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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our rats' cage is situated in a large walk in closet that doesn't get a lot of light through the doorway. I tend to turn on the lights when we're in there with them or they are awake and playing, and turn the lights off when they're sleeping. This makes sense to me as a human, but I'm wondering if that is disruptive to the daily cycle of a rat. Should they be getting a consistent cycle (e.g. 12 hours of continuous light followed by 12 hours of continuous dark) every day? If that's not a big deal, would they prefer the lights on or off when sleeping?
 

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I haven't heard much about if they need one or not, I have had ferrets in the past and actually had an alarm for when to turn the lights on/off, but I have never heard about anyone doing this for rats. If my pew (Chrome) has any say in it the lights are always off, haha. She is very sensitive and will hide in the tunnels when it's bothering her. In the wild rats tunnel/live underground so it makes since that they would prefer the dark when sleeping.
 

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Ours tend to burrow when sleeping, so lights on or off doesn't matter. Our girls usually have light 24 hours, either from the overhead or from the window. We're most active at night so we have lights on then,and they have windows in that room. Even with blinds closed its bright. The boys get less light, but still pretty constant. It's usually lower light since we usually leave the overhead in our room of and use a lamp, and we black out our window so we can sleep.
 

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I treat it a little like I did with ferrets, just with the hypothesis that most burrowing animals probably like their share of the dark. (whether this has health benefits or not I've not seen anything in regards to rats) I also have an albino girl, and figure she probably appreciates getting out of any light, natural or ambient. She's my one that likes to sleep in the lower dark spot in a dig box in the middle of brown wrapping paper often enough. She is my bravest, friendliest rat completely trustworthy in any situation, so it's not due to any timidness on her side, it's probably simply light hurts her eyes.

Though I do have some lighting in the room they are in almost all time, I try and keep the lower part of the cage as dark as possible, with plenty of opportunities to go into complete darkness-hides that are not transparent, tubes with a fleece blanket over them ect. I noticed someone here with a dcn that hung a fleece blanket over the shelf so it hung completely to the ground under it it making a nice dark place there-adding a hide makes it a very nice dark place. I thought that was a really great simple idea.
 

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consistent light cycles tends to only really matter if your breeding when rats can sometimes fail to get pregnant in winter due to longer periods of dark than light.

In this situation though i would make sure that they get some period of light every day and more importantly ventilating. My ears used to be in a room with no natural light. i kept the door open all day so they got airflow and a low level of light during daylight hours and then put the light on in the evenings when i wad home, so for about 5 or 6 hours before i went to bed. This worked well for them
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
OK, thanks for the feedback everyone! Even when the lights are on, they sometimes go to sleep on the top shelf instead of in a dark hiding place, so I guess it doesn't bother them much.
 
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