Australian Rat Fanciers Society
An organisation dedicated to the
welfare and promotion of pet rats.
Founded in 1996 ... for the love of rats!
Rats are extremely curious.
They enjoy exploring and checking out new things,
so they love it when you put new items in their cage
or change things around.
You will need a few little bowls of various sizes for your rats’ food. Look for heavy china or glass bowls with flat bases that won’t be easily tipped over. Large plastic or stainless steel bowls that clip securely on the cage bars also work well.
AusRFS members make hammocks to raise funds for our club & Rescue Service.
Please see the merchandise page under the AusRFS Services tab for details
or click on the title of this box
to download the details.
AusRFS has designed hide houses,
made of non-chew hard plastic,
which are available for purchase directly
from a Melbourne manufacturer.
Please click on the title of this box
to download details.
Water Bottles / Bowls
Rats MUST have access to fresh water at all times.
Water drip bottles are best, but make sure the bottle is a small one suitable for rats. The balls in some bottles are far too heavy for rats to use and they will not be able to get any water from them. Spring-loaded water bottles are also too heavy for rats to use.
Check daily that the bottles are working (the balls can sometimes get stuck). It’s safer to put two bottles in the cage.
Most rats will also appreciate a small bowl of water – they will drink from this, but some rats will also use the water to wash their hands and faces. Some rats will also play in their water. The water in bowls needs to be changed at least once a day as it more likely to get dirty.
Wilbur playing with his toy rat
(a cat toy suspended on elastic),
owned by Wendy C.
Rats will appreciate anything they can hide in, climb on, explore or move around. Just be mindful of safety issues – small holes that can get their heads or legs caught, and what it is made of. Check out $2 shops, markets, garage sales, second hand stores, recycled toy shops and hardware stores.
Don’t use wooden products in their cage unless it is something that has been specifically made for animals that chew – otherwise assume that all wood has been treated and may be toxic. Things like bird toys and ladders should be okay. Remember that any wood will most likely get chewed and over time will absorb smells.
Small cat balls are good; make sure they are light enough for a rat to pick up.
Bernard & friend, enjoying a game of soccer!
Owned by Ingrid R.
Rats tend to either be obsessed with wheels or ignore them completely.
Young rats are more likely to run in a wheel. Some rats will lose interest as they grow up, so don’t be disappointed if they do.
The best wheels are either a Silent Spinner or Wodent Wheel. Wodent Wheels come in several sizes. The Wobust size is the best for rats. Wobust wheels can be purchased from the Dapper Rat website.
The wheels made of wire or mesh can be very dangerous; heads, tails and other body parts of either the running rat or a curious cage mate can get caught between the bars resulting in serious injury – or worse.
Hoody Boy running in a Silent Spinner Wheel
Owned by Melissa, David & Caeden B.
A Wodent Wheel
Bertie. Owned by Wendy C
Sleeping / Hide Houses
Your rats will need some sort of sleeping/hiding house or box. Purpose-made houses are best because they tend to be made of heavier plastic, but you can use something like an upturned plastic colander or even a large ice-cream container. Make an entrance hole big enough for your rats to get in and out easily. If using something solid, remember to punch some ventilation holes into it. Put some fleecy material or shredded paper in to make a cosy bed. Plastic will last and is easy to keep clean. Cardboard will need replacing regularly due to urine or stashed wet food.
The AusRFS has designed hide houses made of heavy plastic that rats can't chew.
Please the download link at the top of this page for details.
Rats just love sleeping in hammocks. Polar fleece is the best fabric, as claws don’t catch in it. You can buy hammocks or make your own. A cheap and easy hammock can be made by cutting the legs off fleecy track pants or arms from windcheaters. even old jeans for more sturdy hammocks. Clothes and manchester from your local secondhand shop are a great option. Good quality nappy pins (with a safety lock) are a safe and convenient way to hang hammocks. You can also use Carabiner clips, clothes pegs or zip ties (all available at hardware stores) to hang hammocks.
AusRFS members make hammocks to sell to raise funds for our club and Rescue Service. Please see the merchandise page under the AusRFS Services tab for more information or click at the top of this page to download details.
A ward of the AusRFS Rescue Service,
comfy in his hammock
If you are going to litter train your rats you will need a good-sized, shallow litter dish. It needs to be big enough for your rats to get in and out of and sit in comfortably. It needs to be either fairly heavy so it can’t be tipped over or have clips to secure it to the cage. Heavy plastic and ceramic all work well and are easy to clean.
Litter trays with a grill covering are also available and are an excellent way to keep cages neat and tidy as rats can't dig in the litter or kick it out of the tray when the jump out. Its important to check that the holes in the grill are not too big as rats can get their legs stuck in the large holes in the trays made for larger pets such as rabbits.
Pipes & Tubes
Buy some PVC pipes from the hardware store. The 100mm size is best so that your rats can run through easily.
Corner or three-way pipes are best as they don’t roll. If using straight pipes remember they will need to be attached or wedged somehow to keep them from rolling.
Pipes can be placed on the floor of the cage or hung on the sides.
Alternatively, go to a carpet shop and ask for one of the thick cardboard cylinders from the inside of a carpet roll, which you can cut into lengths and use in the same way as plastic piping. Cardboard rolls will need to be replaced regularly, due to chewing and soiling.
Dangerous Beans owned by Min G.
Connector pipes cheap to buy from the plumbing section of hardware stores. They have 3 entrances
and can't roll around in the cage and cause injuries,
so are a great choice for rats.