One of the hardest things to shop for when it comes to our pet rats is WHEELS! We want something that is going to be safe and appropriately sized for our ratties, but we always want something that is easy to clean, easy to mount, and most importantly- SILENT. The biggest problem with most wheels is that they make so much noise! They squeak, creak, and clang. The only other sound that is more annoying is nails down a chalkboard! And oddly enough, when we are trying to sleep is when most rats decide its time to get fit and run on their wheels.
I have been through my fair share of wheels. Wodent Wheels, Silent Spinners, Flying Saucers, wire ones, plastic ones, ones on stands, ones that mount to the cage….and none of them even come close to the wheel I am about to tell you about! I personally will never waste my time or money on another wheel. This is THE Rat Whisperer Approved wheel…and rightly so, as I had a hand in helping its creation! Okay, it was a really small part, as in offering insight as to the specifications of what makes a good rat wheel… the genius behind this wheel is all David Watkins, the owner and operator of My Glider Wheels and More.
I came across David’s wheels while searching eBay for wheels. I was currently using a Petco Wire Mesh wheel, which to be honest is one of the WORST wheels I have ever had! David’s wheels appeared similar in structure and design to the Stealth and Magnum wheels but much more affordable and much better color options (I like color variety!) but they were specifically designed with sugar gliders in mind.
After getting into contact with David, and providing him the requirements needed for a proper rat wheel, since his expertise were sugar gliders, the Velociraptor Type R was born, and I received a complimentary wheel to review.
Its built the same as the Velociraptor wheel already sold for sugar gliders, but with some unique features for rats. It has a dual bearing assembly for a longer life and smoother functioning than the other Raptor model wheels David has manufactured. In other words, this wheel is an investment, sure to last generations and generations of rats.
Like the Stealth or Magnum Wheel, the Velociraptor Type R comes in a variety of colors including black, blue, green, gray, pink, red and yellow AND you have the option of picking one color for the front and another for the back! Mix and match the colors! This wheel will look handsome in any cage. I personally went for pink on pink.
Designed with our ratties chewing habits and safety in mind, the track has been changed from plastic to a 1/4″ poly coated wire track. The spacing of the mesh allows for things like poo and food to fall through, unlike solid track wheels which end up being like pennies in a dryer, tossing them around creating additional noise, a problem common with the popular Wodent Wheels.
The Velociraptor Type R wheel has two standing options- cage mount or PVC stand mount. A word of caution with the cage mount option- you must have a sturdy, quality cage to mount it to. The mount, the weight of the wheel itself and the added weight of your rats may potentially bend or break the bars on your cage at the welds (where the horizontal and vertical bars intersect) unless you are mounting to a sturdy cage. In other words, if you have an old, rusty cage or one with very thin bars, not matter what the spacing, I would advise to go with the stand. I have a Midwest Critter Nation cage and it is perfectly suitable for the cage mount option. No matter which option you go with, you will be provided with assembly and care instructions with your order. It measures roughly 12 inches in diameter, is about 6 inches across (with 4.5 inches of actual track space), and with a side mount, sticks outs from side of cage about 8.5 inches so the bigger your cage is, the better…otherwise I would recommend getting this wheel with a stand and using outside of the cage during playtime. I mounted my wheel about 2.5 inches from the floor of the cage and there is about 2.5 inches from the mounting plate to the wheel to allow rats to easily and safely move under and behind the wheel.
Cleaning and caring for your Velociraptor Type R is quite easy. The best ways to clean is to simply wipe down the back, front and track with a damp rag. You want to avoid getting water into the back, as it will get into the bearing. Additional cleaning recommendations are included with the order. Maintaining the complete silence of your Velociraptor Type R wheel is easy too- just place the wheel on its front, then using an eye dropper or needless syringe, put a few drops of vegetable oil at the base of the aluminum spacer, let it sit for 10 minutes, spin a few times, then turn back over and let sit for an additional 30 minutes. Wipe off and return to cage. Easy peasy (and included in the care instructions)!
So how did the ratties like it? It took a day or so for my lady rats to get on and use it. Compared to other wheels they have had experience with in the past, the Velociraptor Type R has very low resistance, and the nearly friction-less rotation meant that each time they got in, their weight caused a gentle rocking motion, which I think may have confused them slightly at first. However, they quickly adjusted, and now it is not uncommon to find one or more girls using the wheel at most times of the day. In my opinion, the low resistance of this wheel is ideal for rats who have never been exposed to a wheel before- once they are in, walking (and running of course) comes much more naturally to them.
One of the biggest concerns on owners minds is price. The Velociraptor Type R is $45.00 (plus an additional $11 for shipping, so a total of $56). While this might be considered steep for some people, keep in mind that most appropriately sized wheels range from $10 to $30 and in my honest opinion do not even come close to the quality or are nowhere near as quiet as the Velociraptor Type R. That saying “you get what you pay for” is completely accurate here. Sure, you could buy the $20 wheel and save yourself a little money…only to find out it squeaks, has problems with its mounting, or collects poo, food, and urine. From my experience, I have spent three times this amount trying to find the ideal wheel. Take it from me, save yourself the headache (literally), frustration, and money and just get one good quality wheel- The Velociraptor Type R.
Quality: 5 Stars…Top notch, in my opinion, the best! Completely silent due to high quality bearings and design.
Safety: 5 Stars…All aspects of a rat’s safety was taken into consideration with this wheel- safe for feet, back and tails as well as allows rats to move behind and under the wheel safely.
Ease of Assembly: 5 Stars…Easy to get on and off, might need an extra set of hands to hold it up while you mount it, just because the sheer size of this wheel can be cumbersome for some
Ease of Cleaning: 5 Stars…Wipe down daily with damp cloth. I almost gave this one half of a star less because to properly care for the wheel, it does require specific maintenance instructions- for some that might be an issue, but for me, I figure if you want ANYTHING to last, you have to take care of it, so I decided that it was worthy of the full five stars.
Price: 5 Stars…This is well worth the money for the quality of the bearings and mounting plate alone. My husband compared the materials used in the mounting plate to the quality and strength of materials used in hurricane shutter construction, having worked in that field before.
Aesthetics: 5 Stars…You can customize the color combination of the front and back pieces.
Rat’s Response: 5 Stars…All my rats seem to really enjoy this wheel. Even some that did not use a wheel that much in the past, have taken an interest in this one. Its low resistance is perfect for rats not accustom to using a wheel, for young rats or even elderly rats- walking comes very naturally once they are on it.
RAT WHISPERER SCORE: 5 STARS