Domestic rats are highly personable and intelligent creatures with a perky nature.
Just like a dog, these adorable puffballs are smart enough to learn techniques, tricks, and even play fetch.
With a dynamic personality, the rats may turn to laziness and depression if not supplied with adequate toys. Apart from toys, exercise wheels are also an excellent source of indulging your pet in physical and mental activity.
The best rat wheels for your furball
Before we move on to the best rat toys, we’re giving you a rundown of the best rat wheels for your furball. I’d always advise rat owners to buy a wheel before any other toy as it’s an all-time favorite for rats.
The top 4
|Best Wheels for Rats||Easy to clean||Durability||Quiet|
|Wodent Wheel Senior with Nail-o-Matic||Yes||Yes||Yes|
| Silent Runner||Yes||No||Yes|
| Chin Spin Wheel||Yes||Yes||Yes|
A rat wheel would undoubtedly go well in a cage. Like other small pets, rats shouldn’t be allowed to roam freely in the house.
If you’re looking for the best rat cages, check out this article.
1. Wodent Wheel Senior PLUS Nail-O-Matic
By SunCoast Sugar Gliders
- Dimensions: 7 x 12.4 x 7.8 Inches
- Product Weight: 1 pound
- Diameter: 11 Inches
- Wodent wheel senior is a plastic vertical wheel which makes your rat’s exercise time quiet and safe.
- The hard plastic is more durable and prevents problems like rusting.
- The Nail-o-Matic is removable, which makes it easy to use.
- The complete coverage of axle keeps your rat safe.
- Both the Wheel and Nail-o-Matic are washable. Thus it can be maintained conveniently.
- The smooth platform protects your rat’s soft feet pads.
- The Nail-o-Matic has to be replaced periodically to keep nail trimming efficiently.
- Expensive than wire wheels.
2. Silent Spinner
- Dimensions: 7 x 12 x 14 Inches
- Product Weight: 68 pounds
- Diameter: 12 Inches
- It has no wire spacing, which makes it entirely safe for your little friend.
- It is very spacious and has proper ventilation.
- It is very durable and is guaranteed to outlast your pet of managed with care.
- The colors have been reported to fade and lose vibrancy after some time.
- Being a solid wheel, it is difficult to clean if your rodent’s not litter trained.
3. Silent Runner
By Exotic Nutrition
- Dimensions: 12 x 5 x 13.5 Inches
- Product Weight: 2 pounds
- Diameter: 12 Inches
- The axle-free design allows your fluffy friend to exercise without the danger of a tail or spine injury.
- The metal stand provides stability.
- The smooth surface without pinch areas and facility of disassembling make cleaning easy.
- Dual ball bearings technology makes the wheel very quiet and silent.
- Cage attachment allows convenience to the rat owner.
- Plastic can be easily chewed by rats and other pets, causing severe health issues.
- Unopen designing discourages adequate ventilation.
4. Rodent – Wodent Wheel
- Dimensions: 21 x 13 x 7 Inches
- Product Weight: 2 pounds
- Diameter: 12 Inches
- The Wodent wheel is easy to clean as it can be disassembled into parts for thorough cleaning.
- The product offers enjoyable exercise time that too quietly in comparison to traditional wire wheels.
- The stable base allows heavy pets to run safely without the gear of the wheel toppling over.
- It is more sturdy than other plastic wheels.
- It is a very large wheel with an overall height of 13 inches.
- The wheel is not designed to be attached to a cage, and even if done through tactics, it requires a very large cage.
- Not suitable for sugar gliders as it can cause tail-axle injury.
5. Chin Spin Wheel
By Quality Cage Crafters
- Dimensions: 15 x 8 x 15 Inches
- Product Weight: 16 pounds
- Diameter: 15 Inches
- Usage of wood and metal avoids your pet from getting hurt on wire wheel or spoke.
- The silver vein coating provides a firm grip to your pet.
- Is multi-purpose and can be used for rats, hamsters, etc.
- The 15” diameter provides the small pets plenty of space to run and stretch.
- The wheel is comparatively silent than other wheels.
- It is heavy and large, which requires a large cage only.
- The price is much higher than the regular plastic ones.
6. Run-About Ball
- Dimensions: 13 x 13.6 x 14.5 Inches
- Product Weight: 15pounds
- Diameter: 13 Inches
- Allows easy movement of your pet.
- It is much easier to clean and maintain.
- An efficient way to keep your rat safe while you clean its house.
- The product is unable to withstand many bumps into things and the lid pops out.
- The scratching results in a foggy unclear plastic ball after some time.
The best rat toys in the market
So, now that we’ve reviewed the best rat wheels, it’s time to present our list of the best rat toys for your furball.
Rat toys are my fall-back option in case a rat doesn’t like spending time on exercise wheels. But it’s totally fine if you’d like to buy both at the same time for your rat.
The top 4
|Toys for rats|| Chewable||Safe|| Easy Movement|
|Nut Knot Nibbler||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Fun Pet Balls||Yes||Yes||Yes|
1. Nut Knot Nibbler
- Dimensions: 1 x 3.1 x 3.1 Inches
- Product Weight: 4 ounces
- Material: Natural wood with almond nut
- A multiple purpose toy, reducing the need to buy numerous types of toys.
- It can be used for all kinds of small animals like rats, rabbits etc.
- The usage of natural wood makes it safe for your pet’s body.
- It’s small and light-weight structure makes carrying it to different places easier.
- The toy stimulates physical as well as mental activity.
- It has been reported that the current version comes apart easily and the pet doesn’t have to work much. Thus, losing it’s appeal.
- There have been concerns regarding the usage of wooden balls instead of almond nuts in the new version which may prove hazardous for pet’s health.
2. Run-About Exercise Ball
- Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 7 Inches
- Product Weight: 12 ounces
- Material: Plastic
- Helps in burning away excess energy in your pet, keeping it healthy.
- Offers safe play time while the owner cleans the pet’s house.
- Its smooth surface allows easy movement.
- Encourages your pet to explore, learn, and grow confident.
- The latch system is not strong enough, and the lid pops off periodically.
- The ball may develop cracks and fractures if bumped into walls frequently.
- The tiny slits allow animal waste to slip out and create a mess.
3. Crittertrail Lazy Lookout Accessory Kit
- Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 17.5 Inches
- Product Weight: 4 pounds
- Material: Plastic
- It can be connected to the Crittertail series to expand and recreate your rat’s little play area.
- It can be easily disassembled and assembled.
- It serves as a sleeping area as well as a playing area.
- The tower falls off if not secured tightly with ties and latches.
4. Perfect Chews
- Dimensions: 5 x 2.1 x 1.2 Inches
- Product Weight: 64 ounces
- Material: Wood
- The crunchy texture helps in trimming and cleaning your pet’s teeth with ease.
- It is low priced. Thus, it can be replaced without burdening your pocket.
- It can be hanged to nearly every cage.
- The colors start to fade and peel off after sometime.
5. Willow Branch Ball
By Ware Manufacturing
- Dimensions: 4 x 4 x 4 Inches
- Product Weight: 8 ounces
- Material: Natural Willow Branch
- A healthy chewable item which keeps your pet’s teeth trimmed and clean.
- Being small and light, the ball can be easily moved by your tiny fellow.
- It is made of wood. Thus, it has high durability and sturdiness.
- Concerns have arisen due to the strange odor that accompanies the ball.
- Incidents, where pets have swallowed the ball, have been reported.
6. Fun Pet Balls
- Dimensions: 7 x 2.7 x 2.4 Inches
- Product Weight: 2 ounces
- Material: Natural cornhusk, Seagrass, Water hyacinth, and Rattan
- Fun Pet Balls keep your pet’s chewing desire satisfied.
- Indulges animals in long safe hours of play.
- Easy to move around and can be discarded when it is completely chewed.
- Animals might choke on to the small marbles and balls inside.
- They fall apart easily and are not durable.
7. Molar sticks
- Dimensions: 1 x 7 x 0.5 Inches
- Product Weight: 44 ounces
- Material: Sweet Bamboo, Apple, Timothy Stick
- Keeps your pet’s teeth trimmed and prevents inflammation.
- Apple sticks are a source of vitamin c.
- Sweet Bamboo prevents excessive weight gain and keeps the rodent in shape.
- It also improves the immune system and results in increased calcium absorption as well as retention.
- The cellulose present in Timothy sticks ensures efficient intestinal function and improves the digestive system.
- Your pet may or may not like it.
- The sticks are not labeled in the pack.
- The sticks quality may deteriorate if exposed to light and moisture.
The need for rat toys
An effective way to ensure an ideal lifestyle for your rat is providing it with toys.
Toys provide with the following benefits:
- Mental stimulation
- Physical activity
Toys are a source of mental stimulation because they use brain skills like analysis, strategy and critical thinking even in animals.
Presence of ample toys around your rat encourages it to interact and take an interest in its surroundings.
This keeps its brain occupied. Thus experiences of unhealthy feelings is minimized. Also, your rat stays safe from depression and anxiety.
Toys provide your rat with an opportunity to learn and grow, thus, creating a positive impact on the brain.
Playing around with toys also increases your rat’s physical activity which prevents the accumulation of excess unhealthy fats.
As a result, your rat is less likely to develop health issues such as obesity and it’s body remains in shape.
Types of toys for rats
The variation of toys you can offer your rat is countless, and each is even more interesting than the previous. Primarily, this vast variation can be categorized into:
- Shredding Toys
- Chewing Toys
- Climbing Toys
- Foraging Toys
- Push and Carry Toys
Despite the long list, there are many multipurpose toys available at the market or even in the form of your everyday household items. For example, a toilet paper roll serves as a shredding and chewing toy also.
Being nibblers, rats particularly enjoy chewing and shredding things around. Chewing and shredding toys not only protects your house but wears down rat’s incisors too. However, it must be ensured that no poisoning material such as glue is present on the toys. Things such as cardboard boxes, old phone books, and paper bags can be used for the purpose. Fresh, washed and dried branches picked from pollution less place can also be used as chew toys. Consider the following species:
Anything taller or bigger than your rat can be made into a climbing toy such as a ladder, ropes, and blocks. It is suggested to place these toys in the cage where they are less likely to fall and get hurt.
Foraging toys refer to those toys which stimulate the rat’s survival instincts. Rats are naturally found in the wild where they have to hunt; thus, searching for food comes in their genes.
If foraging toys are not made available, then your rat is likely to become lazy. These toys can be made at home easily using cardboard tubes and placing treats in the center.
Rats love pushing, pulling, and carrying toys along with their adventures. Any toy which is small, light weighted and durable can be used as a push and carry toy. It should be made of edible material so that choking hazard is prevented.
Rat Toys: DIY
Rats are lovable tiny creatures with an active and sporty nature. Though a complex variety of toys is available at the market, you can always opt a much cheaper, environmentally friendly, and creative method that is DIY.
Household items that can be recycled and reused to make rat toys are:
- Plastic boxes
- PVC pipes
- Pea-fishing pool
Though paper can be plainly used as a shredding toy, you can always wrap it around some of the rat’s favorite treat or toy and watch it retrieve. Another way is to fill a small bucket with magazine and paper shreds.
Cardboard is perhaps the most useful item while doing DIY due to the countless possibilities it opens up.
You can utilize different sizes of cardboard boxes and tape them to build your DIY rat playhouse.
You can also add in a few challenges through cardboard tubes connecting one box to another. Try out making climbing toys by stacking up and taping durable boxes.
Rats are intelligent animals and can be taught tricks like jumping up and down the climbing toys.
A small shallow plastic box can be used to make a digging toy. Start by spreading a thick layer of untreated soil and then planting a few plants like wheat grass. Let it grow a bit before offering it your rat to dig and jump at it
PVC pipes without any sharp corners can be made into tunnels and mazes.
There are numerous possibilities to make DIY toys which only requires a bit of creativity and effort.
Whatever toy you make, ensure thoroughly that it is edible and non-toxic if swallowed.
Avoid the use of glue and markers which contain hazardous materials and can be licked by your rat. Try using fleece rather than threads and ropes in your toys which can tangle around organs and cause blockage in the digestive system.
Bonding Games for rats
Pets usually possess an affectionate and lovable behavior towards their owners but they expect the same in return. An effective way to show your love and strengthen your bond is to play games like:
In Peek-a-boo, sit on the same level as your pet and hide behind a table or chair and then reappear after a few seconds. Do this a couple of times so that your rat understands the game.
If your rat moves around excitedly then continue playing. However, if it comes after you then turn it into a game of Hide-and-seek.
Try playing wrestling too by pretending your hand as another rat and with a gentle hand, roll it over and chase after it.
Fascinatingly, rats like being thrown over so try throwing your rat in a gentle manner and from a short distance onto a pile of blankets or on a pillow.
These games not only develop interactive skills in your pet but strengthen your relationship with it. Such games help your pet learn to express without hesitation and to trust on its owner.
Do rats like hammocks? Hammocks are multipurpose things which serve as climbing toys as well as a sleeping area.
Elevated placement and constant swaying provide rats with a climbing challenge which they find interesting and amusing.
Also, hammocks fulfill a rat’s desire to sleep in high and compact spaces. That’s why rats adore hammocks. However, every rat is different, so it’s not guaranteed that yours would love a hammock.
How big does a rat wheel need to be? The size of a rat wheel largely depends on the size of your pet rat. Normally, rats have a 10-inch body with an 8-inch tail.
However, this standard size may vary according to the rat’s background, gender, and health status.
Considering the standard size, it is suggested to use a rat wheel with a 12-inch diameter. Remember that if your rat’s spine does not bend in the rat wheel then it is of appropriate size.
What is meant by “Wheel Tail”? “Wheel tail” is widely known phenomena where it is believed that wheeling makes rat’s tail curved.
Apparently, the phenomena proves to be correct as the rats do have to curl up their tails while wheeling and if this continues for long, the rats develop an unnatural curl.
The impact of wheel tail is a controversial topic where some believe that it causes back pain and health issues. On the other hand, a majority believes that it is harmless and the use of wheels should not be stopped.
It is advisable to use larger wheels to avoid the development of wheel-tail.
Do rats play fight? Yes, rats do play fight with one of the rats playing the dominant role. They usually start by puffing up their fur and then chasing each other. They may pin down or flip over each other.
The game is usually a playful one with rats jumping around the floor with lots of squeaking and noise.
It is absolutely normal, so let the rats fight. However, if you notice any bruises or scratches then it is wiser to stop them and try calming them down.