How to Crochet a Rat Nest Cozy

How to Crochet a Rat Nest Cozy

As a rat owner, you want your pets to be happy, healthy, and comfortable. One way to achieve this is by crocheting a cozy rat nest for them to sleep and play in. Crocheting a rat nest is easy, fun, and allows you to customize it to your rat’s needs. In this guide, I will walk you through the steps and considerations for crocheting the perfect rat nest cozy.

Choosing Yarn for Your Rat Nest

The first step is selecting the right yarn. There are a few factors to consider when choosing yarn for a rat nest:

  • Fiber type – Stick to natural fibers like cotton, wool, alpaca, or bamboo. These are safer if chewed on versus synthetic acrylic yarns.

  • Yarn weight – Lightweight yarns like fingering or DK weight work well. They create a cozy, breathable structure. Steer clear of bulky yarns that may overwhelm a small rat.

  • Color – Opt for light, neutral colors or avoid dye altogether. Bright dyed yarns could potentially stain your rat’s fur when chewed or nested in.

  • Softness – Prioritize soft, smooth yarns. The nest should be gentle against your pet’s sensitive skin.

After considering these factors, I like to use an undyed light fingering or DK weight wool or cotton yarn. Alpaca is also a wonderful soft option if you can find it.

Necessary Crochet Skills

You will need to know some basic crochet skills to complete a rat nest. These include:

  • Chain stitch – This forms the foundation of your crochet project.

  • Single crochet stitch – Worked into the chains, this stitch creates a tight, durable fabric.

  • Increasing – Working multiple stitches into one creates increases to shape the nest.

  • Decreasing – Working two stitches together reduces stitches to taper the nest walls.

If you need a refresher on any of these essential skills, check out online video tutorials to support your learning. Crocheting squares for practice also helps improve skills.

Crochet Hook Size

Selecting the right crochet hook size helps achieve a well-fitted nest with an appropriate gauge. Aim for a lightweight, breathable fabric rather than overly stiff and dense.

For fingering weight yarn, size B/1 or C/2 hooks work well. With DK yarn, size D/3 to F/5 hooks are ideal. Go up or down a hook size as needed to match the recommended gauge of your yarn.

Measuring Your Rat

Before starting, you will need to measure your rat to customize the nest size. Use a flexible measuring tape to measure around the widest part of your rat’s body right behind the front legs.

Add an extra 1-2 inches to this measurement for ease and wiggle room. This will be the finished circumference of the base of your rat nest cozy.

Crocheting the Base

The bottom of the nest provides a supportive foundation.

  1. Create a magic circle ring. Chain 2 to count as your first half double crochet.

  2. Work 6-8 half double crochets into the ring.

  3. On the next round, increase each stitch by crocheting two half double crochets into every stitch around. This increases the circle’s size.

  4. Repeat this increase round until the circle reaches the circumference measurement of your rat plus ease.

  5. Finish off the base by working one round without increasing.

The base should be a flat circle matching your rat’s body width when finished.

Working the Sides

With the bottom complete, it’s time to build up the nest walls:

  1. Chain 1 and single crochet into each stitch around to create the first side row.

  2. Continue to crochet circles, decreasing occasionally to shape a rounded, bowl-like form.

  3. Work 4-6 rows, or until the nest measures about 3 inches tall. This provides enough room while remaining cozy.

  4. For tapering, crochet decrease rows by working two stitches together evenly spaced around.

  5. Finish with a row of single crochet without decreases.

Adding a Roof

The roof helps contain nesting material and hide your rat when they burrow inside.

  1. Continue single crocheting in a spiral, working increases to create a rounded roofline.

  2. When the roof reaches about 2 inches tall at the center, work decrease rows to taper it down to meet the sides.

  3. Finish off leaving a long tail to sew roof seam.

Sewing Opening Closed

  1. With yarn needle, thread the roof tail through both layers of the opening at roof and base.

  2. Pull to close snugly and stitch in place across the gap.

  3. Weave in the end to secure it.

The nest is now fully closed and ready for stuffing!

Adding Stuffing

The final step is lightly stuffing the nest for comfort and structure.

  • Use polyfil stuffing, shredded paper bedding, fleece strips, or other safe nesting materials. Do not overstuff.

  • Place a pinch into the bottom, then add small handfuls up the sides.

  • Loosely fill the roof, leaving an empty nesting cavity in the center.

Enjoy Your Custom Rat Nest!

With some basic crochet skills, rat-safe yarn, and custom sizing, you can create a cozy nest perfect for your pets. Have fun selecting colors and get creative crocheting different shapes like rounds or squares. Your rats will love playing, sleeping, and hiding away in their new handmade home.