DIY Toys For Pet Rats

diy toys for rats

Rats are lively and compassionate companions for pet lovers. They love to play with their owner and often by themselves too. As they are intelligent animals, they appreciate something they can do while in their cage and in play time out of cage too. So here are some DIY toys for rats, which you can easily do at home and that don´t break the wallet.

Keep in mind, it is best to give your rats a variety of toys – both store bought and homemade. The reason being that although rats will go through (read: destroy!) both kind of toys, it will take them usually quite a while longer to go through store bought toys and that way if after cleaning rat´s cage if you decide to throw out some homemade toys (like cardboard boxes that they made a den with and destroyed to pieces) they will have some longer standing toys still left in their cage that they can play with.

Safe Materials For Rats

Make sure that all the toys you give them are made rom safe materials. The toys purchased from a pet store and are made for rats, are usually fine. For DIY toys for rats you want to make sure there are no glues (that are toxic), no small pieces (that could be swallowed and can cause intestinal obstruction), so strings or ropes (that can cause strangulation) and no toxic materials (that can cause harm when chewed and swallowed).

DIY Toys For Rats

The best toys for rats are simple things you might already have in hand in your home. These kind of toys won´t cost a lot of money (of any!) and are easily replaced because of that. These include tissue paper, shredded paper, empty toilet rolls and cardboard boxes big and small.

Other things that can be used as makeshift toys include wood branches, fleece (fabric), PCV pipes and all natural digging box.

DIY Paper Toys

Tissue paper, paper towel are great for shredding, as rats love to shred paper. They also like to make a little nest out paper. Brown paper lunch bags are also great for the same reason. You can use crumbled up paper as a small ball.

Thinner cardboard boxes like cereal boxes are great for a hiding into. These can be used in their cage and also outside of the cage in play time. Rats usually love to hide in those and slowly (or rather fast!) destroy those to pieces. Since these options are cheap or free, these can be replaced often.

It is also possible to hide some treats in an empty toilet roll and wrap it in tissue paper, so that it will be fun for the rats to play with and try to get to treat inside.

DIY Wood Toys

Wood can be an excellent toy to have in their cage as it serves to purposes: wood branches are a great addition to the cage and fun to climb on and chewing on wood helps to keep their teeth in good condition. Make sure only to provide them wood that is not toxic, that means wood that is not painted, vanished or otherwise treated. When providing natural wood branches, make sure to pick only from those types of trees that are non-toxic to rats.

Safe wood types for rats include:

  • Apple
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Blackberry
  • Blackcurrant
  • Coconut shell (can be purchased from the pet shop)
  • Cottonwood
  • Crabapple
  • Dogwood
  • Hawthorn
  • Hazelnut
  • Linden
  • Manzanita
  • Mulberry
  • Pear
  • Pine (kiln-dried white only)
  • Poplar
  • Quince
  • Rose hip
  • Sycamore

DIY Other Types of Toys

PVC plastic pipes are another great option for DIY toys. You can purchase these at the hardware store and connect these to each other so they´ll have tunnels in their cage. As a bonus, PVC plastic is quite sturdy and will last longer.

Fleece fabric is another great option. Fleece can be easily cut and made into a makeshift swing or tunnel without much sewing skills. It is also great because fleece doesn´t have strings coming out of the fabric, that could potentially cause a health hazard for the rats, and therefore it is an excellent option. Fleece swings and toys can also be washed, so they´ll last longer.

DIY Natural Digging Box

Rats usually love to play in the digging box. The digging box is essentially a shallow plastic container containing soil where some grains have been planted. Make sure to use only chemical free potting soil, without fertilizers and additives like vermiculite. Plant some wheat grass and let it sprout and grow a bit, then let your rats play and dig and eat the sprouts they find. I´m sure your rats will love it!

To keep the mess contained it helps to not water the digging box for a a day or two before offering it to the rats and laying a large plastic, tablecloth or newspapers under and all around the box.


Want to learn more, why not check out these articles

5 Essential Things Rats Need In Their Cage

What Supplies Do I Need For A Rat?