Pet stores carry a variety of rat cages, but if you want a customised and more roomy enclosure, you can easily build a wire cage at home for a fraction of the cost.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Plastic storage tub
- 1/2-inch galvanised wire mesh
- J-clip pliers
- Wire cutters
- Small bungee cords
Purchase a plastic storage bin for the base of the cage. Good bins to use are the shallow "under-bed" storage boxes. They are relatively large without taking up too much vertical space.
Measure the dimensions of the inner bottom portion of the storage bin, and cut the four sides out of the wire mesh based on your measurements (the cage can be as tall as you wish). Also cut an additional panel for the top.
Lightly file down the sharp edges of the wire.
Attach all four sides with the J-clips and J-clip pliers. Space the clips no more than 3/4 inches apart to prevent your rats from escaping.
Decide if you would like to add any shelves and ladders using the wire mesh, or if you will use pre-built shelves for your rats. If you choose to add shelves, cut and connect them with the J-clips just as you did the side panels.
Connect the top of the enclosure with J-clips.
Determine the location of the door opening on the cage. Remember that the door should allow full access to the entire cage, and that you should be able to pull the rats out easily. Cut and remove a square of mesh for the door opening, and fold over the exposed wire ends on the cage so you don't scratch yourself or the rats.
Cut a new piece of wire mesh an inch larger on each side than the door opening, and fold over the exposed wire tips around the edges in the same manner as before. This will become the door, and is cut an inch larger on each side to allow an overlapping of mesh on the sides that will not be hinged.
Attach the door to the cage opening using J-clips on only one side. This will allow the door to swing open on a hinge. Small bungee cords, twist ties or galvanised metal springs can all be used to hold the door closed.
Affix the plastic tub to the wire cage using several small bungee cords. Hook one end of a bungee cord to the lip of the plastic tub, and stretch the other end snugly to hook on the cage wire. Repeat on the other three sides. The bungee cords will allow you to easily remove the cage mesh for cleaning the enclosure.
Tips and warnings
- When measuring wire segments for doors, ramps and ladders, you can simply count squares in the mesh to save the time and hassle of measuring and marking with a ruler.
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