Sleep is important for every creature. While some prefer to sleep during the night, others sleep during the day. When we go to bed, it’s time for the creatures of the night to wake up. For nocturnal animals, the night is the most important and exciting time. They can stay hidden in the dark and avoid many dangers that could be a threat during the day.
As a whole, rats are crepuscular and nocturnal animals. That means that they usually come out when the sun sets and do most of their activities during the night and go back to sleep when we start our days.
If you are wondering how you spend time with your pet, even though you would prefer to sleep at night, and whether you can keep your rats in your room with you, or if they make too much noise during the night, you can find all these answers in this article.
What Does Nocturnal Mean?
Animals can be nocturnal, crepuscular, or diurnal. Nocturnal means that a creature does most of its activities, during the night. Crepuscular means that an animal is most active at dusk and dawn. And diurnal means, that an animal is active during the day.
Many animals that have a lot of predators tend to be nocturnal. They use the dark at night to stay hidden and depend highly on their smell to find their way to food.
Nocturnal animals have adapted all of their senses to this rhythm. That means that they can be small a lot better than humans, and see well at night. But the eyes are sensitive to light and they don’t like direct sunlight in their eyes.
Being nocturnal does not only affect the senses, but also the entire organism. The whole body is adapted to work perfectly at night.
If a nocturnal creature is being kept awake during the day, every day, they will get stressed and sick.
Are Rats Nocturnal?
Rats are naturally crepuscular and nocturnal creatures. But they are survival artists and adapt quickly to new conditions. Sometimes rats can be seen outdoors during the day. If they are being disturbed during the night, or if they notice that the food supply is better during the day, they will start to change their sleeping rhythm.
Therefore it does not come as a surprise, that many pet rats adapt their rhythm to their owners. My rats used to be very active in the morning until around 9 or 10 am, sleep at noon, and wake up in the afternoon around 4 pm to play with us. They were also active during the night, but I was still able to interact a lot with my pet rats.
How Can I Spend Time With My Rat During the Day?
Now that you know that your pet rat is a nocturnal animal, you might be wondering, how you can spend time with your rat if he or she is sleeping all day long.
Don’t worry, you will be able to spend plenty of time with your rat in the morning and in the evening. A pet rat is a perfect animal for every person who spends the day at school, or at work and has time in the morning and evening.
As a whole, you can spend the morning and the late afternoon and evening with your rats. They sleep at noon, but they also adapt their daily rhythms to their owners and will wait for you in the morning and evening to play with them.
When you wake up in the morning, your rats will be awake, too. They will be delighted to see you. You can open the cage and let them run around, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. You can have your own breakfast (and share it with your pets) while watching and playing with your energetic little friends.
At noon rats usually sleep, but they will come out every now and then to eat. If you are at home, you will see them sometimes, but they won’t run around a lot, and rather eat and go back to sleep. If you decide to play with them during the day, they will be happy to join you, but after a while, they will want to go back to their cage.
The late afternoon and evening is the best time to spend with your rats. They are well-rested and ready to play. At dusk, they have a lot of energy and you can play with them, or train them. It’s a great time to let your rats run free in a wider area.
Are Rats Active All Night?
Both pet rats and rats nature are nocturnal by nature. Domesticated rats tend to adapt their rhythms to their owners and are very active at dawn and dusk as well. A rat usually sleeps for around 15 hours every day.
As a whole, bot pet rats and wild rats are typically active all night long.
Most of the sleeping time is during the day, and wild rats tend to be active all night long. Domesticated rats on the other hand do sometimes sleep for a while during the night, as well, even though most of their activities will take place at dawn, dusk, and during the night.
Are Rats Noisy at Night?
While you are sleeping at night, your pet rats reorganize the cage, searching for food, communicate, run around, climb, jump, and play with each other.
As a whole, rats are not noisy pets, but depending on the substrate and bedding you use, you will hear them rustle through the cage.
Rats are not the kind of animals that will try to get your attention by making noises. They have each other to play and communicate with and will spend most of their time searching for food and exploring the cage.
Since rats communicate through ultrasounds, you won’t hear them because it is just outside our range of hearing. But if the rustling, sniffing, and crunching of food disturb your sleep, you should consider placing the cage in a different room.
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂