As rats are naturally active animals, this rat cage calculator determines if your beloved pet rodents (sometimes referred to as fancy rats) have ample space to move around their home.

If you've ever wondered how big should a rat cage be, wonder no more! Here you will learn how to calculate a rat cage size that will keep your pet happy.

How to calculate a rat cage size

To understand how to calculate rat cage size, you should first measure your rat cage for its width, length, and height. Multiplying these together gives you the volume:
volume = width * length * height

Finding how much space is in the cage is necessary to determine whether or not it is suitable for the intended number of rat residents. For a more in-depth look at the formula, check out our volume calculator.

Now that you know the size of your rat cage, is it suitable for you furry friends? Let's find out how big should a rat cage be and how much space does a rat need!

How much space does a rat need?

A rat cage needs to accommodate its inhabitant's size comfortably. Though the size needed depends on the rat's size, they have an optimal living space of about 2.5 cubic feet, or 70.8 liters, but more space is always preferred for roaming and climbing. It is recommended to keep rats in pairs or larger groups as they are social animals.

What do rats need in their cage?

It goes without saying that more rats means more space, but what do they use it for? Here are some helpful pointers to keep your rats happy:

  • Wire cages and platforms - This layout has different elevations that allow the rats to satisfy their natural propensity for climbing;
  • Tunnels and boxes - Add these in your enclosure to give rats places to explore, hide and scurry through;
  • Bedding - Avoid wooden shavings, get paper or cardboard bedding instead for the rats' safety; and
  • Toys - Anything that rats can use as chew toys, but stay away from small plastic materials they may choke on.

Can I just use a hamster cage?

rats need more than just a hamster wheel

Hamster cages are not a suitable alternative, as hamsters have different needs. So how big should a rat cage be? Consider that rats are larger and generally considered more intelligent rodents, requiring more than simple tubes and a hamster wheel to keep them occupied. Surprisingly, they are also less likely to bite than hamsters and are social creatures, making it easier to introduce multiple rats in the same habitat, with territorial aggression being less of a concern.

Please visit our other calculators for turtle tanks and cattle per acre for more information on how much space other animals need to thrive.

Does the kind of rat matter?

Fortunately, fancy rat varieties don't come in vastly different sizes as is the case with some other animal breeds. In fact, the breed of other domestic animals can affect many different traits, such as the life expectancy in dogs and birds. Rather than inherited traits, any differences in rat varieties depends upon the individual rat.

The only distinctions between rats tend to be based on fur color and markings. If you're wondering what type of rat you have, here are some common varieties below according to the National Fancy Rat Society's standards:

  • Agouti - Fur is a dark grey to black color with their bellies colored a light silver;
  • Berkshire - The top half of the rat is colored while its chest and belly are white;
  • Himalayan - Similar to the Himalayan cat breed, these rats are white with color points on their faces, legs, ears, and tail;
  • Pink-Eyed White - One of the familiar images of a rat. These are pure white rats with distinct pink colored eyes; and
  • Hooded - These rats have markings that look like a hooded jacket. The pattern tends to travel down the rat's back to the tail.

Physical characteristics may vary but tend to pertain to ears or the tail rather than size and build.

  • Dumbo rats have distinct large ears that are set lower on their heads, reminiscent of the cartoon character they are named after; and
  • Manx rats are a variety without tails, named after the breed of Manx cats due to their similar appearance.

Ultimately, how a rat looks (apart from its size) does not play into its ideal enclosure. With enough activities and stimulation available at a rat's disposal, it is sure to find comfort in its new home.

Marjorie Chan
Cage Size
Height
ft
Length
ft
Width
ft
Recommendation
Space per rat
2.5 cu ft (71 liters)
Can fit at most
rat(s)
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