Our ASF Personalities:

All of our soft furs at TGR are pretty laid back and love cuddling together in big piles. They will accept pets and often will come over to sniff you but usually will not seek out attention. They love to explore new toys in their cage but eventually will all pile into one hide/corner to sleep.

 

 

Also known as soft fur rats, these guys are really neither rat nor mouse. They do well housed with mice (but never rats!) and at TGR we simply call them soft furs to try and avoid confusion.

 

We currently only have cinnamon saddleback ASF.

Quick and Dirty Facts:

  • Gestation is about three weeks
  • Babies are born with fur, unlike mice and rats
  • Large litters: anywhere from 4-20 pups
  • Lifespan: 2-3 years
  • Avid chewers
  • Love to pee in their food bowl 

The easiest cage you can get for a soft fur is a glass tank. Cleaned properly (ie: before you notice a smell) tanks are perfectly acceptable methods of housing. A 10 gallon tank with at least one hide, one toy, and preferably a wheel can house 2-3 mice. We recommend twenty gallon long tanks as a minimum as it allows for much more enrichment and space to roam. The more space the merrier, but make sure to clutter up the tank with lots of toys and hides. It seems counter-intuitive, but if an ASF feels safe with things to hide in you will actually see them more!

We do not recommend critter-trail cages or similar. They are simply too small for ASF (and pretty much any pet). 

 
If you are up to a fairly simple DIY task, bin cages make excellent, cheap, super customizable cages. There are a lot of guides out there already on how to make bin cages, but general guidelines include: at least the two long sides of the bin must be meshed with no larger than 1/4″ hardware cloth, make sure the windows are high enough to allow 2-4″ of bedding, put the mesh on the inside of the bin to avoid chewing, and try to find bins with smooth sides to also avoid chewing. I recommend 110qt tubs for 3-7 soft furs (these have the same footprints as a critter nation, they are big!). Keep in mind, more ASF = more hides, more food, and more frequent cleaning needed. Don’t get more ASF than you can care for.
 
We recommend regular cleaning once a week regardless of cage, with occasional spot-cleaning in between. ASF will readily pick one toilet corner  (even more so than mice) so spot-cleaning is super easy!
We highly recommend kiln-dried pine as your primary bedding for ASF (about 2″ deep). It has superb ammonia control and is also really fun to dig in. ASF can also be given small amounts of hay and shredded paper to nest with but this needs to be taken out once soiled. P.S. The Tractor Supply has big bags of bedding for about $4 versus pet shops selling the same size bag for $12-20.

 

Paper beddings such as CareFresh have very little ammonia control and can be very dangerous for your soft fur’s health. There are studies showing that CareFresh in particular quickly builds up dangerous levels of ammonia very quickly. If you find that you are allergic to pine, I recommend using aspen instead (or vice-versa if you are currently using aspen). Should you be allergic to both types of wood bedding, you can use paper-based beddings but be sure to change the bedding very often and spot-clean pee corners.

 

Tallgrass Rattery does NOT endorse fleece bedding. Fleece has zero ammonia control properties, which can quickly lead to sick animals.
There are many different types of food available for ASF. Two of the best brands are Mazuri and Oxbow (Adult Rat and Mouse). In addition to a steady block, ASFs need a good source of protein. The easiest source is black oil sunflower seeds. Simply mix in with your block (about 1:5 sunflower seeds:block) or offer once a week instead of block. Fed sparingly, the following make great ASF treats: veggies, fruits. Avoid seed mixes as they will happily pick and choose what they like which is often the yummy unhealthy stuff.
 
At TGR we feed Producer’s Pride Hog Feed (the red bag) which can be found at The Tractor Supply for about $13 and is 50 lbs of food. It has almost the exact same ingredients as Mazuri, at a fraction of the cost and without BHA. This is by far the best bang for your buck, but if you only have a few pets may be way too much food (you can purchase smaller quantities from us at 50 cents/pound if you’d like). We also regularly feed sunflower seeds.

Really easy toys come from trash: toilet paper rolls (cut open to avoid ASF getting stuck), egg cartons, small boxes (rip off bottom to avoid pee-soaking), or ripped up paper for extra nesting material. There are so many YouTube videos on how to repurpose stuff for toys so I won’t go into too much detail here. Just make sure to change out toys/hides before it starts stinking as paper and boxes soak up pee and that built up ammonia can lead to sick soft furs.

One of the easiest forms of enrichment is treat balls (wrapping up in paper or hiding in paper rolls) or simply scatter-feeding. There is nothing wrong with having your pets work for their food. This works their brains and keeps them active physically as well.

Most ASF will enjoy getting out of their cage for a time as well, so feel free to pick them up and set them in your lap or in a designated play space they can’t escape from (tub, table, large box/bin). Always make sure to supervise during free-roam time and remember that ASF prefer quiet areas, and can get spooked easily. Do not take your ASF out in public, as it is simply too easy to lose them and if taken to a pet store they could easily pick up diseases from animals there.

How many ASF should I keep? This a common question, and one that has many answers. First off, one should never get more ASF than they have the time or money for. While fairly cheap and easy to care for, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. The best number for a new owner is three soft furs, otherwise known as a trio. ASF are highly social animals and should never be housed alone, and getting a trio ensures that should one pass away, the remaining are not alone. Once you get down to one/two ASF you will have to make the decision to bring more into your household (or mice), or perhaps give away the remaining single soft fur either back to TGR if from us, or to another home that has mice/ASF.

 

Soft furs do great with mice companions, and can be housed singly with female mice, or in pairs with male mice. Fancy mice and ASF cannot breed, but do love to cuddle and clean one another. Male mice will still try to breed with ASF, so that is why two females per male mouse is recommended so the female does not get overwhelmed/annoyed. It is better to introduce the ASF with mice when young, otherwise slow introductions might be necessary depending on the temperament of the mice.

Adopting

Only knowledgeable homes are able to take home new pets from me. I will not adopt to you if you have obviously not done research on your new pet, so please use this page to help you do just that! You must fill out the following adoption questionnaire and provide proof of proper housing before you can adopt.

Thank you for choosing TGR!