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Fresh water makes the world of difference.

It only took a four-day vacation for us to figure this one out. Water bottles need to be rinsed out and refilled daily! Water that sits unmoved (as water in a water bottle does) will start to harvest bacteria which can make your rat sick. Generally this sickness will manifest itself into an inner-ear infection, loss of appetite, or simply a little sneezy cold, all of which can be fixed right up with a little antibiotics (except the ear infection). It's not really worth the risk though (obviously). If you do nothing else for your rat, do this! Keep your water supply fresh and clean!

Update: May I also recommend glass bottles? They're pricey, very very pricey, but wow! First we tried the smaller Lixit glass bottles:

Those are great. We didn't have to worry about weird sticky colonies of anything growing on the inside surface of the bottle and just a simple scrub brush made by Lixit to fit through the water bottle opening was enough to keep them clean.

But then we discovered even more pricey but easier to keep clean (with any brush, really):

Big wow! Yeah, they're around $20 a piece, but we have yet to buy a replacement water bottle since our initial purchase! They're so easy to brush clean, you can stick them in the dish-washer and since the glass discovery, we've had one rat with a head tilt and that didn't even count because the ear infection actually resulted from an external wound (just our luck)! ...and I'm really bad about remembering to swap water out daily!

So...before you spend $5 on a plastic water bottle, spend another $5 a year later to replace the plastic water bottle, etc. Just buy yourself a glass bottle. You'll be so glad you did!

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Disclaimer: There are many non-sarcastic accounts and tips on the web regarding rat care. This is not one of them. These are merely accounts of our experiences with rats, our perceptions of these experiences, where we've failed and where we've succeeded. These accounts are here for two purposes:

    1) To entertain.
    2) To help avoid repetition of mistakes

  Remember! Your rat is not a science project, he is your friend!

All content contained herein © 1996-2007 by Andrew Waltz, Nathalie Baldwin, & the rats of RatRaisins, Inc.  
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