By Karen Robbins
Summer’s here! We are going to be in for
several more weeks of HOT weather. Here are some tips to
help our friends the rats and mice stay cool. Some of these
tips can also be used when traveling during hot weather.
- Use fans to help circulate the air.
- Make ice cups for the cages. Take
plastic butter tubs, cottage cheese containers, small
plastic water bottles, etc., with lids, and either fill with
water (leave room for expansion as it freezes) the night
before and freeze, or put ice cubes in them and place in the
cages. The animals love to lie up against and on them. The
ice cups help cool the air and the temperature in the cage
is reduced a little. You may need more than one in each cage.
- If you can, keep a spray bottle handy filled with cool water and spray the animals periodically or
wet them down if they appear stressed.
- Place the cage on or near the floor in the coolest part of the house—perhaps the linoleum [or tile] in
the kitchen or bath. Drawing the drapes may help.
- Make sure the animals’ water bottles have cool water in them, changing as needed. In hot
weather the water really heats up and the animals won’t drink it.
- Put freezer cool-packs underneath the cages. One brand of cooler pad we found comes in large pads
made by Soothsoft™. They make the large Canine Cooler® pad as well as a
smaller people Chillow® pad. You can visit their web site for more information at
During a very hot display we did, we used a combination of the fans, ice cups in the cages,
cooler pads underneath the cages, changed the water a couple times a day, and the animals stayed comfortable.
They were warm but not too warm or stressed.
- Keep plenty of sun tea and ice on hand or lemonade (for you, not the rats! You’ll need it
tending your charges).
- Get an air conditioner!
Some additional tips to help your animals get more moisture:
- Give them juicy fruits such as melons, oranges, pears, etc.
- Make them “ratty” popsicles. Take fruit juice and freeze in ice cube trays and when
it’s hot, just pop out a couple and place in each cage.
- Give them frozen mixed veggies. They thaw quickly so if they are too cold for your rats, it
won’t take long for them to be able to munch on them.