Teach your pet rat to dunk a basketball

Teaching a rat this trick is way easier than you’d think. “Playing basketball?” For sure! You can even teach your rat to paint! Watching rats play basketball is most probably one of the most fun things to do – you will be amazed just how clever these little critters can be! This exercise is used to teach psychology at many universities. The trick simply teaches your rat to pick up an item and place it into a container.


What you need There are cute basketball hoops on the market for rats, but all you really need is a masking tape roll or a small container, and a light, easy-to-pick-up object – even a ball of rolled-up paper will do.



  1. First, he needs to learn to pick up the item. Place it in front of him and reward any interaction or interest he shows.
  2. If he shows no interest, rub some treat on the item or move it around. Reward any interaction or interest he shows.
  3. Keep treating him for any interaction with the item and, eventually, he will pick it up.
  4. Once he picks it up, place a shallow container, such as a masking tape roll, close to him. Place treats inside it. Now, lure him to pick up the item and place it inside the container. Reward him even if he misses.
  5. Keep repeating the pattern of picking up the item and dropping it into the container. As he gets more competent at this, move your container further away, and repeat.
  6. Once he is ready, you can suspend your container above the ground, and gradually raise it as he progresses.


Keep practising You can continue to raise your basketball hoop, masking tape roll or container, and watch your rodent friend become a basketball pro!


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