Rats are intelligent, mischievous, and social creatures, so they benefit greatly from some playtime. Unlike cats and dogs, who can come right up to you and ask to play, rats usually have their own cage habitats, so you must remember to play with them. Here are a few ideas to keep your rat entertained, exercised, and their brains engaged:

  • Toss your rat! Your rat may enjoy a brief aerial trip onto a soft surface like a couch or a pillow. Be gentle and be attentive to how your rat reacts; if he enjoys it, he may come running back, eager for more.
  • Chase your rat with your hand, and wrestle with him. Scratch his belly, and roll him over – but let your rat win a few times to make sure he's really engaged with the game.
  • Hide treats that your rat enjoys, and let him search for them. You can hide these treats in your hands, in pockets, or in parts of your rat's habitat.
  • Groom your rat, and, in return, let him groom you. Be careful!  He may try to groom your eyebrows, nibble on hangnails, or play with any jewelry you may be wearing.
  • While your rat is on his back, roll him from side to side, and scratch and tickle his belly.
  • Lie down with your rat at eye level, and lightly grind your teeth until he grinds his teeth back at you. (Note: don't grind too hard – rats grind their teeth because their teeth keep growing throughout their lives, and they need to wear them down. You don't.)
  • Let your rat share in your everyday activities – set aside a bit of food at mealtimes, let your rat curl up on you when you're reading, or climb all over your hands while you're on the computer.

Enjoy your time with your little friend, and be sure they have plenty of stimulation and social time for optimum health!