Rat Chewing BoxNo doubt about it, rats are chewers.  They can and will chew anything they can get their little hands on – wires, toys, boxes, furniture, and yes, even clothing.  Now they don’t actually eat these items (usually), they just like to chew, chew, chew.  Why all the chewing?

Rats don’t just enjoy chewing, they have to chew to keep their teeth in check.  Unlike humans, rats and most other rodents have only one set of teeth in their lifetime.  Because of this, their teeth are constantly growing.  They chew things to keep their teeth at a manageable length. The incisors grow at a rapid rate of 5 inches per year! That’s a lot of teeth for a tiny rodent.  If a rat’s teeth are not kept worn down by chewing, serious problems can occur that will cause the rat serious discomfort and eventually the inability to eat.

To prevent overgrown teeth, be sure to give your pet rat plenty of items to chew on within their cage and play area and give them hard, yet healthy, foods to eat.  Likewise, be sure to rat proof their play areas by removing or covering all wires and any other items that you do not want them chewing on.  As for clothing, it’s a good idea to keep an old shirt and old pair of pants to wear when playing with your rats.  They will chew into that brand new shirt before you know it!

* The following is the original post made in the RatPalace forum archives discussing the question “Do Rats Eat Clothing?”.

Topic: Do Rats normally eat clothing??




I was sitting on the couch with Rikku, and she usually snuggles up beside me and baths or just cuddles. Tonight I felt alot of activity on my side, and when I grabbed her, I noticed one thing…..she turned the side of my best green sweatshirt into swiss cheese!! There was holes everywhere!~

I have never known her to do this! I cannot imagine that ingesting sweatshirt material can be very healthy can it?? I am upset that she destroyed my shirt, but oh well!

Any thoughts?

Maypah   I think it’s normal for rats to eat anything that they can chew and won’t kill them or doesn’t taste bad. And maybe even still if it can kill them or tastes bad!

I’ve lost curtains, sheets, comforters, shirts, socks, shoe strings, blankets. I’ve had chunks taken out of shoes, electrical cords, remotes, plastic bags. They’ve eaten holes through their bags of litter, their carrier, cardboard. They chew their litter pans, igloos, food bowls. It appears that anything is fair game.

*Rob*   I have several articles of clothing that have been ratted, along with the usual chewed-up-for-bedding things like curtains and carpets!

I like to keep the holey clothes as memorials to departed ratties

I have to say though that my girls have never seemed to ingest all this stuff; I usually find the loose fabric in their nests or lying around in little piles on the floor.

Edit: my hundredth post…do I get a prize?  :)

neon11   I have had holes put in shirts, pants, PJ’s, blankets, sheets, a window shade and of course everything in there cage.
Victor   Welcome to our world, Matt :)
Christy   Oh yes, this is perfectly normal rattie behavior. I’m actually surprised she hasn’t done it before! I think the most annoying things mine have chewed up are curtains that I put them too close too, a bedspread they were too close too, and the worst is the wall they ate. They used to live in the guestroom where they had freerange of a 6′ table. I had put a sheet over the wall just to protect it from being peed down. They eventually chewed through the sheet in some places but I never thought much of it. When I moved them back downstairs and took the sheet down I realized they had pulled all the top layers of the wall off down to the drywall. It’s a huge mess that needs to be sanded and repainted now. I’ll take pics whenever we move the dresser and closet doors that are now hiding the destruction!

venuslava   Same here lol , everything gets chewed up at times , clothes , wires, remotes control buttons, furniture, doors , carpet , etc etc :P

PatTheRat   My boys even chewed the tail off my Folkmanis rat puppet–there was foam everywhere!!!

Matts_Rats   My roomy says that I should not ask why because it is simply a rodent with a pea for a brain……just accept that they are nibblers.

Still, I wonder?

Do they do it to keep their teeth filed or are they simply hungry all the time?

Rattenburg   You’re roomy must have a pebble for a brain then, because he knows nothing of rats. I’ve lost many pairs of pants and a few shirts. I don’t know why they chew clothes, but they chew other things to keep their teeth down. Honestly, I hope your little rattie girl pees on your roomy for saying that.

sandellie4   Oh, yes, they just love chewing clothes. Sometimes I think they choose the comfy stuff first, because they know if they do a really good job, it will show up later in their cage as a “rag” for their igloo. In fact, if either of our ratties ever stops chewing our clothes, I’ll probably rush him to the vet.