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I had a decent sized rat cage but got fed up of sticking my arm through the small opening trying to clean out the cage and fix on hammocks and cage accessories. I also wanted to provide my three girls a bit more room as on the odd day I don't have time to let them free range for very long I wanted a cage that offer plenty of room. After reading lots of reviews on the internet I decided on the Explorer by Liberta. It's a huge size of H 159cm x W 63cm x L 93cm so make sure you have plenty of room for it.
The cage arrived 2 days after ordering on a Sunday which I was very impressed with, it arrived in too large boxes which where quite heavy. Putting the cage together it very straight forward (although the instructions leave a lot to be desired) there are only 24 bolts for the whole thing. We started off from the bottom and work up, we did have a little problem slotting on the top section as one of the holes in the bottom tube was slightly misshaped, my hubby just bent it out a fraction and we managed to prise it in. I think you could manage on your own but a second pair of hands is helpful when putting the sides together to help keep the shape. The cage comes with two plastic trays one for each floor and two shelves which have a removable plastic cover which is attached by the flip paper clips, the shelves hook onto the side of the cage. There are also three sets of ladders one is for in-between the floors the other two are for off the shelves. The ladder between the floors did slip out to start with as didn't really have a hook to keep it on, so we have attached with a plastic tie wrap. We also received two hammocks which I expected to be of poor quality but are pretty decent and are still in one piece after being used a few times and washed.
As my girls had so much more space I decided to rescue a couple more ratties, and end up with 4 more. I think personally I would keep it to 6 or 7 as I love watching them have space to ping about and more rats means more cleaning !!! But there is plenty of room for 10.
I did notice after a few days the doors where quite noisy as when the rats climb up it moves a fraction on the bolt. I have fixed this by putting a couple of sticky magnets behind the doors so it keeps them nice and snug.
Another thing to be a little wary of is that some females like to wee outside the cage so you can end up with it running down the bars and also the tray are not very deep so if the rats have a substrate to dig in it can end up all over the floor others have put in a plastic under bed storage box (unfortunately mine don't have any substrate in the cage as one rattie has bad allergy's to everything!!!) Cleaning the cage is a piece of cake as you can get right into the back corners to give it a thorough clean when needed.
I also make sure the hole between floors has a hammock over it to ensure none of the rats can fall from top to bottom possibly injuring them.
Some people have had issues with the vertical bars but I've had no problems attaching things and none of the ratties even the youngsters have had problems climbing. The only thing with the vertical bars I find it that a stray tail pokes out which amuses my dogs no end hihi The bar spacing is also small enough to accomodate young female rats.
All in all I think the cage is excellent value for money, I paid £139.99 including delivery and will provide plenty of space for your rattie family and I would recommend to anyone looking for a cage of this size.
I have only recently this year become a rat owner but they have made a big impact on me and I would always have them as pets as they are very intelligent, fun, social rodents. I've had gerbils and hamsters in the past but rats are on a different level. When walking into the room where their cage is they often come out to greet me and love nothing more than to spend time riding around on your shoulder or in my pockets. They all have learnt their names and will play chase with my hands, one of my girls loves to lick me to death. Rats do have a bad press for being dirty and spread disease but they are nothing like this.
Rats should be kept in single sex groups unless you are breeding (which should only be done with lots of consideration to ensure the health and wellbeing of the rats) they are very social animals and need company.
Its important to ensure they have a large cage as they do spend a lot of time in here, if you have females the bar spacing is an important consideration as they can get through very small gaps, I personally wouldn't have anything larger than 1.50cm, ideally 1cm. Their cage needs to have plenty of things to climb in, on and over these can be made from simple everyday items like old socks, trouser legs, cardboard boxes or you can purchase hammocks, cosy fabric boxes but be prepared most rats like to make them their own usually chewing a new entrance/exit. Rats respiratory systems are sensitive so you need to because on the litter/bedding material used they need something which doesn't produce dust so no sawdust, I firstly used towels but found they rats burrowed under it so now I use sheets of newspaper you can buy the paper in littler which looks like cat litter but I get my papers for free and its easy to roll it up every other day and replace. Rats cages only smell when they need cleaning so I find a quick clear out every other day is enough to prevent the smell being a problem. All rats need time to free range obviously the longer the better but at least 1 hour per day this can be done in a rat proof room (basically somewhere they can't nibble anything they are not meant to) or you can buy/make a solid wall playpen beware more rats can easily just 2 - 3 feet to they can't be left unattended in the playpens.
I feed my rats on a home made diet of rat food, pasta, various sugar free cereals, dried meal worms, monkey nuts, baby rusks, dried dog food. I make this up about once every 3 months and give them a bowl each time its empty. They are also fed a bowl of my tea, cous cous, fresh meat, fresh fruit/veg, toast and as treats chocolate drops. The more variety the better.
The more common problem for rats is respiratory infections this is usually shown with a rattly chest, sneezing and brown discharge from the eyes and nose. Its important to get a rat seen quickly as being so small they can go down hill fast. A lot of vets recommend putting the antibiotics in their water but I found giving it mixed into baby food was better as I knew they where getting it all. I also give my rats Echinacea & goldenseal in their meal a few days each month as it seems to help boost their immune system. As rats age females can also suffer with tumours. A rats life expectancy is around 2 years.
Ive only own one GSD so far in my life and I can say its been an honor I can't put into words what it is about the breed that I love so much there just seems to be a connection. When my husband wanted to get a GSD to keep our lab company during the day I was a little nervous as they are large dogs and I knew I would be doing all the walking. Unfortuantley I didn't have a clue when we bought him about any health checks and what the main problems within the breed are and we bought him from a back yard breeder. His temprement with us is wonderful he really is the soppiest dog and is very well behaved waiting on his chair to be stroke when you get in from work and giving sloppy kisses on request. Hes also good a guarding the house giving a nice warning bark when needed but not too much to wind up the neighbours. Unfortunatley Zak was bit by another dog when he was small and we received so bad advice from a previous vet so hes not as good with strange dogs as I would like him to be but has improved greatly with training. They are very easy to train and pick thongs up very quickly. The main problems with the breed is the instability of some dogs in the back legs, my lad suffers with this and has always been very wobbly. I hope I always will have a shep in my life but will do better back ground checks on the breeder this time.
Ever since I was young I wanted a dog and when I moved out my partners dog came to live with us, Henrys a very sociable dog who does love company either from another dog or people. My youngest Labrador Bella, entered our lives 5 years ago and boy did she change things. We already had a German Shephard and our male Labrador but we didn't realise Bella came from working lines, this basically means shes a sleek, speedy girl who needs to use her brain to tire her out as not amount of exercise seems to (we did a 12 mile walk and she was still bombing around like no tomorrow). We have completed the good citizen scheme, bronze, silver and gold and started competing in agility about 2 years ago. She might not be as quick as a collie but she'll give them a good run for their money and enjoys barking at me the whole way around. My other Labrador Henry is 11 and a half but seems to think hes still 2, his eyes and hearing might be starting to fade and has a bit of athritus but for a dog his age hes still going strong. The key for long life in this breed is to ensure they don't put on too much weight as they are terribly greedy (they chewed through a cupboard door to get into the sack of food!!) The best thing to sum up a lab is fun loving with a great zest for life who fit into a family very well.