Pet Rats/looking for the easiest cleaning options
I would like to purchase a Martins cage R695 or R680 for 2-3 young unneutered male rats from a shop. (since theres no other place to purchase them where I live)
The cleaning issue is very important for us since we live in a small caravan with 3 kids and my wife is expecting...(we love them ratties and are willing to sacrifice some room for there companionship)
1. Which cage is easiest to clean in your opinion?
2. Which carpeting/bedding/e-z mats are best for rats and easy to clean? (or any other options that u can offer)
3. Will my future pet rats chew on hammocks etc, or is it to early to know without purchasing them first?
4. Any playpen ideas for human/rat interaction with very little space in our house? (I was looking into the Grrreat Wall but they don't ship to my land)
First of all, with rats, bigger (total floor space) is always better.
The pans are the same size on both (and the 699 as well, which I have, which is five ft tall). The most noticeable difference between the two is that the 680 is only two feet tall --a pretty bare minimum-- whereas the 695 is three feet tall, which is big enough for them to play. Having something 3 ft tall is not more awkward than two feet, in my book; in terms of fitting it somewhere to wash it, like balancing it in the bathtub, it is also about the same. With the two doors it may be easier to clean the 695, but the one door on the 680 is larger (which, however, makes it harder to block curious rats from escaping from when you open it).
You must get the powder coated. It is so much easier to clean.
Of course there are more floors in the larger one and, crucially, the 695 has a full floor in the middle. That is where Martins is better than some other brands which only have ramps and shelves. There are plenty of places to hang hammocks and toys, and place hideys.
I use plastic embroidery canvas for my floors. It lets enough of the urine through that it doesn't build up to cause bumblefoot, like plastic shelves do; and keeps the poops easy to vacuum out. If you use litter in the bottom, you will find it barely gets dirty. The plastic canvas is sized like paper and easy to cut, and comes in bright colors if you like. You attach it with tie-downs (small zip ties) *loosely* so you can still get the scissors through the loops to cut it off. Then it is easy to cut off, soak in vinegar and water, rinses, let dry, and reuse. Buy enough to cover the floor twice plus-- twice, so you can swap sets without waiting for them to dry, and plus, because they will probably chew the edges and some of the plastic will need to be replaced. With this method I only put the whole cage in the bathtub every other time; as long as you don't wait too long, you can just do a little wipe with vinegar water on the grid floors when you remove the plastic to wash it the other times.
You won't know if you have chewers until they start to chew. However, you can dramatically lower the cost of accessories in general by reading some tips I can direct you to in my Facebook group Rats and Mice are Awesome:
Our document Cage Accessory Ideas has low and no cost ideas for everything that goes in a cage, as well as DIY instructions for hammocks and other toys, and a discussion on how to make durable hammocks:
Many of our members make and sell custom hammocks and other accessories, and some are definitely willing to sell in bulk (for some reason I don't see my friend Lyn Ackley here, but she will definitely give you a good price on several sets; ask for her):
And the Cage Setups album is an awesome testament to and source of inspiration for many rat cages all over:
Lastly, playpens. It is too bad that you can't get a Grrreat Wall! That is what I use. Not even if they ship it quite slowly?
There are a lot of ways to make your own pens, besides buying the ones with vertical bars that you can get in several places. You can simply use cardboard. You may be able to buy something similar to the plastic of the Grrreat Wall at a hardware store. This is a topic we should have in our Cage Accessory Ideas document. Come to the group and we can collect ideas.
Have fun with your happy little creatures!!
Squeaks n giggles,