The rat enclosure must be in the right place so that the rodents feel comfortable. There are a few things to consider, such as room temperature or solar radiation. Read here where to best position the rat cage.
Rats are demanding pets. Your enclosure not only has to be the right size and set up in an exciting way for you – but it also has to be in the right place. Temperature fluctuations and drafts can be dangerous for rodents. Read here why this is the case and how to find the right location for the rat cage.
Prerequisites for the right location
Unlike guinea pigs, for example, rats should never be kept outside. The rats should not even leave the house or apartment temporarily – only a visit to the vet is the exception.
Rats need a quiet place because they are easily stressed by noise. The cage should therefore be placed where the rats will not be disturbed by loud music or a loud TV.
The rat enclosure must also be in a draught-free, non-sunny place. You can use a candle to test whether your rats are exposed to drafts. Once you have found the right place for the rat cage, don’t place it on the floor but raise it a little so that the rats can see their surroundings.
The right room temperature
When placing the rat enclosure, you also need to pay attention to the room temperature. Rats feel most comfortable between 18 and 22 °C. Below 18 °C, respiratory diseases are favored, to which pet rats are very susceptible anyway.
If the rat has to go to the vet, the temperature must not fluctuate too much during transport. You can keep the rats warm with a hot water bottle or a blanket.
Rats generally tolerate temperatures above 22 °C (in summer) well. From about 30 °C, however, there is a risk of life-threatening heatstroke. On hot days you urgently need to cool down!
Cool down in the rat cage
Despite the right location, it can get too hot in the rat cage. To cool down, you should air out early in the morning and late in the evening. This is how the room temperature drops. In the meantime, the rats are best temporarily housed somewhere else. Use blinds or curtains to darken the cooled room so that it remains cool.
It is not advisable to use ventilators, as rats can become ill with the respiratory tract even with a slight draft. Instead, you can place bowls of water in the cage for the rats to cool off voluntarily and independently. However, these bowls must never be so deep that the rats could drown in them.
You can also offer your rats chopped-up watery fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers or watermelons. This ensures a refreshing cool down in summer.
In the place where the cage is to be placed, the humidity must also be right. The ideal humidity for rats – just like for humans – is around 50 to 55%. You can measure the value using a hygrometer. You can use the following tools to increase the humidity in the room:
- water bowls
- indoor fountain
- Wet towels
Too low humidity can be dangerous for rats: their mucous membranes are irritated, which can lead to a cold more quickly. It is therefore important to position the rat cage exactly where the temperature and humidity are adapted to the animals.