Hey world of Instructables, its been awhile.
So this past weekend we took a trip to Country max, hands down one of my favorite places ever to visit. We needed filters for the fish tank and drops for the turtle tank. We made our normal rounds to check out all the new critters before getting the supplies that we needed, and while we were grabbing our stuff my son and his girlfriend bought a rat. Well her parents weren't thrilled so guess where the rat is living. Not that I mind at all, the problem began when the home I had for my rats wouldn't work because this was a baby and we had jumbo rats prior to this. He literally walked right out of the cage. So in a tote he lived for the night while I scoured through the basement and shed to figure out what we had that I could possibly transform into a home for this little guy. From there we came up with this Instructable to show everyone that you don't need tons of money or anything fancy to build an awesome customized home for any little creature.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
For the floor of his new home we found a flat piece of wood that was being thrown out by a local business. For the four corners to support this home we found some 2x4's left over from other projects, a few random tiles from finishing the bathroom floor. For the "walls" we had left over chicken wire from last summer when we built the chicken coop. Then we just needed the tools:
Tin snips to cut the chicken wire
Step 2: Preparing the Floor
This step was actually pretty easy we are using a thin board as the bottom and the tiles from the bathroom were self stick so we lined them up to the edge and tiled the bottom. This will protect the wood from any shenanigans the rat has up its sleeve. We learned from the first few we had that rats are very playful and tend to be naughty, dumping their water dishes, dragging their paper or food into their water and peeing everywhere there isn't paper laid down. So tiling the bottom will make regular clean up a breeze.
Step 3: Preparing the 4 Corners
We had some scrap 2x4s in the basement, and I decided we were gonna go big and cut these 2x4's into 8 2ft pieces for the corners of the frame for our rats home. We used two for each corner and screwed three screws in them top middle and bottom to secure the pieces. We continued this process for all four corners of this home.
Step 4: Setting the Four Corners
With a screw and washer we set each corner in place. We put the screw in from the bottom of the board and used the washer as extra support. We continued this process for all four corners.
A few tips:
You will be able to put the screw in easier if you pre-drill the hole. We used a drill bit that is a little smaller then the tip of the screw.
Also at this point it was more then helpful and necessary to have helping hands. I had two kids helping not only keep that corner lined up but steady with the frame of the bottom so that when you pre drill and then screw it in it all goes in right.
Step 5: Putting Up the Walls
We had a roll of chicken wire leftover from housing the chickens over the summer so we used that to build the walls. We wrapped it around the edges and used the tin snips to cut it where we needed it. Once we had it measured out we began to staple it to the corner pieces then to the bottom board.
Step 6: Securing the Top
Once you have the chicken wire secure around the outside we took the extra chicken wire at the top and folded it over to make the L shape . Then we placed the pre measured top on it and started to secure it with leftover metal wire. we went along the edge of only one side to make a hinged side. On the back two posts we stapled the chicken wire to the posts in the same fashion as we did to make the walls.
Step 7: Finale
Your home is now complete and we introduced Turbo the rat to his new home. He loved the space to run.
Some things to add:
Once your home is complete you can add to it with the same concept of reusing trash. For the bedding we used old flyers from the local store. The card board tube came from a large roll of plastic from a local factory, right down to what you feed your new baby rat. We feed ours scraps veggies, fruit, pretzels, nuts. If its healthy for you its healthy for them.
This project from beginning to end is pretty awesome, everything can be customized based on your trash supplies and you can continue to support your rat with trash from the bedding to the scraps they eat. They are an easy pet to maintain, while they are so smart and so lovable.