Large Paper Rolls
From Karen Robbins
If you work in an office that uses the large rolls of paper (the kind a large printer or plotter uses), have
your coworkers save the empty tubes. These make great rat toys when cut to size. If you cut them a little shorter,
then the mice enjoy them as well and can make some elaborate nests with all the strips they can shred from the tube.
Also, those large tubes that you can mail posters/plans/etc. in, work just as well.
More Important Tips
From Monica Jung, La Quinta, CA
- Check for gaps under the edge of the toe-kick of all bathroom and kitchen cabinets or your pet can get into the
chemicals and cleaning supplies inside the cupboards through the gap in the toe-kick.
- Watch the clothes dryer vent pipe (an escape route), if you have an indoor laundry room.
- If you use granular pest control products outside your home, be cautious not to track the granules into the house
on the soles of your shoes. This also goes for granular lawn foods and fertilizers. If you use pesticide spray for an
unwanted insect indoors, retrieve the insect remains before your rodent finds it.
- Always wash your hands immediately before picking up your rodent, even if your hands are “clean.”
Whatever is on your hands, especially lotion or bacteria, ends up on their coat and ultimately in their stomach.
- The same warning for children as to plastic bags applies equally to rodents.
- Rodents will eat things that we do not consider as “edibles,” and we are then surprised when we
find the evidence and pray it was not toxic. They might sculpt your candles and bar soap and chew holes in cosmetic
bottles and medications. No plastic container is beyond the power of curious teeth. If you have found empty bottles,
suspect that your rat has punctured them. My rat was able to jump from the floor to the bathroom counter top in one
vault! She liked anything with a “minty” and sweet flavor like toothpaste. I have a large scented candle
that has beautiful oak leaf cluster designs sculpted by my rat. She indulged her artistic pursuits for at least a
month before the evidence was discovered. She would climb to the dining room table, and later to a high shelf to do
her artwork (quietly and secretly) after she had been caught in the act of sculpting it on the dining room table.
- If you are not the original occupant of your home, consider the possibility that the previous resident may have
used rodent poisons in hidden areas and your pet might find residues, especially in the kitchen under the cabinet
If you keep houseplants, put them outside until you can determine beyond any doubt which ones are safe, including
their potting soil.
If you are gone during the day, be sure you know the way the sun travels around your house throughout the day.
A pet could be very uncomfortable, overheated, or even blinded if the mid-afternoon sun streams through a window for a
few hours, though the area otherwise appears cool and shaded in the morning and evening. Rodents do not sunbathe like
dogs or cats!
- Keep bathroom doors closed if possible (not always effective if they are not flush with the floor), or one day
you may hear a “splash” when your pet discovers what that cold, white thing is. The seat of the toilet
does not give the curious pet the expected footing for a safe landing. It was less than two days from the time I first
thought of the possibility until I heard the splash and the scrambling paws! Who knows, this may be the best way yet
to win the “seat war” with the male residents of your happy home! “Save the rat,” may save arguments.
These risks are obvious, but until an incident occurs, we hope not to have to wish we had thought of them before. There
is a split camp on controlled versus free-running rodents and usually our first rat is the one that gets the most freedom.
This is when we are least likely to suspect these potential hazards, as veteran rodent keepers later learn to anticipate
and prevent. I hope that sharing our misadventures can prevent mishaps. They make great stories but could have been sad
disasters without the help we had from angels.
ENJOY AND PROTECT YOUR PET
From Nichole Royer
- When bathing rats, trim their nails first, not last. It saves on scratched arms.
- Remove water bottles from cages while you travel, they will leak while in a car. Give your critters a slice of orange or apple for the ride.
- Bring each of your animals in separate small “health check” carriers—even if you have larger
community cages for them. This way, if one of your critters does not pass the health check, it won’t disqualify
all of its cage mates!
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