Your pet needs to get a night of good sleep; therefore, most pets, like human beings, require less light during the night to sleep without any distractions. Covering a pet's cage during the night is one way to ensure the light does not disturb your pet's sleep.
So, should you cover a rat cage at night? There is no need to cover your rat's cage at night unless you are using the room and need to keep the lights on. Rats are nocturnal, meaning they are active during the night and sleep during the day. However, pet rats are crepuscular, meaning they are active during the evening and early morning.
They will stay up for some time during the night and also sleep for a few hours. Therefore, if you are going to use the room during your rat's sleeping time, you can use a blanket to cover the cage to reduce the light inside the cage.
Even though many people are keeping rats as pets, taking care of them is not that easy. Rats may seem low maintenance, but there are certain things you need to control, such as lighting to make your rat comfortable and stress-free. Read on to find out more on whether you can leave rats in the dark and if you should cover the cage during the day.
As much as it is fun spending time with pets, at some point, you have to leave the house for other reasons such as work or school. You cannot take your pets with you everywhere you go, and you cannot hire a sitter to take care of them every day. If you own pet rats, you might be wondering if it is okay to leave them in the dark or you have to leave the lights on for your pet rats.
You can leave your pet rats in the dark because they prefer to live in the dark. In the wild, rats burrow into the ground or live in thick bushes with minimum lighting; therefore, leaving your rats in the dark is not a bad thing. A few reasons why rats prefer to leave in the dark include safety concerns, better eyesight, and excessive light causes stress, among others.
In the wild, rats have numerous predators such as snakes, weasels, birds of prey, and felines. Darkness helps the rats hide from their predators, and when you keep them in a bright room, they feel exposed. Leaving your rats in the dark makes them feel secure and can be active without worrying about predators attacking them. Therefore, when you leave your rats at home, make sure you leave them in a dark room or place their cage in a place with less access to natural light.
Rats are good hunters and scavengers because they have good eyesight in the dark. As nocturnal animals, rats are awake during the night, where they move around dark alleys and houses looking for food. Pet rats are usually active in the evening and early morning and will also be active for some time during the day. Darkness can help simulate the natural environment the rats are used to, keeping them active and comfortable.
Rats are not used to excessive light, and if you leave them in a room with lights, they will be uncomfortable. Rats are very sensitive to light and keeping them in a brightly lit room is not good for them. Excessive light can also disrupt their normal day and night cycle, which could adversely affect their health.
Rats sleep for close to 12 hours, and if you keep the lights on for too long, you rats might not know when the day ended, and night began. If your rats do not get enough sleep, they will be stressed and cranky and start being aggressive.
Rats love to play and interact with their companions in the dark rather than in the light. Rats play fight when they are juveniles and will also do it a few times when they are adults. Rats can only play fight when they feel safe, and that is when there is minimum light in their cage.
If you leave the light on, your rats will not socially interact with each other because they are worried about their safety. If you just got your rats, it is even better to keep your rats in total darkness so that they can feel secure in their new environment.
Light changes can also influence your rats' breeding cycles, and research shows that proportions of light or darkness can influence ovulation and gestation length in rats. The more light in the cage, the less likely it is that your rats will breed. If you intend to breed rats, you should make the cage darker with shorter intervals of light. However, more research is still required to prove that light changes affect breeding in rats conclusively.
Most rats can tolerate light for a few hours, but albino rats are very sensitive to light and should be kept under low light intensity at all times. If you decide to keep albino rats as pets, you must be ready to keep the lights on your house very low.
Excessive light can cause retinal damage to your albino rats because they lack normal pigmentation of the eyes found in other rats. If you suspect your albino rats have retinal damage, reduce the light intensity in the house and take the rats to a vet for treatment.
Shorter nights will increase your rat's heart rate when it wakes up in the morning. If the rat does not see the light after a certain period, they start to develop stress. When you let your rat stay in a dark room for less than twelve hours without seeing the light, it will develop an increased disturbed heart rate. Rats need twelve hours of sleep; therefore, if your rats are on a day and night cycle, ensure day and night are equal.
The best spot to keep your rats' cage is indoors or in a well-insulated outbuilding. Rats may live outside in the wild, but in your home, do not make the mistake of keeping them outside. Keep the cage out of direct sunlight and away from artificial light sources such as televisions and lamps. If you have a large family, keep the cage in a high place, eye level to the tallest person in the house. Rats need to keep an eye on most activities in the house so that they can feel secure.
Rats may prefer to live in the dark, but that does not mean that you should never keep the lights on in your house. If you need to use the room with the rat cage, you can move the cage to another room or use covers to reduce the amount of light in your rats' enclosure. Do not keep your rats' cage in a very busy room. Try to find a room where there is minimal activity. Rats can tolerate up to one hour of human contact, but if you overstay your welcome, the rats might get uncomfortable even if they are used to your presence.
Rats are nocturnal animals who spend the night hunting and foraging and sleeping during the day. Your house may have excess light during the day, and you might be considering covering your rat's cage so that they can sleep.
You can cover your rat's cage if you see the excess light is negatively affecting your pet. Most rats prefer living in dark areas, and you will notice your pet rats spend most of their time in dark areas inside their cages.
Covering your rat's cage also provides your pets with a sense of security. If you live in a busy house with many people, you can also cover the rat's cage. You can use a cardboard box instead of a blanket to cover the cage.
Covering your rat's cage during the day can make it feel comfortable and secure. Rats are nocturnal and sleep during the day when most of their predators, such as birds of prey and felines, hunt for food.
Rats usually sleep inside holes or inside thick bushes where predators cannot easily find them. In your home, rats do not lose this instinct and will still need a dark place for them to sleep. When you cover the cage, the rats will sleep knowing they are safe from predators.
Pet rats are sometimes shy and will only get used to a person's presence after some time. When you have many guests in your house, leaving the cage open can cause stress and discomfort to your rats.
A lot of people approaching the rats' cage will make them feel unsafe and vulnerable. If you cannot move the cage to another room, you can cover it until the guest leaves. You should also inform your guest to refrain from opening the covers every time.
You can use a blanket or a piece of cloth to cover the cage of some common household pets such as birds. However, for pet rats, you need to use a cardboard box because rats usually pull the blanket inside the cage or chew on the blanket from inside the cage. The blanket will not be useful if it has numerous holes that let light inside the cage.
The constant chewing and gnawing can be distracting and annoying if you are working from home. You can place a cardboard box around the rats' cage where the rats cannot reach it but still keep light away.
You should not cover the cage regularly. Rats go to the bathroom inside their cage, and covering the cage prevents fresh air from circulating inside the enclosure. After a few hours, the cage will become stuffy, and if you have not been cleaning it, it will start to smell. Your house will start to smell like rat poop, and pee, and guests might feel uncomfortable staying in your house. Therefore, you should only cover the cage when it is necessary and ensure it is clean before covering it.
Covering the cage also prevents your rats from fighting for dark spaces. If the cage is in a well-lit room, the rats will be looking for dark spots in their cage so that they can rest or sleep. If there are few or just one dark spot in the cage, the rats may become aggressive and fight to control that space.
Covering the cage ensures that all the rats have enough space to feel secure. If the rats keep fighting even after covering the cage, you should separate them as you try and find what causes the fights.
The type of rat you keep as a pet will also determine if you need to cover the cage or leave it open. The hairless rat is a bald rat that has thin, pink skin and usually requires your help to keep it warm. If the temperature in the cage drops below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, your hairless rat could develop serious health complications. You can keep your hairless rat's cage warm by covering it during cold seasons.
Sometimes rats love to explore their surroundings and escape from their cage if it is not locked properly. If you leave the cage uncovered during the day, your rats might want to get out and explore when they wake up. Covering the cage keeps your pet rats inside the cage and reduces the urge to escape. You should ensure the cover does not touch the rats' cage because rats are smart and can use the cover to escape.
All rats prefer to be in dark areas rather than in the light. A dark area increases their chances of survival because they have excellent eyesight and can get away from a predator very fast. Unlike other pets, you do not have to leave the lights on for your rats when you go to work or school. If the lights in your house are too bright, you will come back home to stressed and uncomfortable pets.
Rats also need a day and night cycle and covering the cage can simulate night or day. You can cover the cage with a cardboard box or large blankets. If you are using a blanket, make sure it does not touch the cage, or else you will only find shreds of the blanket after a few hours.
Ensure the cage is clean to avoid trapping awful smells inside the cage. Remove the covers after a few hours to allow the circulation of fresh air because rats can easily develop respiratory health problems if they live in air-tight areas.
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