Pet Rats – Play Time/Free Range Time

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Play Time/Free Range Time

Your fur babies should have at lest 30min a day of play time. This can include shoulder rides, cuddle time and free range time. Letting your fur babies have free range time is a great way to let them out, have a play and be with you around your chosen free range area. How do I create a Free Range area? Okay a free range are is pretty easy to set up, you just need to find an area in your home that you can close all doors and windows. Make sure that all cords and breakables are out of their reach. I use my lounges I have a 2 seater, futon and a 3 seater set up in a U shape. The 2 seater has all there toys and stuff they can chew on it, they spend their free range time running from one lounge to the other getting cuddles from who ever is sitting with them. It’s very rare they go off the lounges and when they do they usually come to their name when called or they put them selves back in their cage. So make sure their cage is close by and that you keep your eye on them while they are out and about, but most importantly have fun 🙂

Tips and Ideas for rat proofing your Free Range Area….

Free Range time is a very important part of your fur babies lives, its when they get to explore, be apart of your world and most of all they get to be close to you 🙂 But where is the best place for Free Range time? Depending on your living situation and arrangement this my change from home to home, but the basics are always the same no matter which room or area you use. Rooms like kitchens, laundries, sheds and garages should not be used. Any rooms/areas that are used to prepare food or contain cleaning products, poisons, tools, sharp items or objects, areas that cant be secured or made safe etc. Always make sure that you talk to the other people that live in your house and make sure they are okay/aware about the free range area that is going to be used and when your fur babies are out using it.

Once you have picked the room/area you want to use as your Free Range area the first thing you want to do is check all fly screens, window frames, doors, floors, carpet, walls and skirting boards etc. for any holes or damage that your fur babies can get through , add to the damage and/or help make bigger. Even the smallest of holes can be made bigger and remember that a rat can squeeze its entire body through anything that its head can be squeezed through. I prefer to Keep my windows closed during play time just to be safe, it wouldn’t take long for one of my fur babies to chew through a fly screen so I prefer not to risk it. You will also want to keep a regular eye on your furniture, window frames, floor, carpet and skirting boards etc. that are in your fur babies reach to make sure they are not part of there play time snack.

Rats are notorious chewers so one of the best ways to avoid your furniture and home becoming lunch is to make sure you give them lots of toys and treats to play with during Free Range time. For ideas on cheap and easy toys and play ideas click – HERE

If you find that they are still trying to chew the house or furniture you can try some of the following: Cover the area being chewed with things like cardboard, lino, rubber tiles etc. or if that doesn’t work you can try rubbing the area with a little Tabasco sauce, chilly oil etc. If they are still intent on chewing that spot you may want to think about changing your free range area.

Make sure you move anything that can be broken or that could cause injury. If you have any indoor plants make sure you do your research on them to make sure the are not poisonous to animals, as rats love nothing more then to play, dig and chew in pot plants. If they are not suitable for ingestion then put them I’m in another area that the rats cant get to. Remove anything else that will be harmful to they when chewed, things like potpourri, scented candles, room deodorizes etc. and while your at it take a look around and make sure you move any books, photos, pillows, throw-rugs, plastic flowers, DVDs etc. that you don’t want to be chewed or damaged.

Now for the out of sight things like cords, cables, wires and power-points. Try to block off anywhere that has these items as best as possible but if you are unable to make sure these things are tidy and up high or covered. The best way to tidy up cords, cables and wires is to tie them together. There are a few ways to do this, hold them all together as close to the items as possible and use something like cable ties or tape and fasten the cords every few inches till you get to the end, make sure you allow enough cord to plug in. Another option is to buy cable cover clips, you can pick these up from places like office supplies and some hardware stores or you can also use a hose, slice down one side of the hose so it now can be wrapped around the cords and taped or tied shut. Once you have all your cable, cords and wires joined together make sure you secure them up high and out of the way of your rats. Along the edge of the floor and up the wall is one of the best ways. Rats love to get in the places that are out of our reach and hang out in corners or under furniture, they will chew on anything that gets in their way or stops them from getting to where they are wanting to go. Cords, cables and wires are not something we want in their way.

You then need to cover any unused power-points with power-point shields to prevent them being chewed and licked.

So you have found your Free Range area, you have moved all toxic/poisonous plants, moved everything you don’t want to get chewed or destroyed and fixed up all the cables, cords, wires and power-points. Next you to set some rules for the Free Range area. The best and most basic rule to have are:
1 – Let everyone in the house know it is Free Range time.
2 – Look before you sit (lift any pillows or cushions before you sit down to make sure you don’t sit on your fur babies).
3 – Watch your feet (I find it safer to go bare foot during free range time and only take small steps so you don’t have to worry about treading on anyone).
4 – If you leave it be prepared to lose it (your fur babies will think what ever gets put down in there area is a new toy and up for grabs)
5 – Listen out for anything and everything (chewing, squeaking etc)
6 – Don’t forget about them (make sure you put them away before leaving the area for a long period of time)
7 – This is the most important rule of all HAVE FUN 🙂

Getting your area set up may seem like a bit of a fuss but once you do all that is left is to have fun and enjoy your fur babies 🙂