Recognise your pet rat noises

Meaning of rat noises and how to tell if it’s good or bad

For many rodent lovers, rats are one of the most popular choices when choosing a pet. They are cute, smart, curious, and sociable little friends that love human company. Although rats are mostly quiet pets, they are not totally silent, and sometimes you might hear your pet rat making other noises to try to communicate with you or the other rats. For that reason, it would be useful to know what these noises mean so you can be aware of your little rodent friend’s physical and mental health. Let’s take a closer look at rat noises and their meanings.

What does it mean when my rat makes noises?

Like many other animals, rats make noises to communicate their feelings, needs, and wants. The noises that rats make are usually a combination of hissing, squeaking, and chattering sounds. They can make a couple of other types of sounds too but you might not be able to hear those, since rats normally vocalize in a higher range than what the human ear can translate. But from the noises we hear, we can then guess whether the rat is happy, healthy, hurt, or upset, and act accordingly.

How to know if the sound my rat is making is a ‘good noise’?

Mostly, a rat’s ‘good noise’ is gentle, quiet, and does not happen to be continuous. Here are the types of noise that indicate that your rat is healthy and happy:

Grinding or Clenching teeth noises (Bruxing)

If your pet rats make noises that sound like some grinding or clenching between their teeth, then it usually means that they’re relaxed and content. When rats are grinding their front teeth, we call it ‘bruxing’. Furthermore, their eyes will almost look like they’re bobbling in and out of their eye sockets. This is normal for them and there’s nothing to worry about.

But if they look agitated while making these noises it might be due to stress or sickness. So please, don’t just rely on their noises but watch out for their body language too!

Chirping noises

Rats can make chirping noises when they are grooming themselves. Contrary to most people’s beliefs, rats do not like being dirty. They like to clean themselves and they love it when people they trust groomed and fawned over them. When groomed correctly, some species of rats will have smooth silky fur, while others will have fluffy soft fur that’s so wonderful for a cuddle! They usually make these little chirping noises while you are grooming their head and body, so listen closely if you want to hear them.

Short, high pitched squeaks

If your rats make short, high-pitched squeaks, it can mean they want to play! Be careful, though, as a long squeaking sound can mean it’s a bad noise and your pet rat might need some help. Many new pet rat owners might not be able to differentiate playful squeaks and painful squeaks, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and check on your little rodent’s well-being to see if it wants to play, or want your help.

How to know if the sound my rat is making is a ‘bad noise’?

A rat’s ‘bad noise’ is loud, drawn-out, and happens constantly. Here are the types of noises that indicate that your rats are upset, scared, or not well;

Loud and long squeaks

When rats make loud and long squeaks, that can mean they are afraid of something. If there’s another rat in the same area, that might mean the squeaking rat is having a problem with the other rat. If that happens, try to separate both of them to avoid any confrontation, and please do not put them back together until you’re sure that they will not hurt each other anymore.

Consistent squeaks and breathing loudly

Healthy rats do not make sounds when they breathe. If your pet rats make squeaking noises consistently and/or are breathing loudly, they might be carrying a serious respiratory disease! Many rats have this disease from birth, so you should bring your rats to the vets as soon as possible if you notice this!


If your rats are shrieking, you can be sure that your rats are very scared or injured! They may be fighting with other rats, or something is threatening them, or maybe their limbs got stuck in their cage and they’re in pain! So it goes without saying that you should check on your pet rats immediately when you hear them shriek.


Sneezing, like many other animals, is normal for rats. But if your pet rats sneeze constantly, they might be allergic to something. Please check your pet’s cage, food, water, toys, bedding, and other objects nearby to make sure that these things are not harmful to your beloved pets.

In conclusion, rats do not usually make much noise when they are healthy and happy, but they can be loud when they are hurt, sick, or upset. Still, rats are nocturnal animals, so they can be active at night and make more sounds than usual. But, as long as you are aware of how they sound and take good care of them, your beloved little friends will live a long and happy life!

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