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Rat Proofing your house
Rat proofing your house:
Rats love to run around outside of their cages, you will need to designate an area for your rats to play in and make sure it is rat proofed.
What is rat proofing -you ask?
Rat proofing is like child proofing, it is hiding, putting away and decorating so that the environment is safe for your rats, and so that the rats are unable to chew up items that are important to you or expensive items.
What is Free range?
Letting your animal run free out of the cage.
Here are some tips for rat proofing your house for free ranging or free roaming rats:
First rule, Make sure you do not have any rat/mouse traps or poison anywhere in the house! If you do get rid of it immediately and clean the area where it was stored.
Hide all of your wires, not just some of them -ALL of them. Rats love chewing through wires.
Rats enjoy chewing up TV wires, VCR wires, telephones wires, keyboards, computer mouse, speaker wires, basically any wire they can get their teeth on!You can wrap duck tape around your wires to try to detour rats from chewing on them. (Duct tape is rather sticky and the rats don't like it when the tape sticks to their teeth.) (Electrical tape isn't sticky enough to detour chewing.)
You can also try wrapping your wires in towels, simply wrap an appropriate sized towel around your wires and tape it on there. (Beware of fire hazards)
You can also use tubes around your wires to protect them. (PVC tubing, wire tubing they sell at computer stores, old vacuum tubing, etc.)
Some people have suggested running all of your wires on the ceiling, to prevent them from getting chewed.
You can also tack or tie your wires to the wall or put them under pictures or trim. (Beware of fire hazards)
Use spray water bottles to train your rats not to go certain places or chew on certain items. When your rat is chewing on something you don't want them to chew on, Grab them and push them in the opposite direction, spray them with water and say a stern "No."
Make sure if you open a window it has a screen on it with no holes, your rat may get out.
Make sure all doors leading outside are always securely closed, so no rats will escape.
You can also try to put a little pepper into the water in a spray bottle and spray it on carpet or furniture to try to persuade your rats not to go or chew there.
Rats love to make nests and chew up laundry piles on the floor or even in the basket, so try to have your clothes out of reach.
Beware of burrowing rats in laundry piles when putting clothes into the machine, you don't want them getting in there unnoticed.
Rats love to burrow under the blankets on the bed and hide in the blankets that hang onto the floor.
Push blankets that reach the floor under the bed to prevent accidental stepping on a rat sleeping in the blanket.
To prevent rats from chewing on your bedding, remove bedding or cover with bedding they can chew on while they are out.
Put all pills, medicines, lotions, perfumes, make up, soap, super glue, glue, and all other hazardous materials out of reach from the rats, rats are curious and will try to chew through many things, especially items that have a scent.
Keep the toilet seat down to prevent rats from jumping in.
Make sure all your heater & air conditioning vents are in place and cover up any gaps there may be.
Cover up any gaps there may be around drain pipes or under sinks to prevent rats from getting trapped or escaping into the walls.
Some rats will chew through mattress's and/or box springs.
To prevent rats from chewing up the bed you can:
Cover the bottom of the bed with a tight fitted sheet or blanket, it must be tight, if the covering hangs down even a little bit the rat will pull it down and chew a hole.
Cover the bottom with a piece of wood, cardboard or Plexi-glass cut to cover the bottom of the box spring.
Putting rat sleeping areas or doll beds under the bed will also detour the rats from eating your bed if they have one of there own.
Block off under furniture such as under chairs and couches, by either taking off the furniture legs/wheels or making some sort of block. Rats may crawl up in furniture and chew up the stuffing or hide in there and could get injured if they get sat on.
To make cleaning up under chairs and furniture items easier that the rats are allowed to go under, i put towels and small rugs and carpets underneath, so i can easily take them out wash them and replace them. This way the rat mess will not be on the actual carpet or floor.
Block off all holes or cracks in the walls or by the floors to prevent rats from escaping or getting stuck.
You can use cardboard or Plexi-glass to block off areas you don't want your rats getting into.
Example: I use cardboard to keep my rats from going behind my computer desk, freezer, TV, Radios, etc.
Try to have specific rat areas, and teach your rat to know where they are.
Free ranging rats will need bathroom areas, so try to encourage them to go in a certain place. Bathroom training may take some time.
Take items off the floor that could be chewed.
Example: Stuffed animals, paper items, toys & clothes.
Find out what kind of plants you have and make sure they are non toxic. Also make sure if you use any plant chemicals or fertilizers they are non toxic as well. Rats love digging out the dirt in plants and love chewing through leaves. (most of the time my rats, just chew through the leaves and then leave the plant pieces there, they don't eat it just chew it to get it out of there way.)
Try to keep garbage cans out of reach as they love jumping in them and burrowing to the bottom so you don't know they are in there.
Some rats like to run in balls, while others do not, if your rat likes to run in balls, make sure that they will not fall down any stairs or get stuck under furniture. Make sure you close your ball securely as they tend to come open easily.
Beware of the other animals in the house, some large animals like dogs or cats will hurt your rats, and also beware of other small animals such as mice or hamsters as your rat may hurt them.
I put small rugs and towels under all my rat areas (Example: under rat houses and furniture) so the rats don't urinate on the carpet. I can simply wash and change the rugs and towels when needed.
If i want to keep a rat in one room, i close the door and put a carpet square/rug under the door, so they can not get under. (some rats can get in/under/through very small holes!)
If a rat is persistent on trying to go somewhere that you don't want them to go, if possible try rearranging the room to better suit the rats needs.
Do not store food, rat medicines, bedding etc. just outside the rats house or where they can get to them, they might chew their way into them or pull them into the cage.
Rats enjoy eating cigarette butts, so keep ashtrays and packs of cigarettes out of reach.
Beware of your rats, if you are burning candles or incense, you do not want them getting burned.
Rats love to chew off remote control buttons and cordless phone buttons.
They also like to urinate all over them. Try to keep your remotes away from the rats or flipped upside down to protect the buttons.
Do not leave packages of cookies, bags of chips, boxes of crackers or food items unattended, your rats may find them and eat them all which could cause medical problems.
To protect your carpet from getting chewed on and urinated on you can put rugs, carpet squares or towels down. This way your rat will have to chew up the carpet squares or rugs and pull them back before getting to your carpet.
I use carpet squares, towels & rugs under my bed to protect the carpet. It is easy to vacuum up rat messes off of rugs and carpet squares. It is also easy to remove them and throw them in the wash and replace them.
If you have wood trim in your house be aware that the rats may chew on it.
Here is a picture of some of the chewed wood trim in my house, on the floor and in the window. Party is modeling in the window.