how do you stop rodents chewing cables?

@jb78000 (15178)
May 8, 2010 7:03am CST
i thought my rats were not chewers and neglected to watch them that closely when they had their run. they were housetrained and there was nowhere they could get trapped in. however i have now discovered that, while they don't chew anything else except food, they appear to love cable plastic and have made a right mess. since i do not want them to cut off my internet access, phone line or worse electrocute themselves i need to stop this. if you have hamsters, rabbits, rats or any other beasties prone to knawing what do you do to stop them munching through cables? i'm going to ask at the pet shop but any tips would be appreciated. i think you can get a spray - does this work?
8 people like this
14 responses
@marguicha (53716)
• Chile
8 May 10
I have never had rodends as pets (untrue: I had a rabbit when I was little but that doesn´t count). But my sister had problems with wild rodends at a countryside house where she wanted to plant again native trees. They ate the trees until my sister designed a wire mesh to place around the small tree trunks. I don´t know if that could be done in your case. And, how about placing sone of the wiring higher than their usual path? All this is just imagination. I do it better with someone else´s problems. My Lola (my dog) almost ate my house away last year, when she was a puppy.
1 person likes this
@jb78000 (15178)
8 May 10
dogs do eat houses. i think you are probably right - the solution is likely to be physically making the cables inaccessable.
@Maggiepie (7821)
• United States
9 May 10
Yes, some dogs do like to gnaw on wood. I once had neighbors whose back porch joined mine, & they had a dog that ate part of our back door, & a wooden ladder! Later on, in another house, we had a dog my roomie & I babysat, & he killed off a tree! Well, actually, it managed to survive as a stump, sending up sucker shoots from the edge, but...a frikkin' tree!!?! T'weren't no sapling, neither! One of the suckers eventually outgrew the original tree, by the way. Elic still lives in that house, & can tell you. I guess some dogs are just part beaver, or something. Maggiepie "It is the absolute right of the state to supervise the formation of public opinion." ~ Joseph Goebbels
@fifileigh (3622)
• United States
10 May 10
hamsters and rabbits usually have their own cages to play in. and if u have rats, get an indoor cat. the rats will leave right away.
1 person likes this
@jb78000 (15178)
10 May 10
they are pet rats and have their own cage. they get allowed out every day for exercise.
@catdla1 (6005)
• United States
8 May 10
I haven't ever owned a rodent as a pet, however I have had friends with mice, rats, guinea pigs, etc. I know that rodents' teeth continue to grow (unlike ours) and that they need to chew/gnaw on things to wear them down otherwise they would eventually prevent it from eating. Maybe the way to treat the problem is to find something that your rats enjoy chewing more, since they are going to chew anyway. Perhaps to encourage them to swap to a new chew-preference, you may need to get something to mask the chew-scent on the wires. Your local pet store may have something, or I've heard of a RatAway product that removes their scent, but is not toxic or a pepper spray. If all else fails, you might just have to sit them down and give them a good talking to...lol. Threaten to put them in rat-balls. Do they make those?
1 person likes this
@jb78000 (15178)
8 May 10
they don't really chew much - i have given them wood chews (ignored), they have lots of cardboard (unchewed) and they get nuts in shells as a special treat. they only chew when they think there is food, nothing else. except cables. i think rat ball threats might be the only answer
1 person likes this
@laglen (19783)
• United States
8 May 10
feed the poor things!
@jb78000 (15178)
8 May 10
the 'poor things' get fed quite enough thankyou. don't believe what a rat bouncing up and down, over a full bowl of rat food, tells you when he smells cooking.
1 person likes this
@laglen (19783)
• United States
8 May 10
lol maybe they are saying feed me?
@jb78000 (15178)
8 May 10
that is exactly what they are saying. the fact that they are saying it on top of their perfectly balanced rat mix suggests that they are not as desperately hungry as they claim. they do get a little people food, but not much cos because it is not healthy for ratties to get tubby.
1 person likes this
@Maggiepie (7821)
• United States
9 May 10
Rodents must chew! It's not about food--it's about keeping their teeth filed down, & sharp enough for defense. So there are at least a couple of things you can do that should help. A long time ago, it was possible to buy a bottle of what was basically fingernail polish--& applied the same--but it had quinine in it. Mothers (mine included) would paint it on children's fingernails to make them stop biting their fingernails. Quinine is exceedingly bitter, & believe you me, if a mouse has a single taste bud in its head, it won't chew on that ghastly stuff! Just coat your wires with that! The second thing you need to do is related to the first part of paragraph one, "Rodents must chew." Since they actually do need to, I'd advise you to get something--wood, tough plastic such as covers those cables, & leave bits in their habitats. I would have thought a blue rabbit would have already known this stuff! Maggiepie "It is the absolute right of the state to supervise the formation of public opinion." ~ Joseph Goebbels
@jb78000 (15178)
9 May 10
of course i already know this maggie but thankyou for the information. they have been supplied with wood chews and cardboards and all kinds of other things. which they do not touch. they are fine - not all rats chew that much. except cables apparently.
1 person likes this
@Maggiepie (7821)
• United States
10 May 10
Okay. Just checking. So! Got quinine "polish?" Maggiepie "It is the absolute right of the state to supervise the formation of public opinion." ~ Joseph Goebbels
@jb78000 (15178)
10 May 10
no. things like that probably are still sold but i'll go for something specifically made to taste nasty to rodents. cute idea and if i had some in i'd try it (after checking it was safe for rats, i am always extra careful about using things for purposes other than the intended one) but i suspect buying enough stuff to stop you biting your fingernails to cover all my cables would work out a bit expensive.
1 person likes this
@insulin (2484)
• Philippines
9 May 10
This is always big issue for hamster owner.Lol.Their teeth continues to grow and that's the reason why they chew a lot.I've tried giving them wood and not interested of it and keeps chewing the cage.When my hamster starts to chew,I just normally bring her in the hamster ball for 15 minutes and she is not getting bored anymore and also tired chewing.I already trie apple bitter but well she likes it a lot.What kind of rodents do you have?
@jb78000 (15178)
9 May 10
rats. have you tried cardboard for your hamster's teeth? when i had gerbils they chewed through an enormous amount of cardboard. but chewing at the cage might just mean she wants a run. as i said my rats chew nothing but cables.
1 person likes this
@insulin (2484)
• Philippines
9 May 10
Yes I've tried cardboard already but seems like biting the cage is already getting habit for them.I already bought them honey sticks with natural wooden stick inside but good thing they bite it but still they bite the cage!
@jb78000 (15178)
9 May 10
maybe it is simply habit then. but if they stop after a run maybe they are just trying to say they want out?
@dawnald (84060)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 May 10
Don't let them run where the cables are?
@jb78000 (15178)
8 May 10
that's what i've been doing since i found out what they'd been up to. it is a pest though - i used to let them out in the living room, where i could keep an eye on them (not, obviously, a close enough eye though) while they scuttled. now i put them in the hall and this is annoying.
@Maggiepie (7821)
• United States
9 May 10
Yes. Put itty leashes on them, & take them to a park. Imagine the dates you could pick up! Maggiepie "It is the absolute right of the state to supervise the formation of public opinion." ~ Joseph Goebbels
@jb78000 (15178)
9 May 10
maggie do you not know how many handsome young men take rodents for walks these days? keep up, there are loads. i'll get lots of dates.
• United States
8 May 10
I know what worked for my dogs but I am not sure if it would work for rats or not my dogs have had problems with chewing as puppies we took ground habenero pepper and mixed with water to make a paste and smeared the paste of the things the dog liked to chew on but shouldnt the dogs dont like the spiciness of the habenero and stopped chewing immediately
@jb78000 (15178)
8 May 10
i think that would work for most animals and thankyou for the suggestion. problem is my pets really like spicy food and this might just encourage them. i might try it.
• United States
8 May 10
some vets recommend a spray called apple bitter for various animals I dont know if it works for rats but you could ask your vet or pet store and see what they say
@jb78000 (15178)
8 May 10
i will do. i am also going to look up safe ways to stop mice and rats chewing things - this is a common problem with pests as well as pets and there must be non-toxic things that work well.
@RawBill1 (8543)
• Gold Coast, Australia
18 May 10
I have been having this same problem with our kittens. They completely chewed through some wires in my son's Nintendo Wii and have put teeth marks in other wires. We are hoping that it is just a phase that they are going through as they are still quite young and have just been spraying them with water when we see them anywhere near the area. This scares them off, but they return. Hopefully if we do it enough, then they will get a negative association in their brains with that part of the house.
@jb78000 (15178)
18 May 10
what is it about cables that is so appealing?
@RawBill1 (8543)
• Gold Coast, Australia
18 May 10
I am not sure, but if we can figure that out and take away that appeal to them, then problem solved!
@rachael5760 (2251)
• Israel
8 May 10
Keep the rodents in their cage at night when you are sleeping. Then you can be sure that they are not chewing on your cables. My sons had 14 hamsters (Siberian, very cute!) and I made them keep the animals in a hamster cage, that had lots of tunnels for them to climb in and a wheel to keep them running etc.
@jb78000 (15178)
8 May 10
they are in a cage except for their daily run. thing is although i am in the same room i am usually doing something else and not really watching them all that closely. i'd really like to make sure they are not chewing things they shouldn't without having to rat sit for half an hour every evening - they only gnaw cables, nothing else.
• Israel
8 May 10
So let them run in a room where there are no cables like in the kitchen. We only let them out when we were cleaning the cage and then we let them run in the bathtub, which I cleaned out right afterwards. They couldn't get out of the bathtub!!
@MsTickle (24716)
• Australia
14 May 10
Maybe encase the wires in a small sized poly-pipe. That's a special plastic for this purpose in Aus. They use the large stuff for plumbing and the smaller radius stuff for encasing wires that are exposed to the elements or similar.
@jb78000 (15178)
14 May 10
good idea, thanks
@gabs8513 (48820)
• United Kingdom
12 May 10
When I had my Chinchillas they loved wires lol To be honest I just did my best to cover the Wires as no matter what we did they would not quit chewing them lol
@jb78000 (15178)
12 May 10
you had chinchillas? awwwww - they are gorgeous little animals. well i am going to try a few things - tired of using the hall as a rat run. if nothing works i could always just unplug everything and put all the cables out their reach.
@spalladino (17929)
• United States
9 May 10
I wish I could help you rabbit but I don't have any small critters so I don't know much about them. My big dog chewed through the power cord to my laptop once and somehow didn't get zapped but your rats are much smaller than a 65lb dog so I'm sure there is a danger to them. I sure hope you find a solution to this problem.
@jb78000 (15178)
9 May 10
well there have been lots of ideas in here, some of which i have already thought of/do and some new ones, all appreciated. i liked hatley's suggestion of training them especially, problem is it would take ages and lots of cables. and tons of nice little treats for them as a reward and nice little treats for me as a reward - we would all end up spherical. i think i am going to use a combination of a spray from the pet shop and tough tape. and switch off any electrical ones they can get at until i am sure this works.
@Porcospino (16480)
• Denmark
26 May 10
My ex-boyfriend and I had a rabbit and sometimes we took her out of the cage and the let her run around in our living room. One day my ex-boyfriend and I were eating breakfast in the kitchen while our rabbit was in the living room. When we finished our breakfast and wanted to put the rabbit back in the cage, we discovered that she had been eating our tv cable and our internet cable, and neither of them worked any longer. It was our own fault we should have been watching her instead of letting her run around alone, and since that time we became more careful. Now I have 6 rabbits, and I always watch them when I take them out of the cage. I don't have a solution to the problem the only thing we have done is to keep the rabbits away from rooms where there are cables or other things that they are not allowed to touch and I always watch them when they are out of the cage. One of my rabbits recently damaged my cell phone charger, but aside from that I think I have become better at preventing those things.