Rats are rodents that have to regularly chew on things to keep their teeth healthy and trim. This is because rats’ teeth continue to grow throughout their entire life.
A popular and natural thing for rats to chew on is wood, and for rat owners, it is not all kinds of woods that your rat should be exposed to, especially since we have toxic and safe woods for rats to chew on.
You must ensure that the wood you plan on giving your rat is free of pesticides, safe, untreated, and paint-free. You can’t just randomly pick the bark of a tree and hand it over to your pet.
You can find many kinds of wood that your rat can chew on, but it is essential that you know which is safe or not.
There are several types of safe woods on the list, and most of them can be found easily in your backyard. However, it is best not to give your rat any wood to chew on if you aren’t sure what it is.
Table of Contents
Toxic woods and substances
- Balsam fir
- Almond (produces cyanide)
- Black locust
- Cypress/bald cypress
- Citrus (all citrus woods including orange, lemon, lime, etc.)
- Fig/cape fig
- Horse chestnut
- Goncalo alves
- Peroba rosa
- Pau Ferro
- Pine (fresh pines are as toxic as are pinecones)
Safe woods and substances
- Bamboo cane
- Pine (kiln-dried white only)
- Coconut shell
You can get alternative woods that are safe in pet stores. Woods that sold for other rodents are generally safe for rats, but it’s still best to know the type of wood your rat is about to nibble on.
That way, you are sure it’s not toxic. It’s always safe to be sure. This same rule applies to the materials that your rat’s cage and hide boxes are made out of (especially if they are made of wood).
Rats would chew on anything, as long as their teeth can sink into them. This is why rat owners need to ensure that their rat is surrounded by woods and substances that are safe.
It is even more critical to consult your exotic veterinarian if you suspect your rat has ingested a toxic wood or substance. Different woods are fatal than others and may affect rats in different ways.
Housing rats in cages made out of wood shavings were prevalent, but experience has taught us that they were safer and comfortable options for housing pet rats.
Aspen shavings are safe to use, and these wood shavings can be gotten at pet stores. You should also ensure you aren’t using pine shavings; else, you’d be putting the life of your pet in danger.
Under no circumstances should you keep a rat in a cage made out of cedar shavings. This is because cedar shavings are the most dangerous to your little sneakers.
Apart from the fumes produced from toxic woods shavings and the ingestion of unsafe wood materials, it can be irritating to walk on these woods.
Your rat may itch on sores or small cuts on their feet caused by wood irritation.
Recycled paper beddings are great choices over wooden shavings. This is because they have a softer texture and even better absorption qualities.
So tell us what you think. What wood shavings do you use for your rat? Have you noticed your rats behaving funny because of the wood you provided them with? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.