Fleece instead of Aspen?

Posted on October 31st, 2007 in by Cassi

After that bad experience with the mites I decided it’s time to do something a little more practical for the rat’s cage lining. I was spending a lot of money and time lining the whole cage bottom with Aspen. Plus, there’s always a risk of reintroducing mites with future bags of Aspen. So I picked up 2 little fleece blankets at the dollar store and lined the bottom of the cage with them after cleaning tonight. I also added a towel under the fleece to absorb urine a little better. Hopefully the litter box is big enough for them and won’t get tipped over. I’m mostly worried about Pixel, though. He may have a harder time getting litter trained. So we’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck! :D

Oh no, Mites!

Posted on October 25th, 2007 in by Cassi

About 2 weeks ago I noticed a few tiny scabs on Pica’s neck, and both little guys were itching a lot. I looked them over but didn’t see any bugs , and no scabs on Pixel. I figured it was either mites (you can’t actually see mites, only lice) or Pica grooming himself too hard, so I decided to give it a week to see if the scabs would go away. Unfortunately, Pica started getting more scabs, and they both seemed even itchier. So I got on petshed.com and ordered some kitten strength Revolution. I read that this is the best way to get rid of mites. It finally came in the mail today, so I scrubbed down their cage and put a drop of Revolution on each of them. The stuff smells pretty gross, but as long as it works I won’t complain. I also had to freeze their bedding (Aspen) for 2 days, which Kevin wasn’t so happy about. He didn’t like the idea of rat bedding sitting in our freezer. Hey, it’s fresh bedding! Oh well. Hopefully their itchies go away, and I won’t have to worry about this anymore.

Good Morning Ratties

Posted on October 19th, 2007 in by Cassi

Here’s what I’m greeted with every morning…

good morning rats

I like to think they’re happy to see me, but really they’re probably waiting for their morning treats.

Wow, Pixel’s belly looks really round in this picture… it’s not actually that huge. :P

Rat Bellies!!

Posted on October 12th, 2007 in by Cassi

There’s a thread over at Goosemoose full of cute pudgy rat bellies. Here’s my rat babies’ bellies.

Pixel hammin’ it up:

Pixel rat belly picture

Pica looking smug, he hates showing his belly:

Pica rat belly picture

Rat Nap

Posted on October 6th, 2007 in by Cassi

When I checked in on the rats this afternoon they were cuddled up and sleeping in their tunnel hammock. So cute. :D I managed to get my camera before they woke up. Here’s one of Pica sleeping with his tail curled up by his head.

sleeping rat

And here they both are a few minutes later after the flash woke them up. The look on Pixel’s face says, “Hey, who do you  think you are wakin us up?!?”

rats wake up

New Food for the Rats - Harlan Teklad 2014

Posted on October 6th, 2007 in by Cassi

I’ve heard such good things about Harlan Teklad, so I decided to go ahead and try them out. It comes in different varieties and levels of protien, but I got the 2014 which means it has 14% protein. Unfortunately you can’t just buy it from a pet store, so I ordered it from ColdBloods.com - a reseller. They were great, and it arrived in 2 days. The down side is that you have to order it in 33lb. shipments. That’s okay though, I just have a freezer full of extra food. And the price came out to 96cents per pound after the shipping was added in. Not bad! Mazuri was costing me $3 a pound at PetsMart.

Anyways, the rats love it! I put some in their bowl along with the Mazuri and some cheerios and pasta for dinner. Usually they grab the snacks, like cheerios, first, but tonight they were grabbing the Harlan! The best part was when Pixel tried to shove a cheerio, a pasta spiral, and a lab block all in his mouth at once and run away. He didn’t get very far, but I wish I had a camera. :D When I went back to check on them 2 hours later all that was left in their dish was Mazuri. So I’m definitely glad I switched.

As a side note, I’m going to try to switch the gerbils over to the Harlan too. They seem less excited about it, but I think it will be healthier than the all seed diet they’re on now. I may not get them totally switched, but a balance of seeds and blocks would help.

Rat Freerange Playtime

Posted on October 4th, 2007 in by Cassi

Freerange playtime is so important for the ratties. First because it’s great exercise. Rats can get big and squishy and overweight pretty easily, so letting them run around a little each day helps them stay in shape. But also they’re very curious animals. Being in a cage all day can get extremely boring for them, and when they’re bored they become destructive. By giving them some time to explore and use their brains they stay in a happy mood.

Here’s what I do to give my boys some time to play in a safe, enclosed area. Everyone does playtime differently, but this works best for me. I block off the kitchen and lay random “toys” around on the floor. You can see in the picture below how I block the doors off. I got 2 sheets of “hardboard” from the hardware store and then I prop heavy objects against them to keep them from moving. The toys are mostly just cardboard boxes, other empty containers, and things that roll around. They love to crawl and climb over (and under) everything - including me. They get to run around for about 45 minutes a night before going back to the cage for dinner. Here are the two pictures:

rat freerange gate

rat freerange play