How Much Exercise Do Pet Rats Need?

Pet rats are among the cutest and most funny animals you can have in your home. They are surprisingly intelligent, sociable and they really like being around their owners.

Offering your pet rats regular exercise is vital in order to make sure they don’t feel bored or get sick.

Rats need to spend plenty of time outside their cage in order to be happy as well. So, how much exercise do pet rats need?

Typically, pet rats require at least 30 minutes to 1 hour of daily exercise. There are plenty of things you can have your pet rat exercise and play with that will stimulate their body and mind.

Some of those things include running wheels, climbing toys, chew toys, and puzzles to stimulate their mind.

Rats are easy to handle and highly energetic. For this reason, you’ll usually see them exercise for a lot longer than 30 minutes and many times throughout the day.

Playing and exercising are perfect ways for your pet rat to stretch their muscles and interact with you or other rats.

What Happens If Your Pet Rats Don’t Get Enough Exercise?

If you don’t provide your pet rats with some daily exercise, then they will probably develop a mean temperament.

If you only keep one pet rat then it will start to feel lonely, it will not be able to pump its energy into any type of exercise. That can leave them feeling miserable and unhappy.

If your rats feel like they’re trapped in their cage all the time, it’s only natural that they can start to develop antisocial behavior towards you.

They can start to feel isolated and won’t have the appetite to play. If they don’t get enough exercise in some cases, they may even turn hostile against you.

A lack of daily exercise can also make your rats susceptible to health problems, like obesity.

Half-closed eyes, laborious breathing, and increased appetite are among some other common health issues pet rats develop if left unattended and without exercise.

What Activities Can Pet Rats Do To Exercise Their Mind?

Rats are really intelligent and active animals. For this reason, they require plenty of mental stimulation.

You can provide your pets with various activities to exercise their mind. A good idea is to place some ready-made tunnels into your pet’s cage.

You can either place them on the ground or hang them by stainless steel hangers.


Most ready-made PVC tunnels come in a variety of shapes and they allow owners to make a maze.

That will definitely make your pet rats happy since it will allow them to try and find a way out of the maze using their sense of direction. This will help stimulate their mind and require them to focus.

Snack Balls

Another interesting idea is to use a type of snack ball. Snack balls can be filled with small treats and since they have only one opening, your rats will try to find their way to the food.

That will stimulate their senses and it will also make them exercise a bit while trying to figure out the exact spot of the opening.


The use of various problem-solving activities is definitely something every rat owner should try. Particularly those that allow your rat to taste their treats by:

  • Solving a puzzle.
  • Lifting small lids.
  • Using a lever or sliding.

These will allow your pet rats to exercise their mind, along with their body. Pet rats really do enjoy equal amounts of mental and physical exercise.

Ways Your Pet Rats Can Exercise

One of the most widely used ways of offering some exercise to your pet rats is with the help of a running wheel.

Even while you are away, it will enable your pets to spend some quality time running around and tiring themselves out.

Make sure the wheel is big enough for your pet rat and choose one with a solid surface. Wheels are really good for obese rats and it provides a good source of exercise.

Unlike running balls that can make your pets feel trapped inside, running wheels offer your rats the necessary amount of freedom.

Several toys can be placed in a rat’s cage to ensure daily exercise. Rats will normally play with each other so be sure to enrich their cage with some interesting and fascinating toys like:

  • Ropes
  • Tunnels
  • Rolls
  • Play-balls

Apart from letting your rats play on their own, it is important that you play with them as often as you can as well. Open their cage and interact with them.

You can even train your rats to do tricks. Since they are extremely smart animals, they can easily be trained to do different things.

Try to make them jump over obstacles, shake hands, stand up, and sit down when commanded.

Those activities will not only make you feel closer to your pets but can also, make your rats really happy.

If for some reason you only have one rat, you could always offer them a new buddy to play with.

Rats are social and friendly rodents and they get along pretty well with other rats.

They will spend their days playing around, exercising together, and interacting. That means even when you are away they will never feel lonely.

Make Sure Your Rats Keep A Good Diet With Their Exercise

Apart from offering your rats some daily activities and exercise, it is also really important to take care of their nutrition.

Most rats will normally eat about anything, but that doesn’t mean you can neglect their eating habits. Their basic dietary plan can consist of:

  • Lab blocks
  • Lots of vegetables
  • Fruits

Grains, dried oats, sweet potatoes, cereals, and pretzels are also, good choices.

They need a balanced diet plan that’s focused on fresh fruits and vegetables. Too much sugar or fat should be avoided and you should also be careful with the amount of protein your pet rats consume daily.

Ideally, there should be no more than about 18% protein in their daily food intake.

Ensuring that your rats keep a good diet along with their daily exercise is the key to living a healthy life.

Rats are intelligent, energetic, and friendly creatures. They like to interact with other rats and humans, they need regular exercise and proper nutrition.

As a pet rat owner, you should provide your pets with 30 minutes to 1 hour of daily exercise in order to ensure they develop a healthy body and mind.

You should also, take care of your rat’s daily food intake, and most importantly, you need to spend some quality time with your pets.

That way, you can do your part in ensuring that they will lead happy and healthy lives.


Hi, I'm Mason, I've kept small animals as pets since I was 8 years old. I love to learn and talk about them basically every day. Over the years I've adopted small pets like hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs.

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