You are here:

Pet Rats/Rat breathing


I'm the owner of a rat and I'm not sure of his age but he is very active. Especially when he is out of his cage. So today when I put him back in his cage he was fine. But when I came back to the cage he was very tired and looked like he was falling asleep but what got me worried was that his breathing was very slow and it was below 85-110. So my question is, do rats have a different breathing rate when their falling asleep? I'm a new rat parent and I've had him for 8 months and I'm not sure if it's symptoms of him being lethargic

Hi Kimberly, rats physiology is very similar to humans, so yes certainly breathing patterns vary during sleep.   During REM sleep breathing is faster.  

I hope your baby is ok and experiencing respiratory infection or distress.   It would be extremely helpful if you took a short video of him during sleep and another of him awake so I could better assess.  

If he is in fact lethargic while awake, then assume illness and take him to a vet asap to get him on antibiotics as if not treated right away, rats can deteriorate very quickly which sometimes can lead to death.  

I hope to get videos from you and pray for the best for your sweet boy.  

Pet Rats

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Irene Murphy


I can answer a variety of questions regarding adoption and care of pet rats throughout their lifetimes, including questions about their health and well being, temperment, diet, bedding, cages, toys, etc. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability in a timely manner and I have an abundant amount of resources to help me to help you with your pet rats. I love rattie pictures, so include pics with your question if you can. You may ask me medical questions, but please be advised that I am not a vet. I may use my resources to answer some medical questions, however, I will need to refer you to your local vet with medical questions that I feel I am not qualified to address.


I have been a huge rat enthusiast for many years. Since becoming a rat owner, I have educated myself in all areas of pet rats from every resource I could find including the internet, books, conversations with local exotic vets, as well as several local rat breeders.

I have a college degree but not in the area of animals. I have obtained my extensive experience and knowlege of pet rats all on my own because in my eyes, pet rats are the most interesting and fascinating creatures you can ever imagine to have as pets. I also am saddened by how mislabeled and misunderstood these amazing and extremely smart animals are by the majority, and my mission in life has become to educate and change as many people's perceptions of rats as I possibly can.

©2016 All rights reserved.