Are Pet Rats Nocturnal Or Diurnal?

A very common question to ask when choosing pet rats as new companions is if they are Nocturnal or Diurnal. We’ve researched a lot about this when we were choosing a new pet!

So are pet rats nocturnal or diurnal? Pet Rats are Nocturnal. They can adjust their schedule, though, according to the owner, but most of the times they will just stick to their nightly routine.

For us, this isn’t much of an issue, because we work at home and tend to work until very late. So either way, we’d have their company.

For us, usually around 6 pm, they start to wake up and be more active. It can also coincide with the time that you feed them. They can get used to your routines and will be active when you are. But expect activity on their part in the evening and through the whole night.

Do Pet Rats Sleep At Night?

Pet rats like to snooze a lot.

They usually don’t sleep for long hours. They rest with naps, sleeping for about 4 hours, then wake up, eat a snack, groom a bit and then back to sleep. But overall, they’ll be spending most of their time sleeping during the day.

At night, they’ll be more active. Around the time the sun starts to hide, they’ll pop up and be ready to play around. Since we work at home, we have our pet rats in our office. They always have their cage open, so they can roam around freely.

Most of the time, while the sun is up, we won’t see them a lot. Sometimes, they leave their cage and go sleep beneath their covers on the sofa and then we won’t hear or see them until they wake up or we bring their food.

Your pet rats can change their routines, depending on your routine as well. For example, we usually give them new and fresh food at around 7 pm and if we’re late, we’ll know! They got used to that schedule and will know when it’s time for the meal.

From then on it will be a mix of napping, grooming, playing with each other and eating through the whole night. If you get up very early, chances are you’ll still catch them very active!

Are Pet Rats Nocturnal and Do They Sleep At Night - They actually change routines according to their owner!

Something you might note though is that rats that are accompanied by others will sleep less than a lone rat. Since they have one or more partner to play, they’ll have more reasons to play and be active. A lone rat will end up sleeping more because they’re bored.

This is why it is important to get more than one rattie. If it’s your first time having them as pets, the best is to get 2 or more that already know each other and get along. This way it’s easier for you to introduce them to their new home!

So yes, they will sleep at night, but not as much as during the day. They’ll play around, take a sip of water, realize they’re tired from all the playing and nap for a bit. Repeat!

Do Rats Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

It sounds scary and creepy, but yes they can do that!

It doesn’t only sound, but it is actually rather scary. You look at the cage and your pet rat has their eyes open or partially opened, but very still.

You pet them, you call for them and they don’t care. But, when you look closely you notice you don’t need to worry. They’re breathing and alive! I’m not entirely sure why they do this. They could be in a very deep sleep and since the eye won’t notice light nor movement, it won’t make a difference. As the eye becomes uncomfortable, it will close.

Just like us, their eyes need lubrification and that comes from their eyelids. So as the eye becomes drier, the eyelid will close to provide the needed lubrification

In any case, it might happen. Most of the times, the eyes can be only partially open. But, as long as they’re breathing, it is certain that your rattie is very relaxed and comfortable.

Don’t worry though, your rat will be sleeping with their eyes closed more often than with them opened. As I said before, rats tend to sleep through small naps, so they can’t go into a deep sleep that easily.

Do Pet Rats Sleep Together?

Yes, this is very common in pet rats.

If they aren’t sleeping together they might not be getting along or one of them can be sick. But if they aren’t showing any other signs of illness, don’t worry about that option, some (rare) pet rats don’t get along with others.

It’s just like us, sometimes we don’t get along with someone else. Rats can have trouble accepting one another, especially if they’re introduced and forced to live in the same space too quickly. They need to get used to each other.

But either way, rats are very sociable and will get along fine. They live in groups and will always look for each other to sleep. A bundle of warm fur, all cozy in their sleep.

As mentioned before, if you own more than one pet rat, you’ll notice they’ll be way more active than a single rat. They like to have others to play and will be more entertained that way. That’s why it is highly advisable to get more than one pet rat. Preferably of the same sex, if you’re not a breeder.

A lone rat will become too bored without companionship and spend more time sleeping. Even if you play with them and give lots of attention, it’s not the same.

All in all, rats will sleep together at all times. I honestly don’t think I’ve seen mine sleeping in separate places.

Sometimes one will decide to go to another box or the sofa. Once the other realizes, they’ll get up and follow.

Are Pet Rats Noisy At Night?

As I mentioned, our ratties are in our office, so when we go to sleep we barely notice their noise.

Pet rats tend to be more active at night, save for some that will adjust their schedule, according to yours.

I don’t think they are noisy animals, but obviously, some things will make some noise. The things that we hear most from them is when they drink water, chew on their food or when they feel like digging the litter box. Some pet rats like to scuffle at times, especially males, so that will be audible as well.

None of these activities take too long or do too much noise. It all depends on how much noise is too much for you. Some people have their pet rats in their bedroom and I wouldn’t advise it. Not because of the noise at night, but because I think our pet rats should be where we spend most of our time when we’re at home.

For us, we spend most of our time in the office, so that’s where they are. They like to have company and it is easier to create a bond with them that way. Usually, we spend time in our bedroom only for sleeping, so maybe the living room or other division is a better place to keep them.

Pet rats can be somewhat noisy at night, but nothing major. Digging or a squeaky wheel can make some noise though.

In general, I think that the only things that can be more problematic, in terms of noise are the water drinker and the wheels. Those bottles with a metallic end can make some noise. It doesn’t bother us, but if it’s a problem for you, you can leave a container with some water, instead.

As for the wheel, some of them can be very silent (like this very resistant one), so it won’t bother you or your pet rats as much!

They don’t like certain sounds, so even for them, the sound of the wheel can be uncomfortable!

Additional Questions

Do rats like the dark or light? Bright light can cause stress and even harm their very sensitive eyes. They prefer to sleep in the dark and even when awake, they tend to be out of direct light.

How do rats see at night? Rats have a terrible eyesight. In the dark, they mostly use their whiskers to help them navigate around! Even during the day or with some light in the room, the whiskers are a big part of their eyesight.

Do rats avoid light? They’re very comfortable with light overall, especially if they’re used it and as long as it’s not too bright or direct. When sleeping, they might avoid light and prefer to hide in a dark place. But this also depends on the rat’s personality!

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Are Pet Rats Nocturnal Or Diurnal - Everything you need to know about pet rats!

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