Skip to Content

How To Make A DIY Playpen For Rats!

As the number of videos going viral on social media of rats being happy and cute in their playpen going viral increases, the number of people thinking of getting themselves a pet rat or making their own DIY playpen for rats is increasing rapidly.

Although DIY playpens for rats gave been common within the rat owning community for over a decade due to how easy they are to build, the recent spike in interest on how to make them has convinced us to publish this article.

Our hope is that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible make their own DIY rat playpen that their pet rat is able to play in and enjoy.

Unlike some DIY playpens for other pets, due to their small size and ability to seemingly play with anything and still have fun, you can make a very budget-friendly rat playpen with ease that most rats will enjoy.

On the flipside of that though, there seems to be a trend on social media of rat owners trying to make the most intricate playpen possible for their rats with some of them having a very high budget available.

Just keep in mind, the goal of a rat playpen is for your pet rat to have fun and enjoy itself, there really is no real need for you to spend a large amount of money on the project.

How Do I Make A DIY Rat Playpen?

You are able to make a rat playpen by collecting a range of different items for your rat to play with and then putting them in a room with your rat in it.

The playpen really can be as simple as that but some people will add some form of fencing or barrier to contain the rat while it plays while also adding a range of different toys and food puzzles to keep your rat occupied.

One thing that we have seen time and time again when it comes to building a fun and interactive rat playpen is that the price or quality of the items the rat has to play with doesn’t seem to matter much.

Most rats seem to get excited by unique things that they have never seen before and this really can be as simple as an empty cereal box with some bedding put in it for the rat to dig around in.

You are then able to integrate various rat treats or take a food item from our list of 23 unique rat treat foods and hide them in various areas in the playpen.

Some rats are highly motivated by food, especially treat foods that they rarely have access too so this can help to increase the excitement and enjoyment in the rat while playing in the playpen.

What Should You Include In A Rat Playpen?

The things that you are able to include in a rat playpen really are only limited by your imagination.

Common additions include empty boxes with bedding in them, pet tunnels, kitchen roll tubes stuffed with paper or hay, hanging hammocks, plastic bottles with small treats in them, S type mazes, and small tree branches.

Switching out the toys and features in a rat playpen to keep them new and interesting really is key but one thing that some rats really so seem to enjoy playing with is a ping pong ball.

Although some rats tend to ignore them, most rats seem to love playing with a ping pong ball, especially if you have hardwood floor that the ball can bounce off.

One of the best additions to a rat playpen is another rat too but we know that this is not always suitable for our readers.

If you are able to add a second rat or have multiple pet rats then the interactive play that this offers your pets in the playpen is second to none. It will help keep your rats occupied while also helping them learn social skills.

How Tall Should A Rat Playpen Be?

If you do choose to use a fence or barrier on your rat playpen then it is usually recommended that you try to ensure that it is at least four feet high.

This will be able to keep large rats in the playpen and prevent them from being able to escape but keep in mind, if you keep branches or anything else in the playpen, this may present a way for your rats to climb up the fence and escape.

Rats are more intelligent that most people realise and a traditional pet fence can still work well for rats in many cases but some rats will quickly work out how to climb them and break free.

This is why we would actually recommend that our readers choose to go with a plastic pannel fence if possible as it prevents your pet rat from being able to climb it.

Depending on your home, you may not actually need a fence or barrier for your pet rat, there are plenty of rat owners who will let their rats use a spare room of their home as a playpen but the room really does have to be rat proofed correctly.

Both methods can work well in all fairness with most rats not seeming to care but the fence can make it much easier to safely rat proof an area of your home to use as a rat playpen.

How Do You Make A DIY Rat Playpen Safe?

Rats will try to chew on anything so you have to put some time into making sure that your rat play pen is as safe as possible for your pet rat.

The most common hazards are cables that your rats can chew, potentially toxic stuffing inside of stuffed toys that are not intended for pets, unsuitable foods, and anything that lets the rat get high enough to fall and hurt itself.

Although it wasn’t in a rat playpen, we have seen a report on social media of someone who had a cat tower for their pet cat but their pet rat climbed it during playtime and then fell from the top and ended up breaking one of its back legs.

Thankfully the rat made a full recovery but it just goes to show how careful you have to be when planning out your rat playpen.

Another common hazard that people intentionally put in their rat playpen is boxes of packing peanuts due to seeing rats playing in them on social media.

Packing peanuts are dangerous for rats as they can swallow them and the material of packing peanuts is more prone to causing blockages and impaction that may require surgery to correct.

Should You Make A Rat Cardboard Playpen?

Cardboard rat playpens are controversial within the rat community but they are generally safe to use with rats often enjoying playing in them.

The issue is that the rat can quickly chew its way through the cardboard and escape if it wants but our argument would be to put the cardboard playpen inside a fenced area as a feature of a larger playpen.

You can also only let your pet rat play in its cardboard playpen if you are there with the rat to make sure that it doesn’t try to eat the cardboard too.

Due to how easy it is to cut a couple of boxes up and make a cardboard playpen for your rat, we would usually recommend that you at least try it with your own rat to see how they react.

One drawback of a cardboard playpen for rats is that you are rather limited in what you are able to do though and this can restrict the size and scope of the playpen.

This is why we usually just recommend that you try to add the cardboard playpen into a larger playpen and use the cardboard set up as a feature rather than the main playpen itself.


That brings our article going over how to make a DIY playpen for rats to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand the various methods you have available to build your rat playpen as well as how you are also able to keep the playpen safe. We have added a number of different item suggestions that you are able to use in the playpen too but you really can dream up some truly unique ideas if you put your mind to it.