Domestic rats are a favorite among many pet lovers, thanks to their cute faces and smooth coat. They are also incredibly intelligent and affectionate, like dogs or cats. If you already have pet rats at home, you know from experience that your tiny cuties need lots of care. As animals cannot talk, they can communicate by other means, such as sounds and movements. It is important to observe their behavior to know if they are still healthy and happy. Today we will talk about the rat sounds and their different meanings.
My pet rat is making a sound, but what does it mean?
Making noise is your rat’s way to communicate emotions and to tell you what’s going on with them, just like humans. When living with pet rats, you will often hear your rats squeaking, in combination with hissing and chattering sounds. For baby rats, their squeaks are very high pitch so it is difficult for humans to hear them.
In fact, pinky rats can make more different sounds than adults. If you want to understand them, the only way is to spend as much time as possible observing their behavior, and you will eventually be able to notice the difference in the sounds they make.
How to know if my pet rat is making a good sound?
Most of the good sounds are quite short, snipped squeaks and chirps. When your rats feel happy or content, they may boggle their eyes while making a bruxing sound. Bruxing is the sound of grinding teeth or jaw clenching, quite similar to a cat purr. However, they might make this sound when they feel nervous, tired, or sick.
Besides, the rats love cleaning themselves as much as cats do. They always make chirping noises while grooming their body which means that they feel good. Also, you can gently groom your tiny friends to show your affection and if you want to hear your rat laugh, just lightly tickle on their belly!
How to know if my pet rat is making a bad sound?
The rat sounds may sound quite similar to the untrained ear. That’s why many negative noises can be easily mistaken for happy play sounds. Here’s a small list of the main negative rat sounds and their explanations:
How do I know if my rat is expressing fear?
The rats often make loud long squeaks when they struggle in a dangerous or stressful situation, for example, fighting with other rats or encountering a cat. Moreover, this long squeak can be considered as a showing of surrender as well.
How do I know if my rat is in pain?
The shrieking sound will be heard when your rats get hurt. It might occur when two rats are fighting or maybe when an accident occurs. Besides, they may also make this sound when they feel suddenly scared, for example when someone grabs them quickly without any warning. For this reason, as the pet parent, you should always go check on your rats when you hear their scream and see if everything is okay.
How do I know if my rat is annoyed?
Do you know that pet rats can sigh like humans? If you leave them alone for a long time or if the cage is too small compared to their body, your rat might express its annoyance through a particular sigh sound. Thus, it’s time to take care of your little companion now.
How do I know if my rat is sick?
Pet rats sneeze all the time. Actually, it is not a big concern unless the sneezing is caused by an illness or allergies. If you notice a lot of sneezing, you should start by checking their environment. Sometimes, new toys or new food can negatively affect your rat. It is highly recommended that you remove these new objects first and see whether your pet feels better or not. If the sneezing stops, it means your rat was probably allergic to something.
Moreover, for new rats’ parents, you might misinterpret a cute breathing-squeaking sound as a sign of contentment. But on the contrary, rats normally make no sound when they breathe. Thus, if you hear some noises like snorting, snuffing, or squeaking, your little animal might have a respiratory illness. The best solution is to bring your tiny cuty to see a small animal specialist veterinarian as soon as possible to get an examination and proper treatment.
Learn how to read the rat body language
Finally, apart from the sounds, you can figure your rats’ messages by reading their body language too. Down below, we have listed all the common signals that you may notice:
Note that fur puffing is always a negative sign. Your rats may feel cold, scared, sick, or angry, especially when they hunch their back. If you notice some kind of puffing, let them be. It is not an appropriate time to touch your pet, especially if you don’t want to get bitten!
Tail wagging can mean a lot of things including excitement, resentment, or anger. When encountering an enemy, a swishing tail shows that a rat feels nervous and angry. Additionally, if the rats swing their tail widely, it means they are in a state of insecurity.
Remember, not all sounds are healthy sounds. Although rats are very small pets, they need plenty of your time and affection. By learning the meanings behind your rats’ sounds, in addition to their body language, you will easily figure out what they want to tell you and when they need your help.