Providing Enrichment For Your Rat
Rats can be some of the most loving and wonderful creatures around. Making sure that your pet rats stay healthy, happy, and engaged can be challenging. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to enrich your rat's life with toys, games, and food.
1. Support and encourage instinctual behaviors
Like all animals (even us!), your pet rats have instinctual urges: to play, run, chew, explore, and hide. As a smart pet owner, you can give your pet access to toys or new hides in their habitat that will encourage them to explore. You can rotate objects in and out of the habitat regularly to keep it fresh and exciting.
2. Play and treat
Nothing says love like feeding your rat a healthy selection of treats either through human interaction, practicing tricks, or hiding them in the habitat for your rattie to find later. Remember: feed healthy treats in moderation. Small pieces of chicken, corn kernels, apple slices (no seeds), and cheerios are all easy to feed your pet rat.
3. Make a maze
Inside or outside of the habitat, letting your rat explore a new obstacle course with treats involved is sure to keep them healthy and happy. You can use all sorts of common household objects for the hunt: small tubes, tupperware containers, leftover boxes, and more. If you're setting up a course outside of the cage, be sure to make the area safe for your rattie -- put away cords, cats, and other dangerous items first.
4. Learn a game together
Rats are notoriously smart animals, and so you may find that learning games together is easy, fun, and rewarding. Teaching your rat to come when called should be your first game together. A few treats and some patience, and your rattie will get it in no time. Rats are also known to learn tag, hide and seek, peek-a-boo, and other simple games easily.
5. Go excavating
Like most small animals, rats are known to dig. Get a small container of sterile soil and hide some hide value treats at various depths within the soil. Show your rattie and let them go to town! You may want to use a towel underneath the container for spills and small messes.
6. Go fishing
Pea fishing is a popular game with rats. To play, get a medium bowl of room temperature water, add some stones for your rattie to use as a bridge, and then throw some frozen peas into the water. Your rattie will love hopping around and going for the peas.
No matter how you enrich your pet rat's like, know that they'll love every second of it. Happy tails!