What your Rats Sleeping Position Really Means

Rats will slumber in what can be referred to as “ratty mounds” because they are naturally gregarious animals. Meaning that if there are more than three rats in the cage, they will all crowd together onto a little bed or pile on top of one another, making it appear as though they are struggling just to breathe, let alone be comfortable. 

Rats, however, will also sleep in a variety of other positions, such as on their backs with their feet raised. When a rat owner sees their pet in this position for the first time, they may assume the animal has crossed the rainbow bridge when, in reality, the rat is simply demonstrating how comfortable it is to them.

Their intelligence and mobility play a role in this, but so does the way their bodies are built. Rats can quickly curl into various postures and spread out when necessary because to their long, flexible spines. Additionally, they have powerful stomach muscles that enable swift and stable posture changes.

1. Tightly Coiled into a Ball 

Timid or fearful rats would curl up into small balls in the very rear of the cage or behind every other rat. They felt secure at this location. If a rat looks reluctant to approach you, retreats from you when you try to pet him, or rolls up into a tight ball while sleeping, he probably needs more socialization.

2. Laying on One’s Stomach Flat with their Legs Extended 

They typically do this when they are trying to cool off because they are hot. Rats struggle in temperatures higher than 90 degrees. By touching a rat’s tail, you can tell if it is hot. Although their tails are typically chilly to the touch, if they grow too hot, they will turn warm. In this case, you need to calm them down right away.

3. Having a Back or Side Lay down 

Rats that are truly at ease will either lie on their sides with their feet spread apart or on their backs with their feet raised in the air. This posture demonstrates that they are at ease, safe, and secure. The rat is essentially revealing its exposed underside without giving it a second thought, which is a show of complete confidence and is therefore delightful to witness. Do not assume that your rat is not relaxed if it does not sleep on its back. Just like humans, some rats appear to be able to get comfortable in this position while others do not.

4. Ratty Piles

If your home is cooler in the winter, rats will gather there for warmth. They will also sleep in mounds if they are uneasy, but the interesting thing is that because they are sociable animals and enjoy company, they will lie in the unkempt pile when they are content, safe, and happy. Rats will snooze in this position whether they’re joyful, afraid, or content and safe.

5. Head Hanging

If you observe that your rat’s head is protruding from surfaces and is coupled with. Extreme sluggishness and erratic breathing patterns may indicate a respiratory issue. Always seek advice from your veterinarian.

6. Pancaking

The rat will stretch out completely when sleeping, resembling a tiny furry carpet. The rat appears to be flopped and has a completely relaxed physique. This is frequently done on a shelf or even in the cage floor and is more frequent with large rats in hot weather. In an effort to cool off, the rat often maximizes its contact with a cooler surface. It might be helpful to gently sprinkle your rat with cool water if you see this behavior while the weather is warm.


Your rats may yawn when you wake them up after a nap or from a particularly cozy posture. Yawns involve widening the mouth completely, flashing the teeth often, arching the head backward, and are typically accompanied by stretching. Some people have associated this with a greeting or welcome, but in actuality, it is very similar to how the body responds when we greet our rats since it usually happens when our breathing is shallow.


A rat may stretch at any time, although it usually happens when it wakes up or gets out of a position it has been in for a while. There are various types of stretches that are frequently observed. The most typical is likely the yawn-stretch, in which a rat yawns, arching its back and neck into a U shape while frequently stretching out one or more of its front paws, sometimes individually and sometimes collectively. Rats may also perform a broader stretch that involves arching their backs into a N shape, extending each paw in turn, and frequently moving their tails.

Essential Pet Rat Supplies

Finding a place to adopt your new companions is only one aspect of getting ready to keep rats as pets. Additionally, you need to stock up on everything you’ll need to keep them comfortable, happy, and healthy. You can learn about the essential pet rat supplies before adopting rats.

  • Cage: Pet rats need a somewhere to live, and just like humans, that place needs to be secure, cozy, with enough of fresh air flowing through it, as well as enough room for the rats to behave naturally and not become bored.
  • Bedding, substrate and filter: As something they come in contact with every day, choosing the proper bedding for your rats is crucial. The inappropriate bedding option may be harmful to their health. Three types of bedding are available: substrate, which goes in the bottom of the cage and is used for digging; litter, which is used in the litter trays to help rats learn to use the bathroom; and nesting materials, which rats drag into their beds to make them more comfortable.
  • Litter trays: You must create a designated area for your rats to urinate and defecate if you want to litter train them. Alternate between using corner litter trays made for rodent cages and inexpensive plastic cat litter trays from the grocery store.
  • Water bottles: Rats require a steady supply of pristine freshwater. As with most foods for rats, tap water is okay if it is drinkable; if it is safe for people, it is also safe for rats.
  • Food: Choosing the proper nutrition for your rat is crucial, but fortunately it’s not too difficult. The essential ingredients consist of a dry mix prepared from grains, either commercially or homemade, as well as typical fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Although this does vary depending on the size, number, and behaviors of the rats residing there, rat cages often require cleaning out every week. A sponge, cloth, rags, or paper towel, a spray bottle, and a washing up brush are all necessary for cleaning cages.


Rats can seem like a strange choice for a pet at first. They are after all frequently viewed as unclean, disease-prone creatures that can seriously endanger human health. However, despite their less-than-desirable reputation, rats actually make fantastic companions and are surprisingly bright and affectionate animals. 

Rats’ peculiar sleeping habits have no clear cause. Others, like those who argue that sleeping on one’s head can help block out light, disagree and say it depends on the circumstances. Whatever the cause of this peculiar behavior, it is undeniable that rats are intriguing animals whose eccentricities only increase their allure as pets.

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