My girl rats chew EVERYTHING! Everytime I get them a new bed, they chew it all to shreds, then I feel like a jerk because they have to sleep on the ripped apart shreds while they wait for me to repair it. Well, I got sick of sewing, and spending money on fluffy chew toys, so I figured out how to make super durable loft beds. They turned out to be washable, no sew, and their little ratty teeth can’t ruin them! WIN! They are now their favorite spot to sleep.
Here’s how i made them:
I bought 4 of these in the dollar section of Target. They are made out of metal mesh. I got them because I can cut through them with wire cutters, but they are still metal, not chewable plastic. I’m sure any similar basket will work.
1. Use jewelry wire cutters to snip out a circle in the boxes, just big enough to put the shower curtain hoops in. Make sure no sharp edges are sticking out.
See the holes?
2. Stick those shower curtain hoops in. I got weird shaped ones. They seem to be super easy to use, but i’m sure that any would work.
3. Cut two tiny holes into a square piece of fabric you chose. The square should be big enough to fill the box, plus have some overhang, so your precious babies aren’t laying on metal. I love this fabric. It’s the softest, fluffiest stuff I have ever seen, and it doesn’t fray. Thread those holes through the shower curtains. This will hold your fabric in the bed, which I quickly learned was a necessity, as the first thing they did was kick out the fabric.
4. Last step is to hang them. I stretched the bottom and top of each ring around as many bars as I could. This keeps the baskets really sturdy.
(who are obviously very patient, and fully trust my carpentry skills)
TaaDaa!! You’re Welcome, my little rattie girls!
EXTRA TIP: I cut a few extra squares of fabric, so when they wet the bed, which happens sometimes (ok, all the time), I just pull out the fabric in there, replace it with the backup, and toss the grungy one in the washer. Worst case scenario, they will chew the fabric. At least I will only have to cut a little square of fabric with two holes, instead of sewing and re-stuffing beds every few days.
In addition to being a rat Mom, I am a photographer on the side. I used to do fashion photography, and I currently focus more on portrait photography, featuring newborns and families. I will admit that photographing rats is a huge challenge for me, however, as I have taken more and more photos of my rats, I have aquired some methods that I feel work better than others, and I hope they might help others. Here they are:
1. Treats! – we all know that rats are motivated by food, so this is a no-brainer, plus, dont forget how precious rats are when they are eating…I can’t stand how cute it is to see them holding their snack in their hands, nibbling away.
2. Natural Light– This is always best, so set your scene near a bright window, and you are bound to get some great photos. The harsh light of flash photography tends to take away from the natural beauty of the moment, and your beautiful pets. Choose the brightest room in to house, and go to the window. It’s best to position yourself between the window and the rat, so that you get his best side: the side that is facing the light. If you are on the other side of him, you will likely get a handsome silhouette, which is equally adorable, but won’t highlight his features.
3. Did I mention Light?– The biggest problem that people encounter when photographing ratties is that they end up blurry. If you don’t have plenty of light, your camera compensates by opening the shutter for a long time, to let more light in. This results in anything that is not perfectly still being blurry. To fix this, I recommend putting your camera on the action setting, and using lots and lots of light. You can always easily brighten a photo in an editing program, but you can’t fix motion blur.
4. Get on your Subject’s Level- or bring them to you. I often put my rats on their climbing post to take pictures. It’s like a cat tree…well, don’t tell them this, but it is a cat tree. It keeps them from moving around too much, and more importantly, it gets me right in their cute little rattie faces. While rats are cute from every angle, the eyes are the most important part of any portrait. Focus the crosshairs of your camera on their eyes, and you can’t take a bad photo.
5. Think about their personality- If they are active, give them toys to play with, and catch them in their element. If they are a master at cuddling, capture their lazy side. Whether you are photographing pets or people, the best, and most cherished photos are usually the ones that remind you of the subject’s true personality. We have all seen those cheesy smiles, and silly props. It’s bad enough that we have to take these photos at school growing up, don’t make your rats a victim of this rediculous practice.
6. HAVE FUN! If you and your rats aren’t having fun during picture time, take a break, or even save the pictures for a time of day when they are in a mood that is better for picture taking (they are more lazy during the day, and more active at night). Don’t force it.
Meet Wrinkles and Bailey!
These brothers are our newest rescue babies. They were rescued from a very sad situation by a wonderful person, named Hilary. She did all of the hard work for us, by saving them, nursing them back to health, teaching them that humans are not all bad, and getting them used to The Good Life. Sorry everyone, I know they are beautiful, but they are going to stay here with us. We will be sure to update you all on their progress, though!
I have gotten many messages from people concerned that I have listed myself as a breeder and rescue. I have made a decision that I will not be breeding rats.
I have yet to intentionally breed rats. I have a long story, that I hope isn’t too boring, but here goes. Almost a year ago, my fiance got a few ball pythons as pets. Of course, that meant getting some rats. He went to a local feeder breeder and got some rats. Some were males, some were females. Our snakes didn’t eat them all, so they stayed around. I immeditely fell in love with these two, and went out to buy a big cage for them, bought proper food, and fed them treats. I told my fiance that they were my pets, not food. He also loved them, as many snake owners often do, and so after having the snakes for just about 2 months, we decided that they weren’t for us.
We did however, keep the rats. In the meantime, the girl had gotten pregnant. I separated them and decided to try to find homes for the babies. We did, with no trouble, and I wanted to breed rats.
In December, we got our dog, Zoe from a kill shelter, that also had rats. Until then, I did not realize that there were so many rats needing homes. I decided to start rescuing instead. I have not changed the information about breeding, though I did not intentionally breed any rats. I am now removing the breeding information from my website.
If you are looking for babies, I do take in pregnant females, who people got as pets, not realizing that they were already pregnant as well as accidental pregnancies, and I have quite a bit of experience with pregnant mommy rats now. However, I always have plenty of wonderful full grown rats who need homes as well.
Thank you all for your comments, and your support.