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Rats And Hot Weather

Rats - Hot Weather Care

Here are a few very important points to remember. Rats are very prone to overheating. They can't sweat like we do, and so any excess heat is lost through their tails. You can tell if your rat is overheating by feeling it's tail. If it's hot, or even warmer than you think is right, cool it down straight away. A heavy, shallow bowl of cool water will be like heaven for your heated rat. They often like to sit in the water, just their tail, bottom and paws immersed is enough to cool them down.

ALWAYS make sure that there is a good supply of fresh, cool water for your rats to drink. Gravity bottles need to be refreshed, and the nozzle cleaned every day in warm weather. If your rat has a bowl to drink out of, make sure you keep the water - not only cool and fresh - but clean too. Rats will often use their drinking bowl to wash and cool themselves. A couple of ice cubes may be added.

Keep your rat out of direct sunlight at all times - not just in the warm weather. The constant light and heat can have devastating effects on rats. After all, they are nocturnal creatures.

Keep a window open to allow fresh air into the room - but make sure no other animals (kitty!!) can get in. This is not only important for cooling purposes, but it also helps to prevent respiratory infections (which are far too common in rats). Avoid using sprays such as air fresheners and fly killers, and make sure that there is no smoking around your rats! Any of these can irritate and cause chest problems.

Another problem that comes with the warm weather - flies and ants! Ants have a way of creeping in to even the cleanest household. Check nests and bedding as you clean them, as with litter trays etc. Ideally, this should be done at least twice as often in hot weather. Hang a "Vapona" block near your rats' cage, but well out of reach of little paws and teeth. Not only will this keep the flies away, but will also ensure freedom from mites.

Why not let your rats have a paddle or a swim? A shallow cat litter tray, or an unused paint tray, makes an ideal paddling pool. Never leave your pets unattended in the water.

Perhaps you have a "Cool Bag" for picnics? The blue, freezer blocks are ideal coolers to pack around your rats' cage or nest, if the heat is a major problem, but be very sure to keep them out of reach of claws and teeth.

There may be chemicals present in the liquid. Or you could make your own from squash bottles or glass jars - filled with water and frozen. Be sure to keep them away from any electrics, droplets often form and drip down onto whatever is below. This could be a fire hazard!

Lastly - keep a close eye on your pets. They rely on YOU.

(Copyright 1999 Heather J. Tomlinson)

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