Temperature & Humidity Ranges

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Little_Lovelies
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Temperature & Humidity Ranges

Post by Little_Lovelies » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:37 pm

Hi Guys,

So until we adopted our little babes we had had our central heating set to go off from about 12am-6am, and then again from around 8am-3pm as we had no pets.

I've read on the PDSA website that they should be kept at 23 degrees and on the RSPCA's one that the room should be between 19-25 degrees (or visa versa). So I just wondered what everyone's thoughts are and what temperatures your little guys and girls are fine with in practice? I'm so worried about doing the right thing by them that I've resorted to having the heating on 24/7 for now, and it wakes us up when it comes on numerous times in the night so it's not ideal. Is 23 even correct, it's amazing how much even the experts get wrong at times. Do some of you worry less about a constant temperature and just provide tiles etc. to cool down and really snuggly dens for warming up? And any top tips on these?

And humidity, I've read too humid leads to more bacteria in the cage and not humid enough leads to breathing issues (I think that's what I read, this was a while ago now). Anyone have any idea what a good humidity level is and know of any reliable humidity sensors? I get so fed up with these sites that use completely quantifiable terms the whole time like 'not too humid' without giving the slightest indication what that might be.

Thank you all!

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[cub]
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Re: Temperature & Humidity Ranges

Post by [cub] » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:37 pm

As a general rule, if it's comfortable for you it's likely to be fine for them, and that goes for both temperature and humidity. For humidity in particular, if they're not showing symptoms I wouldn't worry. I'd say 19C is fine but 25C is starting to get a little warm; rats generally cope better with cold than heat and a lot of people find their rats need active cooling measures once it hits 28C or so. Requiring temperatures of 23C is clearly nonsense; a lot of breeders in particular keep their rats in outbuildings which can get quite nippy in the winter and they seem to do quite well there. They just need plenty of food, nesting material, and of course each other for warmth. If they're living in the same building as humans then it's highly unlikely to get too cold for them, even overnight.

At the moment I'm trying to keep the house around 19-20C since I've got an old skinny girl on palliative care, but under normal circumstances I'd be perfectly happy for it to go down to 15C with no concern about the rats.
Poo-shoveller to: Calyn (NLA32), Zephyr Nyahir, Zephyr Zymandis, Zephyr Blasto.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Mick Jagger (Edgeworth), Din (NLA28), Zephyr Donovan (Phoenix), Xeltan, Lita (NLA32), Lia (NLA28), Zephyr Delanynder (NLA28), Falere (NLA36), Mirala (NLA36), Zephyr Opold, and Rila.

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cyber ratty
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Re: Temperature & Humidity Ranges

Post by cyber ratty » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:10 am

Yep, I'd say a range of 15 - 20c is ideal. Rats do better with cold than with heat, and since the heating will also be drying out the air which isn't great, I'd go back to your previous routine.

Many years ago when my rats had to live in a conservatory, I used a heater overnight to keep them above 7c, and they were fine at that minimum.

Little_Lovelies
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Re: Temperature & Humidity Ranges

Post by Little_Lovelies » Fri Dec 06, 2019 1:40 am

Thank you both so much, that is a HUGE relief! When i came down one morning to find the temperature down to 18 i felt like the worst ratty mum ever and have been scared to turn the heating off ever since?! I try to take most things with a pinch of salt and assess the source etc. but you would think the RSPCA & PDSA would be reliable/expand on things a little better wouldn’t you?

I remember how zonked my previous boys looked in the heat one day, but are there any signs to look out for if they’re too cold? Oh and same question for too humid/not humid enough? Any indicators to be aware of?

Thank you again for your replies, they’ve been a a massive help!

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cyber ratty
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Re: Temperature & Humidity Ranges

Post by cyber ratty » Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:56 am

If you provide plenty of loose nesting (paper strips, straw, hay), and you come down in the morning to find it all in one place, then they must have been feeling cold enough to need it - but unless your house drops to about 5c or lower then you really don't need to worry.

Unfortunately, the RSPCA are not experts on rats, or other small animals, they are mostly focussed on dogs and cats and publicity and high profile court cases and raising money. :(

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[cub]
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Re: Temperature & Humidity Ranges

Post by [cub] » Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:23 pm

Little_Lovelies wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 1:40 am
I try to take most things with a pinch of salt and assess the source etc. but you would think the RSPCA & PDSA would be reliable/expand on things a little better wouldn’t you?
I've never had any experience with the PDSA myself, but most vets get very little training on rodents in general (nevermind rats specifically), and then get very little experience treating them, so I am entirely unsurprised by a veterinary organisation that mostly sees dogs and cats not knowing their arse from their elbow when it comes to rat care. As for the RSPCA ... let's say that I've lost count of the number of reports I've seen of RSPCA branches not having any idea what they're doing with rats, up to and including missexing them. :roll:

To be perfectly fair to them though, I've also lost count of the number of perfectly competent and knowledgeable vet practices whose websites nevertheless include not-quite-right and sometimes outright wrong information on rat care.It's pretty clear that in most cases, someone at some point in the dim and distant past has written (or copied-and-pasted :P ) guides to various species and then never edited or updated them ever again. Keeping content current is hard I suppose.
Little_Lovelies wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 1:40 am
I remember how zonked my previous boys looked in the heat one day, but are there any signs to look out for if they’re too cold? Oh and same question for too humid/not humid enough? Any indicators to be aware of?
I've never actually seen rats looking too cold, but I imagine being fluffed up and unwilling to leave the nest area would probably be part of it. I suspect it's highly unlikely if you're living under the same roof; you'd be first in line for hypothermia really, what with not having a built-in fur coat and all.

Humidity, again I'm not sure. Low humidity mostly comes up as a trigger for respiratory symptoms, so I'd consider that if you're getting chronic respiratory issues that aren't responding to treatment. But again, you'd likely be feeling uncomfortable too with dry skin (or dryer than usual, if your skin is already dry by default). For high humidity, I think it's mostly an issue if you're getting the attendant problems like damp, mould growth, etc, and again, that's a problem for you too and you'd likely notice.

Remember that rats have evolved to live alongside humans, and their ability to adapt to the same spaces we inhabit is the reason they've done so well for themselves and spread all over the world in our wake.
Poo-shoveller to: Calyn (NLA32), Zephyr Nyahir, Zephyr Zymandis, Zephyr Blasto.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Mick Jagger (Edgeworth), Din (NLA28), Zephyr Donovan (Phoenix), Xeltan, Lita (NLA32), Lia (NLA28), Zephyr Delanynder (NLA28), Falere (NLA36), Mirala (NLA36), Zephyr Opold, and Rila.

Little_Lovelies
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Re: Temperature & Humidity Ranges

Post by Little_Lovelies » Tue Dec 17, 2019 6:29 pm

[cub] wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:23 pm
I've never had any experience with the PDSA myself, but most vets get very little training on rodents in general (nevermind rats specifically), and then get very little experience treating them, so I am entirely unsurprised by a veterinary organisation that mostly sees dogs and cats not knowing their arse from their elbow when it comes to rat care. As for the RSPCA ... let's say that I've lost count of the number of reports I've seen of RSPCA branches not having any idea what they're doing with rats, up to and including missexing them. :roll:
Wow, miss-sexing a ratty, that is impressive?! It was actually the online fact sheets that I was referring too. I read so many conflicting things from seemly knowledgeable reliably sources about just about every aspect of ratty care that I decided to take the RSPCA & PDSA ones on face value because you've gotta trust someone right? (well unless you're Fox Moulder obviously ;) )

[cub] wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:23 pm
To be perfectly fair to them though, I've also lost count of the number of perfectly competent and knowledgeable vet practices whose websites nevertheless include not-quite-right and sometimes outright wrong information on rat care.It's pretty clear that in most cases, someone at some point in the dim and distant past has written (or copied-and-pasted :P ) guides to various species and then never edited or updated them ever again. Keeping content current is hard I suppose.
Yeah should be the easiest thing in the world shouldn't it?! But no company ever seems to have the budget to keep things up to date and periodically fact check.
[cub] wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:23 pm
I've never actually seen rats looking too cold, but I imagine being fluffed up and unwilling to leave the nest area would probably be part of it. I suspect it's highly unlikely if you're living under the same roof; you'd be first in line for hypothermia really, what with not having a built-in fur coat and all.

Humidity, again I'm not sure. Low humidity mostly comes up as a trigger for respiratory symptoms, so I'd consider that if you're getting chronic respiratory issues that aren't responding to treatment. But again, you'd likely be feeling uncomfortable too with dry skin (or dryer than usual, if your skin is already dry by default). For high humidity, I think it's mostly an issue if you're getting the attendant problems like damp, mould growth, etc, and again, that's a problem for you too and you'd likely notice.

Remember that rats have evolved to live alongside humans, and their ability to adapt to the same spaces we inhabit is the reason they've done so well for themselves and spread all over the world in our wake.
Thank you for all of that, that really is a huge help : ) If I'd adopted youngens I'd be a lot more calm but since there's no way to ever know for sure how old these fellas are and because I had to take them to the vets twice in the first few weeks I've gone into worry over-load about getting everything just right for my little babes.

frodo quin
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Re: Temperature & Humidity Ranges

Post by frodo quin » Sat Dec 28, 2019 3:47 pm

Wow, 23° is very hot. I have one girl who starts to go flat at that temperature. I let the temperature drop to 14-15° and that’s fine for them. In my old apartment during a very cold winter I couldn’t get it above 10° and my naked girl was under the blankets a lot, but the hairy ones were fine, although they do prefer a bit warmer.

I agree with cyber ratty that between 15° and 20° is most comfortable for them. Rats can start to overheat at 25°. One is more perceptible than the other.

Humidity should be around 60% and that is a bit more difficult, especially in winter. Not putting your central heating to high helps and having some houseplants too.

Little_Lovelies
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Re: Temperature & Humidity Ranges

Post by Little_Lovelies » Sat Dec 28, 2019 6:38 pm

frodo quin wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 3:47 pm
Wow, 23° is very hot. I have one girl who starts to go flat at that temperature. I let the temperature drop to 14-15° and that’s fine for them. In my old apartment during a very cold winter I couldn’t get it above 10° and my naked girl was under the blankets a lot, but the hairy ones were fine, although they do prefer a bit warmer.

I agree with cyber ratty that between 15° and 20° is most comfortable for them. Rats can start to overheat at 25°. One is more perceptible than the other.

Humidity should be around 60% and that is a bit more difficult, especially in winter. Not putting your central heating to high helps and having some houseplants too.
Thanks so much, that's a great help! And wow if a naked ratty can manage at 10 degrees when absolutely necessary then I'm sure my fellas will be perfectly comfortable at 15-20 : )

Thanks also about the humidity, will do some investigating!

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