Instructables
This cage is is based on the "grotto" style rat cage. It coast me about $150 excluding food supplies. I'm a busy collage student living in a two bedroom condo with my mother who isn't exactly a rat enthusiast. So to keep the cage clutter and coast down I made my own three story rat book shelf. I bought a press board book shelf for $70 assembled it and spar varnished it to make it urine proof. Then a carpenter friend of mine made me three separate doors to attach. I used a sewing machine and a grommet puncher to make three different types of rat hammocks installed them by using spare wood with hooks attached to the top of each unit. This cage is slightly cramped but very useful, it takes me all of ten minutes to clean on a daily basis. Let me know if you have any questions.
 
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Step 1: Obtain your rats!

Spend five months breeding 20 pet rats of your choice, mine are for the most part hairless dumbos, those two are thel great grandfathers! There names are pimple and pimples twin.

Step 2: Buy supplies

Buy press board book shelf from wall-mart or ware have you.

List of things I used.
1. Yard stick
2. Sewing machine
3. Miter box and saw
4. Wood glue
5. Grommet and grommet puncher
6. Wire grid not wire mesh.
7. Hooks
8. Water bottles and food bowls
9. Spar varnish
10. Paper shredder

Step 3: Be a rat enthusiast!

Spend two days putting together cage and organizing it perfectly. Insert rats and watch as in 15 minutes they climb sniff chew pee and defecate on everything in site to mark there territory.

How to clean the cage:

Remove the rats and the food and water bowls, vacuum out the shredded paper with a wet dry shop vacuum then wipe down surface area with animal safe disinfectant. Restock bookshelf with shredded paper new food and water and old rats.
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Skye21711 year ago
This is sick. Maybe like 6 rats tops.
moonchylde4 years ago
This is brilliant. I'm probably going to adapt this as a cage for the two ferrets that were "dumped" on my doorstep tonight... the guy couldn't keep them, and he brought everything we needed, minus a cage.

If this works, I may end up with a ferret cage on one side of the couch, and a rat colony cage on the other....
Its really irritating that Dumbos rexes and other special breeds of pet rat isnt availble in sweden. and they are really cute :) Oh and the instructable was good aswell :)
Yeah, it is annoying, but normal pet rats are still really cute
Also, does anybody know where you can find the grids and stuff for building a normal cage?
Try hardware stores, look for wire closet shelving and accessories. A few of those and some zip-ties, and you got a cage.
This is a very nice instructional. To cut down on costs, why not go to a thrift store and get second hand shelving units? I have seen some very nice tv cabinets and shelving units turned into beautiful bird aviaries (finches) and animal condos. What is "spar varnish"? I have never heard of this. I liked the idea of adding glass (or plexiglass) along the edge to keep some of the shreddings in. I use shreddings for my animal bedding, as well. It's the best use I've found yet for junk mail!! (But, I still like to send them all their crap back in the envelope that they have to pay for!!! LOL) Thanks for your work here.
no matter how much stuff you put in to try to keep the bedding in...they will find a way to throw it at you... lol
and are cramped in their container... they need more room
mivzi5 years ago
Damn that's a lot of rats! They're adorable, though. I have a buddy who has a hairless and it feels like petting a grandpa. (: He's a sweetie though. I have a cage about that size for my 2 girls, are yours separated for a reason? Or are they able to climb from layer to layer? Mine is about that size, but they are able to climb from the bottom shelf all the way to the top one (there are 6 total). Maybe I should post an instructable on mine?
superkagome5 years ago
hey this is great! thanks for poting it! i think when i build mine i might but a lining of glass inside on each shelf to keep the shavings from falling out
Ph3nomin0n6 years ago
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEW RATS!!! just kidding, nice instructable
chimp8 years ago
good idea, but personally i don't think this is suitable for them as there is nowhere to climb and the space still' feels too small for the amount of ratties kept inside. i hope they get to run around outside a lot. mine live free range and have a mini garden and water area to play in. it cost next to nothing. &......not to menton the ehics of breeding an animal that really should have fur. at least you love & care for them. go on, build an extension.....
I just bought 2 dwarf hamsters and will be getting 2- 3 year old degu's next week. How do you make a free range cage? would like to have a water area and mini garden that could be opened and closed for each breed to take turns using.
seperate doors with non-chewable partitions/ 2 houses stuck together. Copious use of latches. *Thick perspex would be good & wipeable. You can get it cut to size - has to be with a special blade that remains wet whilst it cuts so you cannae DIY!
Unless you get a tile saw, which you can rent and it waters the material as you cut...
there are lots of good sites out there (will post later) but the main things to avoid are: 1) do not use wood like mdf/ chipboard/ particleboard. Its meshed with toxic glues and is bad bad bad. for humans too. 2) dust free bedding (not woodchip) depending on how much space you have you can have a tiered cage (have the garden/water area below - or utilise the layout of your room. e.g i used to have rat-friendly plants & herbs + water in my interior balcony. the ratties would jump up, dig, mess around and then scuttle back to their house when they wanted to sleep/eat/rest. worked really well. animals will also form their own 'safe' pathways. dunno if there is enough room to write about how to build the perfect animal area.....
Pyrocantha6 years ago
WOW! Who knew that so much conflict could come from a person trying to find space for her lovely rats? We sometimes just have to do the best we can and the rest of people can deal or don't. I like it and thing that I may visit lowes because of it. I have 1 rat, but if my daughter moves back home, that will be two more. I have never petted a hairless rat and saw my fist one in person last weekend at the pet store. The "penis with feet" comment almost made me cry, I laughed so hard! Much love to you and the rats you love and saved!
Wow--20 rats? I don't think I could handle having that many. One or two would be plenty for me! Cool project, though--I bet this would be great for pygmy rabbits, too!
sassy8girl6 years ago
i love hairless rats actually all hairless animals they look amazing i never see them in england though
parsephoni6 years ago
You did an awesome job on this, but it just isn't properly ventilated enough for pet rats to live in. Rats need a ventilated cage all the way around (except bottom) because their urine is high in ammonia and can cause respiratory problems without proper ventilation. It looks great, though! And, people, if you don't like rats, why are you even reading this?? STFU and GTFO this page!
It's a lovely cage, the idea is definitely a sound one! As a rat owner, however, I notice that you're keeping an awful lot of rats for such a tight space... Any chance of your little buddies getting some more room? A general guideline for health and happiness is to figure in 2 cubic feet per rat. My 3 boys are housed in a cage that's about 2/3 of that size, with tunnels, hiding spots, toys and a litter pan. Even with cagemates, rats are easily bored, and thrive on figuring things out!
Well like I said, I live in a small place for now, its just me and my mom, 1 dog 14 doves, 3 parrots and 30 or so rats. It's crowded but I promise I'm not a animal horder. The cage is on the small side but all compartments only have 3-4 rats each and they have tons of free range time. However many of them are just lazy boys and spend there time huddled in a rat pile sleeping in one spot. I added hammocks and ladders to doubel the useable space. But this cage was just the first prototype. My future cages will be much better. WE just need to move out to a biger place, a place not as exenicive as hawaii.
huge rat pile = huge pile of hairless penises *giggle*

Where do you put them when you're cleaning the house out for them?
I'm sorry, but is it that kind to compare a cute little animals such as a rat to a penis besides i don't think any of you would like it!
Whilst I am aware what's done is done, and can't be undone etc, it strikes me it would have been wiser to have not bred so many rats knowing full well you didn't have the space to provide a larger cage. Having typed that, it is a lovely cage, and would be lovelier if you had it for non breeding rats (i.e. same sex or neutered) with connections between the levels. I wonder if one reason the boys seem lazy is because they don't have enough room to climb around, and it is lethargy rather than lazyness.
RudimentaryThinker (author)  queerpuppy7 years ago
The male rats are lazy and or lethargic because they have health problems mostly due to old age and the strand of hairless that they are. I actually should have clarified the intractable; I have about three rats per section. (In the image every one was checking out the new cage, but not every one lives in it) I do not regret having so many rats ( about 10) and do believe that I am a good rat owner. All of my litters are purposely breed, and the other half of my colony are rescued rats that had no ware else to go. So yes we are a little cramped in the condo, actually I'm the one cramped ;) I have the bed, they have 2 cages and the rest of the room when I'm home.
Yeah male rats are the snugglers, but three rats to on section that is very small you need a 2ftx2ftx2ft cage for a pair of rats...just me saying you should get bigger cages.
"actually I'm the one cramped" LOL. I know that feeling!
oh how sweet i got 149 animals most are rats i breed them and i have another two litters on their way.
ratgirl6 years ago
If i may suggest i'm a breeder for rats so just to make it a little more fun would be too put some ropes so they can climb. And some other toys I have an instructable all about a fun game for your rats.
I made my own cage, also based off of robin's grotto. It had adequate space for a max. of five rats (I only had one, and she was old when we got her, so it wasn't long before there were none). I suggest using towels for bedding, instead of chips, carefresh, whatever. You save oodles of money, and it's healthier for the rats.
Yea, I made this instructable when I first built the cage,not after it was actually in use, there will be a new one after I finish my second one. There is much room for improvement. I use shreded paper instead because it keeps the budget down and does not cause allergys in my rats and is echo friendly.
PikesPeak7 years ago
Welcome to Willard Condiminium Estates.
cold_fusion8 years ago
Yeah, as I was saying (and confirmed by that picture) those are some ugly rats (not that there are any non-ugly rats).
austin8 years ago
slides
ve2vfd8 years ago
By the way, it would be REAL cool to have hatches between the levels with slides and ladders for the rats to move up and down! :)
RudimentaryThinker (author)  ve2vfd8 years ago
Yes it would but, I have the boys on the top and the girls on the bottom and a breeding pair in the middle.
ve2vfd8 years ago
It's a pretty cool idea and a very nice execution, but aren't you afraid the rats will chew right thru the wood to get out? I've seen mice and hampsters chew thru particle board like it was cookies... apparently they like getting stoned on the glue holding the boards together.
RudimentaryThinker (author)  ve2vfd8 years ago
There was no gule used in the construction of the cage just in attaching the spare wood with hooks to the top of the cage. I thought about he chewing part before hand and decided to make the frame of the doors out of teek a really hard wood, and then frame the frame with soft ply wood that they could chew threw if they wannted to and then I could replace it in say five months or so, but in general my rats are'nt big chewers and I have toys for them to chew on so I don't think it'll be a problem.
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