Your Pet Rat Squeaked? This Is What It Means!

Pet rats are mostly silent, or at least it’s what it looks like.

They actually do communicate a lot with each other, it’s just out of our hearing range!

So it might seem weird if you hear your pet rat squeak once in a while. It’s rare, but it can happen.

Why did my pet rat squeak? Your pet rat is calling for your help or giving you a warning. Most of the time, they’re letting you know they’re either in pain or scared of something.

The only time you’ll hear your pet rat, vocally, is because they want you to hear them, so do pay attention to it.

They can even squeak when being groomed (among other reasons).

But we’ll talk more about pet rats squeaking in this article, so you know what it means and what to do!

Reasons For Your Pet Rat To Squeak

Pet rats communicate with each other constantly, but it’s so low we can’t really hear them.

We do see rats making lots of noises in movies, so it’s a common misconception that they do squeak all the time. But the truth is they’ll only transmit audible squeaks when your pet rats need to communicate with you.

Most of the time they do it out of emergency since they might be either in fear or in pain.

Pain Squeak

Your rattie might squeak in pain when handled, for example. It might also happen if they accidentally fall from a higher place in their cage or hurt their paws, meaning it hurts when walking around.

Essentially, just like us, our pet rats will complain if they’re not feeling well.

If you handle your pet rat and they squeak or if you happen to hear them squeak from time to time, it’s good to take a look at them.

Check if your pet rat is injured. Handle them gently and try to see the source of pain.

Your rattie will let you know where the pain is coming from by squeaking when you touch the injured place.

Now, your pet rat might have a small injury that will pass with time, however, it’s always good to contact your vet or make an appointment so a professional can do a proper check-up!

This way you’ll be able to learn what to do next time and also know how to treat your little rodent friend.

Fear Squeak

Pet rats are prey animals, for that reason, they scare very easily.

New cages, new home, new people. These are very stressful situations for pet rats. Some won’t show it as much or can be calmer in certain situations while others… might be much more vocal about their situation!

For example, when your pet rats are scared, they may squeak when being touched. This is a fairly normal reaction and there’s no need to worry about it.

Just put yourself in their shoes.

Imagine you’re a tiny creature and a gigantic hand comes from above to handle you. I’d be scared too!

Just give them time. They won’t react this way to you forever. Put their cage in a place where you spend most of your time so your pet rats get used to your presence.

Slowly start interacting with them. Treats usually do the trick!

Get close to your ratties and offer small bits of yummy food so they come to you and start seeing your hands as something good instead of fearing them.

You’ll see that in no time your pet rats will see you as part of the family!

Not All Pet Rats Squeaks Are Cause For Alarm!

Some pet rats are just natural squeakers. If you touch them they let a quick squeak, if another pet rat gets too close, they squeak. You get the idea!

Not all pet rats are the same and some might be more talkative than others. It doesn’t always mean they’re under stress or pain.

Sometimes they’re just letting you know they’re done with being handled.

pet rat being held by a person, not squeaking
Being held or groomed can cause a pet rat to squeak!

For example, something I learned is that pet rats tend to squeak when being groomed by their companions.

Pet rats groom each other out of care, but out of dominance as well. Sometimes the dominant pet rat can be a bit too rough with the grooming and so the other rattie will let out a squeak to let their partner know.

It’s mostly a ‘hey, stop that’ warning to the other pet rat.

A way for them to communicate.

Unless the dominant rat doesn’t stop or you hear constant squeaks, there’s really no reason for you to intervene. Let them figure it out.

So, sometimes your pet rat might also squeak when being handled by you without being in pain.

Sometimes your ratties are just letting you know they’re done with being handled and rather go back to their own activities.

If you’re sure you’re not harming your pet rat by, for example, holding them too tightly, or if they aren’t wounded, you don’t need to worry too much.

Just keep an ear out for rat squeaks in the next few days and if they persist, take them to the veterinarian, so you know if there’s something wrong.

Rat Squeaking With Breathing Noise

As we’ve seen, so far, most squeaks are pretty normal and just a way for pet rats to communicate with your or their companions.

Now, if your rat is squeaking and making strange breathing noises, this is a cause to be more alarmed. 

Pet rats are very prone to respiratory diseases.

So if you notice constant squeaking, accompanied by breathing noises, I suggest you take them to the vet as soon as possible! 

It is not normal for you to hear your pet rat breathing, so really better safe than sorry.

Whenever you notice breathing noises from them, contact your veterinary so they can tell you what’s happening and how to treat it.

This is the kind of thing that is good to catch sooner, so your pet rat won’t suffer too much, but so they have a higher chance of getting rid of the problem.

Since pet rats are very fragile animals, it’s good to always keep an eye on them!

Squeaking While Fighting Another Pet Rat

First of all, take the term “fighting” with a grain of salt!

Most pet rats won’t fight others aggressively where it ends with blood.

The only time that might happen is during mating season and because there’s a female pet rat among males. If that happens though, do separate them for a while and try to keep an eye out for their disputes.

And remember that you shouldn’t have both genders in the same cage unless they’re spayed or you want to indeed breed pet rats.

With that out of the way, most of the time “fighting” is actually just friendly wrestling. This is when pet rats jump at each other and start wrestling throughout the cage.

It’s a way for them to play and bond with each other and, in fact, you can also play wrestle with your pet rats by using your hands/fingers!

During these wrestles, pet rats tend to squeak here and there to communicate annoyances with each other. Maybe the other pet rat is playing too rough. Maybe they are tired of wrestling and want to stop.

It’s perfectly normal to hear your pet rats squeak when wrestling most of the time! Just watch out to see if they are getting actually hurt by looking for wounds or blood.

Pet Rat Boggling Eyes While Squeaking

If your pet rat is boggling their eyes while making small chirping or squeaking sounds, it most likely means they’re happy!

Although scary when seeing it for the first time, eye-boggling is a very common behavior that happens mostly when your pet rat is content.

You might notice this when they’re eating their favorite treat for example!

Now, the sound ratties make while boggling is much softer and quieter than an actual squeak.

They will just be glad they are being petted or getting a tasty treat. You will also hear their teeth grinding up and down, which is completely normal.

Now, as with everything, if you notice they are squeaking intensely, just let them go!

In this case, it might mean they are very stressed out and don’t know what to do. It is, for example, very common to happen when they are forcibly given medicine.

If you need to medicate your pet rats, given the chance, it’s good to mix their medicine in yummy treats or even fruit/veggies purée (like the ones we give to children/toddlers), so you don’t need to put them under extra stressful situations.

This way, they’re getting treatment without even knowing! 

Related Questions

Why is my rat hissing? Pet rats might hiss when under stress. For example, it might happen when trying to introduce new pet rats to your home. Even if they’re in separate cages, your pet rats might not take too kindly to their new place or even future companions. This is where the hiss comes into action. 

It is fairly normal to happen, however, if it does it’s good to change their situation, so your pet rats feel more comfortable.

Why is my pet rat making a chirping sound? This is mostly a way of your pet rat telling you they’re happy. The chirping sound might occur while being groomed by other pet rats or while being petted. It’s their way of showing contentment!

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