This article is from the Holiday 1997 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Nichole Royer
With the holidays fast approaching, it’s natural to want to include our furry friends in the festivities and buy them gifts. You can add some extra fun and excitement to your gift giving by wrapping your critters’ presents and letting them unwrap them.
Holiday gift wrap is colorful and festive, but it can be very dangerous for our pets. They can get tangled up in ribbons, stuck to tape, and I’m never sure how safe the ink in the paper is. Besides this, wrapping paper is thin and doesn’t pose much challenge or fun for the average rat or mouse.
“BR Nathan” owned by John Kirby enjoying his Christmas present.
A safe and fun, though I admit not very colorful alternative, is to use a plain brown paper lunch sack or grocery bag. Simply put the gift in the bag, roll down the top tightly, and set the bag in your critters’ cage. Your rats and mice will enjoy ripping the bag to shreds (or figuring out how to open the top) so that they can get their gift out.
Another good method of wrapping gifts is a cardboard box. I prefer those that do not have any printing on them, since I’m always afraid of toxic ink. Also, don’t use boxes which are held together by staples.
Rats in particular like gifts in boxes, since they pose quite a challenge. My rats each have a distinctive way of getting their gift out. Some work on opening the lid, while others attack the corners with their teeth. One of my boys simply sits back and watches (supervises) until the other rats get the box open. He then moseys in and helps himself to his present.
For added fun, combine these two methods of wrapping. Put the present in a box, then put the box in a paper bag. This is sure to provide hours of ripping and tearing.
If plain brown bags and boxes are too drab for you, you can use non-toxic marking pens to brighten up the bag. Just be forewarned, these pens are water based. If your critter drags a piece of colored paper under their water bottle, then lays on it, you may end up with a festively decorated rat or mouse!