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What Do Rats Like to Play With? 9 Toy Ideas Rats Love

Nicole Cosgrove

Even though rats are portrayed as disgusting and scary creatures in the media, they’re actually really intelligent and playful. They need a variety of toys so that they can remain amused and active. Luckily, finding toys for your pet rat is relatively easy. You can search pet stores for rat toys or make your own.

In this article, we are going to check out 9 toy ideas that rats love. This includes store bought and DIY toy ideas. Scroll on that mouse so you can keep reading!divider-mouse

What Makes a Good Rat Toy?

Rats like a variety of toys. Anything that speaks to their natural instincts and abilities would be a great option. Most notably, anything that they can tunnel through, climb on, shred, chew on, and forage through would be great options. As you would imagine, a large variety of options fit this bill and can be turned into a toy when given to a rat.

Before giving your rat any toy, you need to make sure that it is safe for them to nibble on. Just about any toy that they get will go into their mouth. Ensure that the toy is nontoxic and safe for them to swallow. Additionally, small pieces of string and fabric can block their intestines or wrap around their delicate toes if you’re not careful.

Store-Bought Rat Toy Ideas

As rats are becoming more and more popular to own as pets, more companies are jumping on the opportunity to sell rat safe and approved toys. Here are some store-bought toy ideas you may want to add to your rat’s cage.

1. Rat Tunnels

Ware Fun Tunnel Play Tube

Rats and mice love to make and run through tunnels. Give them the satisfaction of running through a tunnel like this Ware Fun Tunnel Play Tube. A premade rat tunnel will be an appropriate size for these larger bodies and be made of materials that cannot be broken off and consumed.


2. Exercise Wheels

Ware Tread Wheel Small Animal Toy

Exercise wheels are one of the best ways to get your rodent up and running without taking them out of their cage. You need to select an exercise wheel that is safe and designed for rats. The wheel should be 11 inches in diameter, and they should not be able to trap the rat’s tail. We recommend the Ware Tread Wheel Small Animal Toy in size Large.


3. Rat Hammocks

Kaytee Small Animal Plush Sleeper Hammock

Rats are shockingly good climbers, and they love doing it. You can hang a hammock or two within the rat’s cage for them to climb into and lounge on. You can easily attach a hammock to the top or side of the cage for security. Try this Kaytee Small Animal Plush Sleeper Hammock.


4. Rawhide or Apple Stick Chews

Oxbow Apple Stick Bundle Small Animal Chew Toy chewy

Rats need toys that they can chew on. Since their teeth never stop growing, they rely on items to keep their teeth a manageable length. Add rawhide or apple stick chews to their cage so that they can be entertained while chewing away and keeping their teeth healthy. The Oxbow Apple Stick Bundle is a classic!divider-multiprint

DIY Rat Toy Ideas

Even though you can certainly find a number of rat toys at the store, we recommend making your own. Rats tend to prefer toys that are easily made from household materials. Plus, it will save you a whole lot of money in the process. Here are our favorite DIY toy ideas that your rat will love.

5. Toilet Roll Chew Box

One of the best ways to keep your rat entertained while filing their teeth is creating this toilet roll chew box. This treat box will keep your rat entertained while giving them treats they love. Simply take an old toilet roll tube and cut along the end of each. These cuts should create thick fringes at the end of the roll. Shut one end by folding the fringes into one another.

Then, add your rat’s favorite treats to the inside of the toilet roll through the open end. Follow up by closing the open end by folding the fringes together. That’s all it takes to make these super fun toilet roll chew boxes. Add the treat box to the cage and let your rat try to gnaw through to get to the yummy insides.


6. DIY Tunnel

Old toilet paper rolls really are the best items to make your DIY rat toys with. To make a DIY tunnel, you don’t even have to do anything to the toilet paper roll. Simply place the roll in the cage and let the rats run through them or chew away.


7. DIY Foraging Center

One of our favorite DIY rat toys involves a box of tissues. Try to find a tissue box brand with a perforated opening without any plastic. If you can’t find this, select any tissue box, but make sure to take off all of the plastic on it. Then, take out enough tissues so that the rats can get into the box. Leave some tissues for the rats to forage through, though.

Finally, add little toys or chews throughout the box and layer them underneath some of the tissues. This will transform a plain old tissue box into a foraging box for your rat. The best part about this box is that it allows them to forage, chew, and tunnel, all with one inexpensive item.


8. Hanging Chew Toy

Captivate your rat’s attention by making a unique hanging chew toy. All you need for this toy is old cardboard, paper, toilet paper rolls, and string. Simply feed the string through the materials and hang it from the top of the cage. Your rats will be entertained swinging the toy back and forth and trying to chew on the paper bits.


9. 12 Count Soda Can Box Maze

If you want to give your rat the ultimate maze experience, simply tape together a variety of soda can boxes. Try to make the maze as intricate as possible so that the rats get to explore and tunnel in a new environment.

You can even drop little treats throughout the maze so that they are on a mission to find more gifts and treats along the way. Just make sure that tape is not exposed to the inside of the maze so that the rats cannot eat away at the hazardous material.divider-rodent

Conclusion

Because rats are such naturally curious creatures, they can be entertained with just about any toy. You can look at the store for rat approved toys, or you can make your own. We recommend getting crafty with rat toys since it will save you money. Your rats will not know the difference, anyway!


Featured image credit: Tambako The Jaguar, Flickr

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.