This article is from the May/June 1995 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Dawn Kozak-Sienko
As long as I have rats I will be on a quest to find the perfect rat toy. I would like to find something that they will love and that will last. If I could only find that one special toy—maybe it would deter them from chewing electrical wire, wood moldings, and the bedroom door. Not to mention my bookshelves, the wooden legs of my desk, and the loveseat I had to throw out at Christmas. (Only the framework of the loveseat remained.)
They aren’t too thrilled with the squiggle ball. I think it scares them. Sometimes it would even look like it would roll into them too hard. The hard cat toy balls with whatever moving around in them are pushed aside. I’m usually tripping all over them. The softer Styrofoam cat toy balls are passed around, and they will drag them back to their house. Sometimes they’re still in one piece, and sometimes they are not. The ferret balls that you can place a treat in are a big hit, but also have their problems. The first being that some pretty nasty fights can break out over who gets that treat in the ball. Another is that it doesn’t last very long. The ball will be chewed apart very fast to get at the treat.
I bought them a little Barbie corvette. Well, it’s actually a big Barbie corvette. They ate the steering wheel off right away. Sometimes they sit on it, but the small rats that can fit under the hood really like it. It’s a great hiding spot, but try to get your rat out if they don’t want to come out! They also had the cars that you roll on the floor and they automatically go a short way. They sure loved the wheels on those cars—they are now wheel-less.
They really love the small stuffed mice available for cats, and haven’t chewed up one yet. I see them dragging it all over the rat room.
Of course all rats love boxes. It’s a good thing I have tons of boxes available at work. I just cut out little doors in each box and they love them. Their favorite box is one about ten inches wide and five feet long. Also, if I throw old magazines on the floor, they will stuff every box in the room with the pages. It takes them quite a while, so the moldings get a break. Toilet paper rolls also work wonders. A few people at work save theirs for me so I always have plenty. Sometimes I will pile up twenty or more toilet paper rolls on the floor and they will spend a lot of time taking each one into their cage.
I also use large fish bowls and large nut jars in their cages. They absolutely love these. There will be from one to six rats in one bowl! This is where they all sleep. I thought it was a dumb idea when someone told my to try them, and when I didn’t, they went out and bought some and made me try them. I haven’t been without fish bowls or nut jars since. Just make sure the bowls are cleaned out often.
I have a rack that I hang old purses and strings of beads from. Some of the girls at work donate their old purses to my gang. (Great friends!) This is another favorite spot for them to sleep or hide in. They really love trying to get the beads off of the rack, as well as some little bells I sometimes string up as well.
They seem to like the wind up chicken I gave them. They haven’t chewed off his feet yet. I’m assuming that is a good sign. They are however, chewing off the wind-up knob!
Last but not least is their favorite game—chase the feather duster. This is a riot for them and for me! I sometimes will have up to eight rats chasing the duster at one time! They love anything with feathers.