What Is The Perfect Wheel Size For My Pet Rat?

If you have pet rats, you’re certainly aware of the need to have wheels for them. So, the question that might be running through your mind is how big does a pet rat wheel need to be?

In short, a small rat needs a wheel that is 11 inches in diameter, a medium-sized rat needs a wheel that is 12 inches in diameter, and a large-sized rat needs a wheel that is at least 15 inches in diameter.

So if you’re thinking about finding a wheel for your pet rat, it’s important for you to know that there is a lot of thought that should go into making that decision.

So, how big the wheel actually matters.

In this post, you can learn more about how big a pet rats wheel needs to be, the best wheel size for pet rats of different sizes, and the materials that can be used for their wheels.

Why Does Wheel Size Matter?

Now that you have decided to get a wheel for your pet rat, does rat wheel size matter? This is an important question because the safety, health, and comfort of your pet rat depend on it.

All rats come in different sizes, and that means you have to get a wheel that fits the size of your rat.

For example, if your rat is large, you definitely shouldn’t buy it a small wheel. It would be so uncomfortable and can turn into a major safety concern over time.

So how big or small the wheel needs to be should depend on the size of the rat.

Let’s first talk about small wheels. If you are not careful, a small wheel can be a serious mistake. This doesn’t apply if you have small-sized rats, getting them small wheels is a good option for their current size.

However, if the wheel forces your rat to bend downwards, then the wheel is too small.

In this case, back injuries will begin to show as they run on it. Ideally, the wheel size should be big enough to allow them to exercise and move around comfortably without causing any injuries.

This is why the size of your pet rat should determine the size of the wheel you get.

Wheel Size for Small, Medium, and Large-Sized Rats

If you have pet rats in your home, most likely they are all slightly different sizes.

There are those that are small, medium-sized, and, of course, the large ones. It’s for this reason that you should be mindful of the wheel size that you get them.

Below, is a great guide on wheel sizes for different rat sizes.

  • For small pet rats, the recommended wheel size is 11 inches. This wheel size is good for small rats because it allows them to easily move around, and their weight can still move the wheel they’re running on.
  • For medium-sized rats, the recommended wheel size is at least 12 inches. Since they are larger than the small ones, it’s best to give them enough space for them to play and exercise without straining their back.
  • For the large-sized rats, pet rat owners have to give them enough space in their cage that is right for their size. Normally, a wheel size of at least 15 inches is the best for bigger rats.

It’s worth pointing out that there are larger rats who will find it difficult to run on wheels without getting hurt.

This means that some of the standard wheels on the market aren’t the safest for them. In this case, it’s best if you find another method of exercise for the rat.

Getting a Bigger Wheel for Your Rat to Grow Into

As I said, the wheels that rat owners get their rats should be so comfortable that they are able to run on them without problems.

If you notice that your rat is finding it difficult to exercise in the current wheel, it’s definitely too small for them. This means that you should take action to prevent serious problems that might come up.

Some of the health and safety issues that can happen from having too small of a wheel are:

  • Back pain.
  • Back injuries.
  • Nerve damage.
  • Muscular injuries.

So in most cases, you should get a bigger wheel. This will allow your rat to grow into it.

Since your rat will eventually grow bigger, the best thing to do is to get a bigger wheel that will not only provide enough space to run but also prevent as many health and safety concerns as possible.

It’s also cheaper than buying multiple wheels as they grow.

So depending on how small your rat is, you should consider getting a bigger wheel if you realize that the one you currently own won’t have enough space. Let your rat grow into a wheel instead of having your rat grow out of one.

What Should a Pet Rat Wheel Be Made Of?

According to the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, plastic and steel are the materials that most pet rat wheels are made of.

Both plastic and wire materials have pros and cons worth exploring. The plastic wheels are safer and easy to clean.

The downside of plastic wheels is that they are not as durable and they can easily break.

For steel wheels, the major advantage is that they are more durable. Which means they are harder to break compared to plastic ones.

However, rat owners have to consider the safety of their pets when using wire wheels because they might injure their toes. Also, any broken wire edges are not good since they can injure your rats.

So you should always consider the pros and cons when choosing the type of wheel that suits you best.

If you want a more secure pet rat wheel, the plastic one is better. If you want a durable one, then the steel one is a better choice.

In the end, you should make the choice according to your rats’ needs and preferences.

Remember the size of your rat’s wheel actually does matter! If you want to make sure that your pets stay healthy and safe, you can’t compromise on the size of the wheel.

Whenever you shop for wheels for your rats, take some time and think about the best wheel size for them. It’ll save you some money and stress in the long run.

Wrapping Up

Rats are loving and smart, and that is why rat owners chose to have them as pets.

The idea of keeping pet rats simply means that you love them and you are willing to do everything and provide everything possible for their comfort.

So as you consider getting your pet rat a wheel, being very sure about its size and what it’s made out of is important.

Remember, the health and safety of a pet rat as it exercises can depend largely on the size and kind of wheel it has.


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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