Rat Wheels, Tunnels & Balls

When setting up your rat habitat, you may want to include a pet rat wheel for healthy exercise and fun. While rats don’t technically need a wheel in their cage, they often enjoy them quite a lot—just be sure to get the right size and type for your rat. Chewy carries some of the best rat exercise wheels available, along with a variety of rolling rat ball toys and rat tunnel play tubes for added workout options.

Small animal wheels come in two main styles: the traditional ferris wheel-shaped design and the flatter, saucer-style wheels. Traditional wheels come in a variety of sizes, styles and materials, and you can choose from free-standing or cage mounted designs, solid-surface or wire construction and sizes ranging from small to large. The best wheel for your rat will be big enough to let him run without arching his back, with a solid or very fine mesh surface that protects his feet and tail from the injuries that wire bars can cause. Saucer or treadmill-style wheels provide a naturally flatter and usually solid running surface for good running posture and foot comfort, but you’ll still need to make sure the wheel is big enough for your rat to run without twisting. Whichever style you pick, make sure to get a quiet rat wheel to avoid disruptive squeaking while you’re trying to relax or sleep.

Exercise balls are another way to help your rat get in some healthy running, but many rats dislike these balls, so make sure your rat isn’t distressed by it when you put him in there. The best rat balls feature transparent construction and enough space that your rat doesn’t have to contort while running and risk back or tail injury—be sure to get one that’s sized for rats and not smaller rodents. Tunnels are another way you can provide space for your rats to run, and the best rat tunnels for sale will be wide enough to allow airflow and made of a chew-resistant, easy-to-clean material. Look for modular designs that let you create a maze in your cage or freestanding styles that work for hide and seek.

You can sometimes find rat cages that come equipped with a wheel and/or tunnels, or create a custom set up with accessories you’ve carefully chosen. Encourage other forms of exercise by providing rat toys for your pet along with cool rat hideouts, climbing toys and other things he can use as a jungle gym in his cage. Rat chew toys will provide a good workout for your rodent’s teeth, and toys that dispense rat treats will help foster lots of exciting play. Whatever rat supplies you need to keep your ratty friend happy and healthy, you can find them at Chewy.com. Shop our great pet rat wheel selection and start building the perfect play environment for your pet!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do rats use exercise wheels?

Rats do use exercise wheels and they seem to enjoy them very much. Wheels can provide an excellent source of entertainment and healthy exercise for your rat. Look for a wheel that’s sturdy, made of chew-resistant material and quiet, so all that excited running won’t disturb you. Choose a wheel with a solid surface that’s adequately sized for your rat. Avoid wheels with metal bars or mesh running surfaces, as these can hurt your rat’s feet and tail.

How big should a rat wheel be?

A traditional ferris-style rat wheel should be at least 12 inches in diameter for most rats, although smaller females and dwarf rats can use one that’s closer to 11 inches. Larger rats may need a wheel as large as 15 inches in diameter, depending on their size. Choose a wheel that lets your rat run without arching his back or curling his tail too much to avoid injuries and nerve damage. Flying saucer-style wheels will avoid the back-arching issue, but they still need to be large enough that your rat can run comfortably without twisting.

Can pet rats run in a ball?

Rats can run in a ball, but many of them dislike it and there are many reasons to choose another source of exercise for your pet. Even an exercise ball that’s large enough for rats to run without bending can pose injury risks from tail bending and collisions with furniture, and the whole experience can be very disorienting for rats. Consider alternatives like tunnels, wheels, hammocks or even supervised playpen play to give your rats extra exercise.

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