Do Pet Rats Like to Swim?

I’m a rat enthusiast who has been caring for pet rats since I was in high school. One question that always came up when I would talk about my furry friends is whether they like to swim or not. The answer, it turns out, isn’t so simple.

If your rat enjoys playing in the water, there’s a good chance it will enjoy swimming. To figure this out, increase the amount of water your rat has access to in small increments and take note of signs of joy or distress. Every rat is different, and their personalities will dictate what they do in various situations. 

Some rat owners claim that rats are natural swimmers, but I’ve had my fair share of pet rats who were not so keen on taking a dip. For this reason, it’s crucial to understand how rats typically behave before trying any new activity like swimming. We’ve rounded up some answers to the most frequently asked questions around this topic to clear up any confusion. So let’s dive right in!

Do Pet Rats Like to Swim?

It can be hard to tell what your pet likes and what they’re just tolerating.  Some rats like to swim, and others don’t. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand how your pet communicates with you to show you when they’re not happy, sad, in pain, or angry.  

I found that my rats were very afraid of water and would try to escape as soon as possible should I put them near it, so this is a good sign that your pet doesn’t like being around anything wet at all!  However, just because you have one rat who hates the pool shouldn’t stop others.

One sure sign that your pet loves swimming is if they enjoy playing in the water. However, this doesn’t mean you should dip them in the water to see if they can swim. The best approach is to increase the water the rat is playing with in small increments (making sure they still look happy) until there’s enough for them to paddle in. 

If the rat begins to panic and shows any signs of distress, such as squeaking, shaking its head or attempting to escape the water, then you should stop increasing the amount of water or reduce it to a comfortable level.

Signs That Your Pet Rat Loves Swimming

It’s essential to observe your rat’s body language and expressions to see if they enjoy swimming. Some signs are:

  • A relaxed posture
  • Calm and steady breathing
  • Undisturbed facial expressions (i.e., no squeaking or shaking of the head) 
  • A high level of interest in exploring their surroundings.

However, the main sign you should be looking for to tell if your rat enjoys swimming is the appearance of its ears. If the ears turn pink and seem relaxed on the sides, the rat is having a good time. If you notice any sign that your rat may not be enjoying itself, then remove it from the water.

Do Rats Like Playing in Water?

When I got my pet rats, I was excited to buy them a water bath. I had heard many things about rats and their enjoyment of playing with water, but it wasn’t until I tried to get my rats into the water bath that they showed me what was up:

I mistook one rat’s shivering for excitement (perhaps because his nose was twitching), so he dove right in! What followed was an interesting combination of panic, squeaking and clawing to get out. The other rat seemed curious for a second but quickly got out of the water when he realized it was too wet for him.

The third rat seemed to enjoy playing in the water and was curious to explore its new environment.

So, to answer the question, do rats like playing in the water? Like humans and other animals, rats have different personalities. While some enjoy playing in the water, others are just not interested.

Source: Squeaks and Nibbles

How Do You Get Rats to Like Water?

If you’re a rat enthusiast like me, you’ve probably watched countless YouTube videos of pet rats swimming and couldn’t wait to get your pet rats to enjoy the water too.

But you discovered some of your furry friends are not on the same page. Still, you don’t want to give up. Can you teach a rat to love the water? Well, it’s not as hard as you think!

I’ve found that they will usually start out playing and exploring in the shallow end of the pool or tub (just make sure there aren’t any sharp objects in the way). It’s also a good idea to increase the amount of water gradually to ensure they’re comfortable.

For the indoor rat, you can help them enjoy the water by using a small pool just for them where they won’t have to worry about losing their balance and hurting themselves in any way. 

Don’t give up too soon. It may take several days for them to get comfortable playing with you and their new water-dwelling friends, but they’ll eventually start diving through the water like it’s nobody’s business! Slow and steady wins the race!

What’s the Perfect Water Temperature for Rats?

Rats have sensitive skin that can quickly become irritated by anything too hot or cold. Therefore, the temperature of their water should be lukewarm. Always make sure you check the water’s temperature with your hands before you place the rats in.

Source: Pocket-Sized Pets

Time for a Dip!

Rats are naturally drawn to water. They love a good swim, and it’s the perfect opportunity for you to interact with them! 

It may take some time before your furry friends get comfortable in their new surroundings and start playing around like they’ve been doing it all of their lives–but don’t give up too soon. Also, remember that rats have different personalities. Some rats may not enjoy the water as you’d hoped. Don’t force them. Instead, introduce them to the water gradually until they are comfortable.

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