Rat Cage Questions - SRS & DCN Comparison

By Small Furries - June 13, 2019




How much space do my rats require?

Each breed of animal requires a different amount of space, and by UK law, depending on his or her weight, they also have a different set of requirements too!

For example, a rat that weighs between 50 and 150 grams must have a minimum floor area of 150 cm2 and a height of 18cm per animal when housed in groups.

If you have to house a lone rat for some reason, they will need a minimum floor area of 500 cm2 and a height of 18 cm.

The only situations you will find a lone rat:

-The other rats of the mischief have passed away and the owner doesn't wish to get anymore
-The rat is very ill and needs to be away from other rats to prevent the spread of disease
-The rat has a new wound and you need to keep him away from the other animals so they don't interrupt the healing process
-The rat is aggressive and you have tried every possible way to introduce him to other rats
-The rat is new and he is in quarantine for 2 weeks before introductions

How big should the bar spacing be?

Cage bar spacing should be no bigger than 2cm for adult rats and 1cm, if not smaller for young rats. I personally have my main cage and small Ferplast hamster cage for new babies as the bar spacing is very small!

What Material should it be made from?

The best material for rat cages is treated metal with a Quartz Hammertone finish, this material cannot be chewed by rats and does not rust ( unless left outside or in the rain ).

Plastic Cages can be easily chewed through and are harder to remove smell if left for too long. Some plastic cages are fine for rats, as long as the top half is bars but if possible, buy a treated metal cage and it will last you a very long time.

What shape should the cage be?

Cages should always be taller rather than wider, this is because they love to climb and be as high up as possible. Having a tall cage means you can fill it with hammocks, branches, ropes and ladders easily and still have ledges and levels and a large floor space at the bottom.

What Types of cages should I avoid?

Bird Cages can seem a perfect choice for a rat cage, they are tall and are usually made from metal but they rarely have decent locking systems or big doors and can be impossible to clean at times. I used to have a beautiful cream and turquoise birdcage but it did not come with levels, I had to make my own from wood, which then proved impossible to properly clean and the doors could just about fit my arm through so it ended up being a waste of money and I had to purchase a different cage.

Cheap cages are usually have a plastic bottom, they are very small and the bars on the cage are vertical instead of horizontal. Whilst these cages are fine for a first time cage if you ate only housing a couple of rats, you may think about purchasing something more expensive if you plan on keeping rats for a long period of time, they will last you the entire time if cleaned and looked after properly.

Rats should never be kept in aquariums or plastic box cages as the lack of ventilation can cause serious health issues. It is much easier to just buy a cage! 

Never leave an open wire floor in any animals cage, it can cause serious health issues, injure their feet, and just imagine having to balance on those wires all day? Always ensure a plastic tray is down and then fill with things that will make their feet cosy.

What can I fill my cage with?

You can literally give most things to rats and they will find a way to use it, whether it be as a bed, as a platform to sit and watch you or as a weapon to fling around the cage when they are hyped up! Like all animals, it’s best not to give them plastics but cardboard, paper and anything organic is perfect! Rats allow you to recycle many everyday items and turn them into your rat’s new favourite toy! For example, my three girls currently have a castle I have built out of old wine boxes! Every week I clean them out, I replace the wine boxes with new ones!




Other things to include in your cage are feeding dispensers, or trays, water bottles (are best source of water due to water contamination in bowls) and of course their little potties! 


Some people have the whole bottom level with litter and the top half just fleece. Many people use running wheels, but every time I have tried all they do is poop in them! If you plan to get a wheel for your rat, ensure its large enough so that when they are running, their tails are not bending up and causing them long-term damage.

I use an Eco Friendly Recycled Dust Extracted Shredded Cardboard Bedding! (Bit of a mouthful!) The main thing to remember when purchasing bedding is that there is as little dust as possible - so wood shavings are normally not a good idea - as this can also cause respiratory problems in rats and to avoid pine and cedar bedding as it can cause complications with the liver. Recommended bedding includes shredded paper, pellets and fleece. 


Many people cover their cages in fleece, it is nice for the rat’s toes and it is so aesthetic for us to look at but I am not lucky enough to have been blessed with a rat that does not chew. I actually think it is a myth, and these people take the fleece down after the photo! My fleece literally lasts 24 hours and it is demolished, ready for little legs to be trapped in it! Therefore, I just used bedding, everywhere. Nevertheless, that has not to say don't try fleece, everyone's rats are different and you will find something that works for both you and the rats, but is it worth all that extra washing?


What do I do with a second hand cage before I let my rats in it?

It is always best to clean anything second hand and especially with animals. Using a strong disinfectant like anigene can ensure the cage is sterile before you let your rats near it, make sure to use boiling hot water and scrub down every surface, including the bars.

What are the most popular ( and best quality) cage brands?



  • Savic Royale Suite
  • Savic Royale Suite XL
  • Double Critter Nation
  • Single Critter Nation
  • Ferret Nation
  • Feisty Ferret Cage


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My two favourite, and in my opinion, best cages are the Savic Royale Suite and The Critter Nation. Below is a chart comparing the positives of both cages, I have also reviewed both cages for you to read and work out which one could be best for you! There is not much difference between the two , one is American and one is British and they are both just as good as each other.


Savic Royale Suite
Critter Nation
Big Doors
Yes
Yes
Sturdy Locks
Yes
Yes
Small Bar Spacing
Yes
Yes
Vertical Bars
Yes
Yes
Anti-Turf Barriers
Yes
NO
Fold Up Ladder
Yes
Yes
Levels and Ladders
Yes
Yes
Fleece Friendly
NO
Yes
Wheels
Yes
Yes
Purchase Single
NO
Yes
XL Version
Yes
NO


Savic Royale Suite Review
Price: £200-300

The Savic Royale is the UK version of the American Double Critter Nation. It has the same dimensions and is about the same size and made from the same material, both cages have extremely sturdy locks on them.

Four Huge Front doors allow you to open the entire front of the cage and make cleaning extremely easy. This cage can house around 10 Rats comfortably, although some people argue it can technically house more, it is down to you and what you feel is comfortable for your animals. The cage itself is easy to put together and take apart but you may need another person to balance the walls in place as you screw them in.

Anti-Turf Barriers are barriers that are built into the cage, they prevents bedding from being turfed all over the floor (that is why I call it an anti-turf barrier!) and although some still finds a way out, it does a better job than a cage without one. The bars on this cage are all horizontal, meaning anything can be hung from them and the rats can use the sides to get up and down the cage.

The Savic Royale Suite can be split in half and used separately as two different cages, because of its fold up ladder , or kept together and just closed off half way. The ladder can be used to prevent rats coming into the area you are cleaning (they are very nosey!), or it could be used to house entire males and females separately. It also comes with two smaller separate levels and ladder, which can be placed at different heights in the cage.

It is set on wheels and is raised off the ground, leaving a huge storage space underneath. The Savic Royale Suite cannot be added onto, but they also sell a Savic Royale Suite XL Cage that is slightly wider and instead of having an open space under the cage, this space has also been used as part of the cage, making it technically taller without adding to the height of it.

Main Features 
  • o    extra-large luxury small animal cage
  • o    recommended for rats,ferrets,chinchillas,degus and squirrels
  • o    extra spacious, 2 levels
  • o    possible to make 2 separate cages or a single large cage
  • o    height adjustable platforms
  • o    horizontal wire allows your pet to climb
  • o    extra-large doors provide easy access
  • o    protective rims on all panels to keep food, dirt, etc. inside the cage
  • o    with 4 wheels, two of which with brake
  • o    extra storage space below the cage

Critter Nation Review
Price:  £200-300

As mentioned before the Double Critter Nation is roughly the same size as the Savic Royale Suite, but it can come in two sections.  You can purchase just the Single Critter Nation, which is a large cage but does not have any height to it. If you reside in the UK, it can be almost impossible to get one over here and can end up quite expensive. However, there are people who have paid the extra and are selling them second hand so they can be found.

The way the critter nation has been designed means that you can start with a single critter nation, buy more, and add them on, meaning you can make the cage any shape, and any size! It also has a fold up ramp to separate the cage into sections and four huge front doors for easy cleaning. It does not come with anti-turf barriers but they can be purchased separately along with litter trays for the bottom of the cage.

This cage also comes with two separate levels that can positioned at different levels and the entire cage has horizontal bars too as well as a sturdy locking system. It can comfortable house around 10 rats again, but depending on the size of active level of your rats, you may need to keep more or less.

The Critter Nation is hard to set up, it is a very sturdy cage so everything fits in place perfectly (although many people have had them come down warped) but you may need a hammer and a friend to get it there! Many people are able to use Fleece with the Critter Nation because it can be tucked underneath the plastic trays and levels.

Main Features
  • Safe, secure interlocking panels
  • Full-width double doors provide maximum accessibility for easy cleaning and feeding
  • Wide-expanse shelf and full-width plastic pan floor provide maximum play area
  • Appropriately angled ramps with Happy Feet Ramp covers specifically designed for pet safety
  • Swing-up locking ramps in Model 162 and Model 163 only – secure sections for cage cleaning, critter feeding, and safely separating critters
  • Removable “less mess” shelves are leak-proof, height-adjustable, and have multiple attach points for accessories such as hammocks, tubes, and toys
  • Critter-proof dual-locking door latches provide secure, easy, one-handed operation
  • ½-inch horizontal bar spacing allows your critters to easily climb around their Critter Nation® habitat
  • Sturdy square-tube frame and wire construction for maximum critter security
  • Gray Quartz Hammertone finish – attractive and durable, blends well with any décor
  • Easily manoeuvrable stand with locking casters raises cage to convenient height and provides storage space


Hopefully this article helps you decide which cage is best for you, and if you're here because you're stuck between the Savic Royale and the Critter Nation, you have been able to make a decision
!
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Small Furrier 2019 Extended Diploma in Animal Management

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References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/
http://www.ratbehavior.org
http://www.ratfanclub.org/

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