Rats are known as one of the most intelligent animals in the world, which is an incredible title given their tiny size. They can even cognitively relate to humans. As a pet rat owner, one of the questions I raised from this knowledge is, “Do my rats like music as much as I do?” If you’re also curious about whether your rat enjoys music just as you do, then you’ve come to the right place.
Rats, like humans, respond positively and negatively to music. Also, rats have music tastes— some may be electrified by music, while others are unbothered by it. Genre and the frequency of the music can also be determining factors in whether or not the rat likes it.
Figuring out what type of music a pet rat likes can take some time. However, once you figure out what your pet rat likes to jam out to, the benefits from playing it to them will set you apart from other rat owners. Keep reading to learn the findings of studies testing the effects music has on rats to help you find out what music your pet rat might enjoy.
Do Rats Enjoy Listening to Music?
We can answer this question because of psychological studies exploring the cognitive effects music has on rats. The reason for these studies has less to do with rats and more with discovering how we respond to music ourselves. Since humans and rats share many characteristics, scientific testing on rats (and other closely related animals) helps advance our understanding of ourselves extensively.
Rats do enjoy listening to music. Some of the findings from studies on rats with music include:
- Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience – Individual and Social Behaviors: This study found that music can have a positive effect on a rat’s brain function and structure.
- Harvard University – Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology: This study testing music preference found that rodents can even develop a taste for certain types of music in their youth, similar to humans.
- PubMed – National Library of Medicine: This study concluded that dopamine conditioning helps develop a rat’s musical preference.
- University of California Press – Music Perception: This study saw a significant increase in rats’ cognitive ability after listening to a Mozart piano sonata.
These studies differed but answered the question of whether rats can listen to and respond to music. While your pet rat may not react the same as the test rodents in these studies, that doesn’t mean they’re unintelligent or unresponsive to music. As I mentioned earlier, rats are unique creatures and develop their personalities differently, just as humans do.
What Music Do Rats Like?
Okay, so we know rats do like music and that they can positively respond to it. But what type of music do they like?
Rats tend to enjoy music that puts them at ease. High frequency, upbeat, and artistic genres help lower a rat’s blood pressure compared to low-frequency music such as heavy metal. Some genres of music that rats enjoy include:
- Classical music
- Electronic music
- Euphoric house music
- Jazz music
If you’re a musician, you could also see if your pet rat enjoys watching you play music. Give it a shot! Stimulating your rat can have a stress-relieving effect on it, lowering its anxiety levels and bringing your pet closer to you.
How to Test What Music Your Rat Likes
If you’re careful about what music you play for your rat, then you might be able to pinpoint their favored genres or songs. With all the benefits that come with music, though, you should take the time to discover what tunes make your rodent pal happy.
To help you, I’ve put together the best steps to follow when exploring your rat’s musical taste:
- Wait until dusk, nighttime, or dawn to interact with your rat: Rats are nocturnal animals that love to be active at these times of the night. Waiting until your pet is well-rested rather than waking it up mid-slumber will allow your rat to experience the music entirely. Otherwise, it’ll be too grumpy to enjoy it!
- Play music at a low-moderate volume: Like we already established, loud noises will cancel out any actual benefits your rat can enjoy from the music. Start low and work your way up to a mid-level volume if needed.
- Try out various genres: Your rat may like Bach, or it might like Avicii. Either way, your rat will have (or develop) a specific frequency and tone that it enjoys. Try out many types of music but stray away from ones you think won’t have any appeal.
- Be mindful of when your rat is distressed: Suppose your rat is fleeing, hiding, burrowing, or doing anything else it can to get away from the music you’re playing. In that case, chances are it’s not enjoying anything. Trying to force a particular type of music you enjoy onto your rat is counterintuitive to caring for your pet.
- Keep playing music it likes: An interested rat will show it’s enjoying the music you’re playing for it. Some people recount their rats laying down closer to the speaker and falling asleep or sitting on their knees as they play guitar. Again, rats can intelligently engage with you and show clear signs that it is doing so.
Once you discover the music your rat enjoys, feel free to entertain it with similar genres or songs that’ll keep its mind stimulated. Coupling this with enrichment toys like these will keep your rat healthy and happy.
Are Rats Scared of Loud Music?
Rats prefer high-frequency music; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean they enjoy loud noises. Like any animal, rats are responsive to sharp, sudden noises that catch them off guard. It can give them anxiety, and you might even visually see their frustration with the sound.
Loud music can be stressful for rats. It can also reverse the positive effects the rat may get from music and cause a lasting bad reaction even after it stops playing. Studies that tested differing volumes of music on rats found that they will stay away from loud music if they can help it.
Keeping this in mind when testing out different types of music with your rat will save you and your rat a tense relationship. Remember, music can benefit your furry friend greatly. Still, music that is too loud can also place them under immense anxiety, just as any other animal would react. Rats are small creatures with sensitive ears that can be easily damaged when treated poorly.
That’s it! You’re ready to explore your rat’s musical taste and bond with it on an entirely new level. But don’t stop there. You can always look for new ways to incorporate mentally stimulating activities with your rat as they grow closer with you. There are plenty of other articles on this website presenting fun and innovative ways to interact with your pet rat, so be sure to check them out after finishing this one.