American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the WSSF 2015 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Beginners’ Corner

Keeping Rats Outside

By Karen Robbins

Alyse Handy, Facebook
Q Anyone ever keep fancy rats outside? I have two females who are totally spoiled, living indoors with me in a giant Ferret habitat; however, I am moving and cannot keep them in my new place, unless outside. There is a large side yard that has been used to house bunnies, so I’m thinking the cage could go out there. I would have to insulate it of course. Any suggestions? I worry about cats, birds, etc., but the cage is wrapped in chicken wire, so it would be impossible for larger animals to get in. I love my ratties and don’t want to rehome them, but I have to move. I just need some ideas, thanks!

A If they would be protected with a roof overhead and preferably side walls, protection from wind and rain, and had houses/nesting material, they should be OK during mild weather. However, during really hot days or if it snows or gets really cold there, they would have to be moved indoors or to a better enclosed/protected area. I’ve known people that keep their rats/mice in covered patios or sheltered areas when they can’t be kept indoors for various reasons, and they do OK as long as it doesn’t get too hot or too cold. Many breeders, especially ones with mice, keep them in sheds and as long as the mice are in solid-sided cages with lots of nesting material, they do fine in cold weather. Using a fan and/or mister system (like used with rabbits and other livestock) also helps with hot weather. Having trees around the area will keep the area shaded and cooler. You can find other ideas to keep rats cool in the Tips for Hot Weather article. You would have to be aware that wild rodents and insects could get on/into the cage (as well as cats and birds like you mentioned may be attracted to them or their food) so having them in an enclosed area would be better. Of course, getting a smaller cage so they could be kept indoors would be another possibility unless pets are not allowed in the house for whatever reason. *

December 30, 2018