Harnesses and Pens: Extreme Danger
Everyone's seen them. Rat harnesses look fun, but pose a threat to rats. First of all, if you put on the rat harness the wrong way or it has been designed poorly so it feels uncomfortable, your rat will want to escape the harness's feeling on his body. He's likely to chew or squeeze out, leaving you with no more rat. Predators like birds of prey or feral cats and dogs could scare your rat as well, causing him to panic and get twisted in the harness. So it's closing for the harness idea, but what about other playtime solutions, like a playpen?
A rat owner who knows rats well doesn't have to use their own experience with pet rats to know that all rats are great climbers! Obviously, any open-top playpen would be too easy for an intelligent rat. Closed-top playpens look safe, but even a sturdy one couldn't keep out unwanted predators, dangerous parasites, and worst of all, heat. Besides, for a few minutes the fresh air would seem nice to a rat, but it would quickly get boring and very hot. An ideal way to let your rat get a bit of fresh air is to carry his cage onto a clean, covered deck or patio and sit out with him for no more than 10 minutes. Never take him out of the cage even for a minute, as any predator could spook him.
Can I keep my rat cage outdoors?
Inexperienced, first-time rat owners may think keeping a rat outdoors is okay. As many people think all rabbits and guinea pigs belong outdoors, rats are put into this concept. Although rabbits and guinea pigs can normally survive outside,(although the boredom they encounter is considered cruelty) rats will become sick and/or the first few days of outdoor living.
Not only will your rat(s) need attention and human contact, he will also get sick from parasites, heat exhaustion, and exposure to wild rodents, which he could transfer diseases from and pass them to other people or domestic animals. A rat outdoors is no fun for the owner because they will only go out to clean the cage and give him food and water, and the owner will not get to experience the benefits of a great pet rat. Any animal relegated to a hutch or outdoor confinement will be bored and act boring towards the owner. Besides, how can you create fun mazes, train your rat to do cool tricks, and relax in front of the TV with your rat if he lives outside? A true rat owner wouldn't keep a rat outside to die, but he or she would want to create a great environment for the rat and help him have the best 3-4 years he lives up to. No form of outdoor living can top the tremendous love a rat can offer when living inside with his family. Rats don't live that long, do its up to you to help him live his life to the fullest. Be sure to keep your pet rat indoors when having him as a pet. There really is no point in getting a rat if he is left outdoors, because all you are doing is keeping him alive if he's left outside. Be a good pet owner and keep all pet rats indoors only. You will be rewarded with a happy rat that can fully experience the best life you can give him.