American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the WSSF 2013 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Beginners’ Corner

Cage And Needs Of Hairless Rats; Cage Set-Up For Hairless Rats

By Karen Robbins

Cage And Needs Of Hairless Rats

Emma Lee, Facebook
QI want to know all about Hairless rats because I’m thinking of getting two of them. I know they have some more needs than other rats, so if anyone has ideas for cage set-ups and things like that, please let me know!

Should I keep the Hairless rats in a tank or a cage with wire like my other rats?

AHairless should be housed with furry cagemates. They will get scratched up just by playing with the other rats, and you have to be careful what type of bedding you use as some are very drying to their skin. Make sure the items you use in the cage don’t have any sharp edges on them. Otherwise, they enjoy the same items to play with as other rats. They will eat and drink more so their cage will need to be cleaned more often.

As far as cages, I’ve heard of both being used by breeders and pet owners. Just make sure a wire cage is not in drafts and a large tank is kept very clean with at least a ¼ mesh full wire top for proper ventilation.

Here is some more information on Hairless rats from the AFRMA site:

Hairless Rats
Flaky Rat
Pep-Boy’s Problem
Hairless Rats – Special Care?
Siamese Rats & Hairless Rats
Hairless Rat With A Rash
Bumps on Hairless Rat’s Stomach

Cage Set-Up For Hairless Rats

Alesa Loftis, Facebook
QI have just purchased two 10-week-old Hairless female rats. I am so excited and so are my granddaughters— they are for them too, but will be living with me and my granddaughters will visit. Hopefully, this will be a learning experience for them as well.

I am housing the rats in a 40-gallon-long aquarium and looking for ideas on making this habitat comfortable and entertaining for them. I have purchased the pellet type bedding and a large wheel and put empty tissue boxes with small t-shirts in there for sleep, but I really would appreciate any ideas on how I can better utilize the space I have for them. My husband was going to build some platforms into the tank with plexiglass and make wooden nesting boxes. Is there anything we should know before doing that with Hairless rats? We do not want to put anything in there that could harm their delicate skin.

ATo hang a hammock inside a tank, you can use zip ties to make four small loops through the screen lid around two wooden braces to support the weight of the rats, so the hooks of the hammock hang from the loops. Or you could drill small holes in the plastic framing edge to hang a hammock or other items from.

Rats love boxes—they are cheap, the rats have fun chewing them up, and they are easy to replace. They also enjoy tubes (cardboard, PVC, plastic), toys made for birds (hanging wood toys such as manzanita branches for chewing on, plastic puzzle foraging types—the rats have to work to get treats out of the toy, rope ladder/perch, etc.) or ferrets (tubes, balls). See for photos of tank set-ups with a hammock or wheel attached to the lid. See also our Pet Projects section on the web site for more ideas on fun things to make for your rats. If you rotate the toys weekly, the rats will enjoy them more.

Building removable plexiglass platforms would allow them to utilize some of the space and would be washable; however, they will pee on them, so unless you could make a tray that could hold bedding that would absorb the pee, they will be very messy and the rats would get dirty very quickly. Anything used for rats should be washable (plastic/PVC house/toys/tubes, material hammock/nesting items, metal/plastic wheel, etc.) or disposable (cardboard boxes/tubes, material/paper nesting items, etc.) and be expected to be chewed on.

Wood houses will be chewed and peed on and the wood will absorb the pee and be very hard to clean. Also, if you were to have a mite problem, the mites would live in the crevices of the wood house—it’s best to stick with plastic or cardboard. Don’t forget to freeze your bedding and food to eliminate any possible parasites coming into your house and onto your rats.

Have fun with your new pets! *

Hairless Rat
“Leroy Jethro Gibbs,” a Black Hooded Hairless rat owned by and photo by Holly M. Sherrah, Canada.

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August 13, 2015