Do Pet Rats Need Light at Night?

Do rats need light at night

It’s often asked whether rats need light or not. This question is important to discuss for households considering purchasing a pet rat for the first time. You’ll need to know what environment your pet rat needs and whether additional lighting is required.

Knowing what your pet rat needs, such as whether or not rats need light at night, might help you decide if a rat is a good choice for you. We’re going to discuss this topic at great length to help you learn more about the environment a pet rat needs today.

Do pet rats need light?

Some pet rats are more sensitive to bright lights, such as the albino pet rat. Rats are naturally nocturnal animals, which means your rat will be most active from dusk to dawn. They’ll sleep most of the day and only come out to play or engage once you’ve finished dinner time.

Reduce stress to your rat’s eyes

Having a bright light, even direct sunlight, around your pet rat can cause stress on their eyes. The last thing you want to do as a pet rat owner is to stress out or ruin your pet rat’s eyesight. It’s easy to think that your rats need a light at night, but their eyes are adept at adjusting to the darkness.

Since rats are born and raised to live and hunt during the darkest of hours, having a bright light near the pet rat’s cage at night will deteriorate their natural eyesight and lifestyle patterns.

Some light is acceptable

Rats do not need constant light to be healthy, but having a little light near their cage will not harm them. Your pet rat is most sensitive to bright lights and direct sunlight.

You may find that your rat enjoys wandering out of her hideaway bed to say hello to you during the daylight hours. Therefore pet rats can be around subtle light, such as indirect sunlight or low lights in the home, but they don’t need a consistent light near their cage to live a fulfilling life.

Pet rats and flashing lights

Not only will bright lights stress your pet rats, but you may find they hide to avoid flashing lights. Any dramatic lighting you have in the room where you plan to house your pet rat could cause him a significant amount of stress.

You’ll find that pet rats raised in a pet shop are more tolerable to lighting and schedule changes. Most pet rats housed in pet stores have grown accustomed to being awake during the day when customers frequent the shop and ask to hold them.

Ideal pet rat environment

A pet rat needs a comfortable space with about 2 square feet per rat. Rats are social animals and need housing in pairs or larger groups. They like to snuggle up close to each other in tight spaces and prefer dusk hours over the middle of day hours.

The direct sunlight that comes into your home should not reach your rats’ cage directly—direct sunlight can cause a dramatic increase in body temperature and undue stress on their eyes. 

Be sure to place your pet rat’s cage in an area where their nighttime adventures won’t wake the family.

Thoughts on pet rats needing light

Pet rats don’t need constant light. They will do just fine in a breathable cage that allows air to flow through with little to no lighting in the room. The ideal lighting for a healthy rat is low and comfortable for their sensitive eyes. You’ll want to have some light in the pet rats room so you can see when you go to feed them or visit with them.

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Emily Sanders

I'm Emily Sanders, an avid lover of pet rats and small household pets. Most of all, I adore my fancy pet rats and love sharing insightful and helpful information with others willing to learn about rats. If you're new to the world of pet rats, you'll find many of my pet rat guides of great use for getting acquainted. I hope to help you become an avid pet rat lover too.

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