Modifying the Critter Nation

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Modifying the Critter Nation

Post by DJF on Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:03 am

I keep my five girls in a single unit critter nation cage. It is a superb cage regarding access, cleaning and for messing around with enrichment ideas. But, the base is shallow and so the cage is not really suitable for deep layers of substrate. To compensate, I use digging boxes but then I got to thinking....

The CN has an under shelf, approx. 1ft high.

http://www.petco.com/product/116401/Midwest-Critter-Nation-Single-Unit-with-Stand-Small-Animal-Cage.aspx

I think I will try to remodel the cage and fit plexiglass sheets around the shelving area thus creating an extra 3ft x 2ft x 1ft worth of space with and then having a cage with dimensions 3ft x 2ft by 3ft with room for four more rats ( if I get a dose of GMR! ).

Questions:

Is plexiglass safe to use?
How would you affix sheets of plexiglass to metal? Glue would be easiest but perhaps rivets would be best?
I am not the best at DIY so have found a company who will delivery custom cut sheets of plexiglass. My really problem is attaching them to the cage in the safest way with minimum DIY skills.

Any input welcome.

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Re: Modifying the Critter Nation

Post by Zoundz on Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:57 am

That's a cracking idea Smile I'm not sure how you'd get around the metal bars that are on the bottom of the cage, above the shelving unit though? You know, where the current bas sits?

Plexiglass if fine, but for chewing, but no different to a normal cage base which we all use with no real worries - if anything it may well be stronger Smile As to how you'd do it... not a clue! XD

Perhaps when Grace sees this she can ask Eoghan? Smile He's very good with this sort of thing and might have some ideas!

xx

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Re: Modifying the Critter Nation

Post by eoghan on Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:13 am

Good idea, but plexi tends to splinter at the edges when shocked, and chewing furries would definatly cause splinters. Normal cage bases are made from blow moulded thermoplastic. Now if you can get around that then you can attach the plexi to the cage with nuts bolts and a couple of washers. You'll need a drill and appropriate size steel drill bit. Apropriate size spanners

After that you have to give it ventilation, which means more drilling and cutting with a fret or coping saw which increases the edges for chewing and splintering. You'll also need emery paper or an emery block to remove any burs on the edges.

Then you have to think about access, down through the base of the upper part which means cutting a hole and the bars in the base which means angle grinder, or cutting a door in the front of the plexi, which increases the chewing/splintering chances and then you have to secure it.

i, personally, wouldn't bother due to the possibly of splintering. when it splinters it can be as sharp as a stanley blade and as pointy as needle depending on the quality, thickness and density of the plexi.

Also 5 rats not to mention 9 rats in a plexi box would get hot quite quick, also 9 in one group would be a bit much so i'd recommend 2 groups and a extra cage if you gmr.


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Re: Modifying the Critter Nation

Post by Zoundz on Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:44 am

Welcome to the forum E! Wink

Some very good points raised there - plenty I didn't know about perspex, I had no idea it splintered and could be so sharp!

xx

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Re: Modifying the Critter Nation

Post by eoghan on Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:51 am

Thanks, You learn alot when your pulling bits out of your fingers, thumbs, and various other bits when fiddling about without proper p.p.e.

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"Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip"


Proudly Commanded by
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George, Ghostie, Ralf, Tuffy, Pixie, Willow, Flea, Nibblet, Rose, Tulip, Gypsy, Bluebell, Crimp, Annie,Jiggly Puff of Blue Smoke, Dizzy, Noodles(M) And Smokie(The Supreme Commander)

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Re: Modifying the Critter Nation

Post by DJF on Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:11 am

Thanks for your input there eoghan.

Luckily, the current cage base is fully removable and fits snugly into the shelf base so thankfully no need for angle grinders and such. My remodelling idea is to create a deep base and some extra height not to create a separate 1ft high compartment at the end of the cage.

But the potential for splintering is a worry. As the plexiglass would be affixed to the outer part of the shelf legs, it will be difficult for them to chew but I wouldn't put it past them. Given that it can be sharp, it may not be the best material.

Essentially, I want to attach some form of easily cleaned and robust material around the shelf area of the cage, shift the current base downward (which is easily done - it just slides out) and voila, have a 3 x 2x 3ft cage.

I think I need to rethink the material.

And oh, I doubt there will ever be nine rats. Five keep me on my toes enough Smile

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