This article is from the Nov/Dec 1995 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Nichole Royer
A while back while cleaning my mouse cages I found myself contemplating the toilet paper tubes I was giving them for tunnels. I had enough tubes to last me many months for my mice, and I realized there just had to be a way to make them into a great rat toy. Thus the rat piñata was born.
Toilet paper tube
*I have used grain mix, Cherrios, corn flakes, dog food, and dried fruit all with success.
My rats love this toy. They think it's Christmas and they get to open their present, which is of course half the fun. It takes them about ten minutes to chew it open and get at the food, and in the process they carry it and chase it all over their cage. They seem to enjoy the challenge of working for their treat, get some exercise while they are at it, and provide me with lots of fun watching them.
Considering the low cost and effort involved, I rate this as one of the best “behavior enrichment” toys I have used with my rats. There are two drawbacks. One is the mess you are left with after the rats are done playing with their piñata (chewed paper everywhere). The other is that it can cause aggression within some groups of rats. The first time I gave one to my boys they had a squabble over it, but since then there has been no problem. I would suggest watching closely the first time to see how your rats react.