are scared.
If you purchased a ball and no longer wish to use it, fill the ball with fleece or paper and place into the cage as a bed. You can even zip tie it to the cage to create a spacepod.
DO NOT purchase chinchilla dust for your rats. They won't bathe in it...but they will make a mess and get the fine dust into their sensitive lungs. You can purchase the bath houses (without the dust) as fun hideouts, but please avoid dusting powder. Under no circumstances will a rat need a dust bath.
TOYS & FORAGING TOYS