Following a near fatal freak accident with our sweet permanent ratty rescue Becky, we decided to produce a short article as to what you need to look out for when keeping small furries – not just ratties.
The following may be a bit harrowing but we feel it is necessary to highlight the dangers that you don’t even think of for your furry friends…
I have always warned people how tatty, holey hammocks can be dangerous to your rat – how many of us have had a ratty that has got his or her leg or a long claw caught in the torn lining and hurt their foot or been left hanging there by a claw?
I always check my hammocks before putting them in the cage and Becky’s one had a tiny hole in it. However, that didn’t stop her having a terrible accident.
One night as I went to feed her, she leapt forward in her hammock to grab her food and got her head stuck in a hole. She struggled which made it worse and in the space of a moment, she was hanging out of the hammock with her head still stuck in the hole.
She was being strangled to death. Blood started pouring from her nose and mouth (the vet later told me it could have been where she bit her tongue or a burst blood vessel). I managed to cut her free after what seemed like ages and she flopped on to her side in her cage.
We quickly put her in a warm box and kept stroking her to stop her going in to shock.
Thankfully, within a few hours she was back to normal. Our nerves didn’t recover that quickly.
No matter how vigilant you are, free roaming rats can get in to all sorts of mischief. Sadly, I have heard of rats being electrocuted and dying when biting through live wires.
A friend left her two boys free roaming in her lounge as she always did and went off to do the washing up. When she came back after literally five minutes, one of the boys had got himself twisted up in the beading of the vertical blinds on a window sill.
She found him panicking trying to get out of the beading and his panic was making it worse. She managed to free him by cutting through the beading and he was very shaken (as was she).
Big Hutch was a year and half old big lump of a rat here at CavyRescue. As he couldn’t climb very high, he had a plastic tube lying in the base of his cage where he liked to chill out sometimes or stash his food.
The end of the tube was slightly gnawed, not a problem, so we thought. However, one day when moving Hutch’s cage slightly whilst he was in there, the tube rolled over and a jagged edge of the tube severed the skin from his tail.
Hutch screamed in pain and there was blood everywhere. The nerves were exposed (imagine the pain he must have been in). We had his tail amputated and Hutch went on to live another 15 months, with no ill effects.
We are all careful when it comes to closing ratty doors (“Mind those noses and toeses”) but now always double check that they are secure following this very sad story.
A little rat managed to open a cage door a teeny wee bit and tried to get out. The poor girl was strangled to death.
Another very distressing story. A lady used to let her rats free range on her sofa and they soon made a home in there by gnawing a little hole (as ratties do). However, this poor ratty managed to get stuck in the springs of the sofa and died.
While rats have more intelligence than the whole of my street put together, when they get excited and play, they have the sense of danger of a two year old child. I have heard several harrowing stories of rats falling to their death from the top of their cage.
Make sure that you put loads and hammocks across your cage so that if a ratty falls, they have a soft landing.