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Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wondering How To Keep Rats Cool In Hot Weather

By Shellyane Bryan
A rat owner from England shares tales of living with her rats named Mouse, Slinky and Diddy.

Click image to enlarge
Slinky the rat
Photo Courtesy Shellyane Bryan

The hot weather is changing how the rats sleep. Slinky (above) now sleeps inside an old tissue box.

I've been trying to think of ways to help cool off my rats now that we're enjoying the hot weather. They're lucky enough to be housed in the laundry room, which is usually the coolest place in the house because it doesn't get very much sun; but that doesn't stop it warming up in there throughout the day.

I initially tried the ice fishing game with Mouse, Diddy and Slinky, but when they're outside of the cage there are too many exciting things to explore and investigate, so it didn't hold their attention for very long. Besides, Mouse was unfortunately too heavy to balance on the side of the pint glass I use to hold the ice, and Diddy is getting to be the same way.

I know they must be feeling quite warm in this weather, because Mouse now sprawls on top of the cardboard box where the rats normally sleep inside together, and Diddy permanently occupies the sputnik while Slinky sleeps inside the old tissue box I dropped in their cage.

I've tried putting little ice cubes in their water to make it nice and cold and fresh, but of course this only lasts until the ice has melted! They also have their own, personal fan (pampered, I know!), which I hope more or less does the trick.

I'm wondering whether a quick dip in some nice, cool water will help, but as the only one of them who likes swimming is Slinky, perhaps not!

So, if anyone has any bright ideas about how I can get the rats cooled off, I would love to hear about them!

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Hi Shellyane,
Was just going to say when I was in the UK (I'm from Suffolk and moved to Texas last August) I had a hammy to keep cool. One trick I used was having two chin-chilla slabs (they are granit and stay below room temp)and I would rotate them one in the fidge cooling and one in the cage. I would put one under one of his nest boxes if it was really hot and it helped. People also use bottles of frozen water for ferrets to cuddle up to but I think chewing may be an issue. I had a cage with a plastic base and I would stand it on some house bricks and then slide the frozen water bottles under the cage making a cold floor. I have air conditioning now so no longer have to worry but thought I would share some of my coping with hot weather solutions. Fans circulate hot air that is already in the room, humans keep cool by fans because we can sweat and the act of the sweat evaporating off our skin makes us feel cooler but rats don't sweat they use there tails as a cooling aid by pumping blood to it. For a fan to work the best it could (without soaking your rats lol) you could try wetting their tails then as that evaporates it will cool them even more. Again with the Chin-chila block little naked tails and feet would come into contact again cooling blood flow and hopfully taking it around the body. Hope your little cuties are all Ok, they look really sweet and I love your blog.
Hannah, Coppell, TX
Posted: 6/26/2010 7:57:58 AM
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