14 Ways to keep your Rats cool in Summer

By Small Furries - June 05, 2019



Just as we all start getting used to winter weather, its summer again before you know it and now instead of trying to keep your house warm for them, you have to keep it as cool as possible!

Rats are prone to suffering from heat stress and heat stroke so it is essential to take all the necessary steps to keep them as cool as possible.

''Purchase any device that calculates the humidity and keep it around 55%, if the air is too wet or too dry it can cause a respiratory flare up! The temperature of their environment should be between 18 - 25 Degrees Celsius (65-80 F) Try to stay down the colder end as rats can use blankets and each other to keep warm, but can very easily overheat. '' (Complete guide for new rat owners 2019)

Heat Stress Symptoms
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive Drinking
  • Laying Flat and Stretched out (Pancake)
  • Warm to touch
  • Panting ( Excessive Breathing ) 

Open windows
Opening windows can let in a nice breeze and cool down a room quickly, but remember that rats cannot be in a direct draft so it is always best to position your rat cage away from the windows in the room! This also ensures they will never be in direct sunlight either.

Fan
Although rats do not sweat, and you should not put the fan directly on the cage, a moving fan can help to cool down a room and in turn cool down your rats!

Air Conditioning
If you live in a warm place, you will likely have air conditioners in your house. Leaving the air conditioning on during the day will let you work in peace, knowing your rats are nice and cool at home.

Curtains Closed
Closing the curtains in the room where your rat cage is can definitely keep the room much cooler, preventing the warmth of the sun getting in and heating up the room.

Pea Fishing
Pea fishing is when you fill a bowl with room temperature water and put in handful of peas. Rats love peas and will put their head and hands into the water to try to fish them out! This is great for cooling them down and let them enter the water at their own pace instead of forcing them to take a bath to cool down. The tip when it comes to warm weather is to use frozen peas! They will naturally cool the water and are a nice frozen treat to cool your rats down.

Cold Slab
Tiles or slabs can be put in the fridge overnight and used in the morning the next day. They are great for holding heat or cold and will stay cool the majority of the day. They are not dangerous to your rats and they will be very grateful to have something cool to lay on!

Frozen Water Bottle
Another object rats will lay across is a frozen water bottle, wrap it in material so the ice does not burn them and replace every few hours, or as they defrost! Alternatively, you can place the bottles on top of the cage and the cold air will move down into the cage!

Ice
Popping a few ice cubes in one of their water bottles will drastically cool the water down, but do not put ice in all the bottles in case one of them does not like it or it is actually too cold, always leave a room temperature water bottle available.

Fruit Ice Cubes
Freezing food into ice cubes can be the perfect treat your rats need to cool down. Use any fruit/veg from my safe food lists and give them a few to play with when it gets too warm. Keep an eye on the ice cubes as they could melt into the cage and leave a wet patch!

Ice Pod
Ice pods can be purchased online and will hold the cold a lot longer than a frozen water bottle or tiles but they are made from plastic so you must keep an eye on your rats to ensure they do not chew through it!

Hammocks
Remove any boxes or closed in beds and replace them with hammocks, allowing your rats to be comfortable but stay cool! This also helps the airflow around the cage and means they have somewhere outside to sleep and do not have to snooze on the floor!

Grooming
Rats do not usually need grooming but giving them a quick brush down will remove any excess hairs and allow them to cool down quicker.

Outdoors Playpen
Having your rats outdoors is never recommended but if you can get your hands on a spare cage or a pen with a roof on you will be able to put your rats outside in shaded areas to cool down! Make sure the shaded area is cooler than inside the house using a thermometer.

Damp Towel
A damp towel or wipe will cool down quickly and can be used on your rats back to add a layer of water to them, this will then also cool and help keep your rats temperature down.  Rats cool down though their tails, so wiping a damp towel across their tail will also help regulation. You may also want to freeze a damp towel and place it above the cage, allowing the cool air to move down into the cage!

Watery Foods
Giving your rats access to food such as fruits and vegetables from my safe food list, which have a high amount of water in them, will ensure they are getting enough fluids, ensure there are enough water bottles around too!

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Small Furries 2019 Extended Diploma in Animal Management

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References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/
http://www.ratbehavior.org
http://www.ratfanclub.org/

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