Unsafe Pet Rat Toys to Avoid Like the Plague (see what we did there?)
As rat owners, it is our goal and responsibility to give our rats the most enriching lives that we possibly can. Therefore, it’s important to note that some toys marketed toward rat owners are not actually good for our babies’ health and wellbeing, even if they seem super fun. The following is a list of unsafe pet rat toys to avoid. To play it safe, remove from your rat cage if you currently use them. Plus, here’s one that may or may not be good for YOUR ratto.
Unsafe Rat Toy #1: Edible Logs
These items may seem fun for rats to have. But they are composed of ingredients that rats are not able to digest, including alfalfa and pine. Even though the log is “edible”, you should never give it to your rats. There have been reported deaths and illnesses possibly associated with rats eating one of these products.
Unsafe Rat Toy #2: Chinchilla Dust Bath
A rat is never, ever going to need to be dust bathed. They clean themselves all the time. If you give a rat chinchilla dust, you’re asking for trouble. Not only will you have a big mess to clean but the rats will also breathe in this fine dust. Their lungs are extremely sensitive. I have heard of owners using the dust bath houses for hideouts in their rat cage. But they refrain from ever adding dusting powder.
Unsafe Rat Toy #3: Hamster Balls
Rats are not generally fans of being put into these exercise balls. It is very uncomfortable for them to be trapped in an uncomfortably tiny space and not have the ability to use touch and scent senses to get around. Rats have very poor eyesight, making use of other senses much more important. Also, rat toes are prone to getting stuck in the tiny air holes these hamster balls have.
If you already own one of these running balls, you can still make use of it by stuffing it with some shredded paper or fleece and then zip tying it onto the side or top of the cage and rats enjoy climbing in and sleeping. Just throw away the door part.
And One Rat Toy That’s Controversial
Running wheels are a controversial topic among rat owners. Many advise that they should be avoided because they force the rats into a position that is not good for their backs. However, others say that these wheels are ideal for rats to get some exercise. A lot depends on your particular rat’s size, whether it likes running on a wheel, and how it acts after a good running session. You’ll thank yourself if you get a rat running wheel that’s “silent” – none of them really are, but some are much louder than others.
The bottom line is, there is no direct link to muscle damage from a running wheel. So if you want to use one, just make sure it’s big enough for all of your rats to comfortable use. The minimum recommended size is 10 inches. Make sure to avoid wheels that are made of mesh or wiring because these can injure the tiny feet, toes, and tails of your rats. You can read more about rat running wheels here.
We all love our pet rats and enjoy watching them have fun playing. Whether you make toys for your rattos or buy them, do your research first to make sure you avoid unsafe pet rat toys and stick with those they’ll enjoy and that don’t come with a side of danger. Learn more about what your rats love about certain kinds of toys here.