Cages for Rats

There are many choices to consider when deciding on a home for your rats; wire cages, wooden enclosures and glass tanks are all commonly used.

Whichever you decide is the most suitable, always purchase the largest cage you can afford. Rats are very active animals, and will greatly appreciate as much space as can be offered. The bigger the better!

The table below provides information on the most commonly used types of cages;

TypeCostProsConsComments
Wire Cage for Rats
Wire Cage
Wide range of prices to suit most pockets, anywhere from $60 to $500. Fantastic airflow, great for climbing. Time consuming to thoroughly clean. Wire cages can be purchased in a huge range of shapes and sizes available to suit your rats' needs.
Ensure that the bars are a suitable width apart for rats, as ferret cages have much wider bar spacing which youngsters and females can squeeze through.
	 Glass Tank - Image Courtesy of Carawatha Rodents Glass Tank - Image Courtesy of Carawatha Rodents

Glass Tank - Image Courtesy of Carawatha Rodents Glass Tank - Image Courtesy of Carawatha Rodents
1200x600 tanks can be picked up as cheaply as $150, however it is advisable to search for tanks that are no longer watertight and cannot be used as aquariums, as they are often very cheap to purchase. Easy to clean, cheap, can be purchased in suitable sizes to house multiple rats. Difficult to move, very little airflow so unsuitable for hot environments. Wire mesh lids for glass tanks can be difficult to find, especially the larger sizes that are suitable for use with rats. *DO NOT USE THE GLASS LIDS THAT COME WITH GLASS TANKS!* If you make your own lid, test its reliablity prior to leaving ratties alone in it. Rats are incredible escape artists!
Converted plastic tub
Converted plastic tub
The largest tubs available usually cost around the $20 mark. Easy to clean, transportable. Very little airflow so unsuitable for hot environments, cannot be purchased in sizes suitable for housing adults long term. Useful when raising a litter, as coloured plastic affords mum some privacy with no risk of losing babies through bars. Suitable as holding container for adults only for transport or when raising a litter in the early stages, not permanent living quarters.
 Picture of a handmade grotto for keeping rats in
Grotto - Image courtesy of The Dapper Rat
Cost can range from nothing to as much as is desired. Old furniture can usually be sourced free of charge. How much is spent modifying the grotto for rattie use is objective. Usually made of castaway furniture and therefore relatively cheap, fun for rats to navigate and usually of good size. Can become smelly and unhygenic as usually made of wood. Once urine soaks into the wood it is difficult to eliminate the smell. A grotto is a converted piece of furniture used to house rats. A bookcase, wardrobe or even TV cabinet are all suitable items of furniture that can be quite easily adapted.
Picture of a custom built pet rat cage
Custom built cage
Cost dependent on design, but generally much cheaper than can be expected for an equivalent in a retail shop. Cages can be tailored to suit your rattie needs. None, provided you carefully think out the design prior to placing the order Custom cages are generally made of wood/melamine and can be customised to any size/shape that you desire.

Sunshine Rattery Enclosures

 Picture of a custom built pet rat cage
Front of custom built enclosures

We have used wire cages in the past with great success, but have found that they are rather fiddly and time consuming to clean. Once our rattie population started to grow, keeping all the cages clean became somewhat of a mammoth task.

Due to this, we have invested in custom enclosures that were made to our design.

Our custom enclosures are made from white melamine, which is water resistant. Each side has a wire window, to allow decent airflow through the cage. The wire is carefully folded over so that there are no sharp edges for little paws to be cut on.

 Picture of a custom built pet rat cage
Inside of custom built enclosures

As we use breeders choice as our substrate, there is a ledge at the front of each enclosure to keep the substrate inside the enclosure.

Each section is 1200mm wide, 600mm deep and 450mm high. This has turned out to be a fantastic size, and we can very comfortably fit six does and four to five bucks per section.

The unit is on castors, and is very easy to move around. Each enclosure has double opening doors, held in place by strong magnets. All door also have wire windows for ventilation.

Picture of a custom built pet rat cage
Tube that connects two levels

Our favourite feature is the tubes that connect the levels. The top two and bottom two enclosures are connected using these tubes. Each tube has a screw on cap so that each level can be used separately when required.

The tubes have grooves cut into them on the underside for the rats to use at footholds. We have found that the adult does can just squeeze past each other, but the adult bucks have to made a decision as to who is going to reverse!

We provide Wodent Wheels for our ratties, with the exception of our old boys as they have decided in their old age to use it solely for peeing in! Plumbing tubes, hammocks and wooden chews are always provided. The underside of each enclosure has wire attached, so that hammocks, peg baskets and toys can be easily hung.

Other toys are rotated to keep things interesting. Our rats enjoy playing with plastic balls, especially when food We are always on the look out for new things that will entertain our ratties. Dollar shops are usually a treasure trove of potential rattie toys. See our rat toys page for more suggestions.

Picture of a custom built pet rat cage
August using the tube to move between levels

We also provide a litter tray in each enclosure. Despite once being very good at using their litter tray, our old boys have decided that they have now earned the luxury of pooing whereever they please, but our girls and younger boys use their litter trays religiously with only the odd raisin elsewhere.

Our rats thoroughly enjoy their custom enclosures, and we find them very easy to clean and maintain. If you live in the Brisbane area and are interested in having a custom cage built for your furry friends, please contact us.