Rats cannot tolerate high outdoor or indoor temperatures for an extended period of time. They will quickly overheat and die within minutes of entering an indoor space, such as an attic, whenever the air temperatures are too high for them.
Some evidence suggests that rats may leave the hot attic during the daytime if it becomes unbearably hot. But as long as these rodents have some access to the outdoors and fresh cool air, they can get away from the high temperatures that are found up there.
However, rats tend to confine themselves, for the most part, to just one small section of your roof or gable when making this their home. This is a place that the rat has found suitable to live will likely remain that way until it finds something better elsewhere in your house or yard. It will use other parts of the house only when it is either too hot, too cold, or there isn’t much food available in their chosen location.
Rats can handle a variety of temperatures, but this is especially true in the winter when they seek out the warmth of a home. However, in summer, it becomes a bit more difficult for them to maintain their body temperature and stay hydrated. Thus, the high temperature in a heated attic can be pretty unbearable for the rat.
Rats tend to move around to find the right food and shelter combination that will work best for them. It means that if one area seems too hot, they will move to another spot closer to the outside. This type of movement during the summer months can lead to them being in your attic for just a few days or even weeks at a time. They can stay cool in one area when it is hot elsewhere and then seek out food in another part when it’s cold.
Can Rats Tolerate Heat?
As already mentioned, rats do not tolerate heat very well, so being exposed to it for too long can kill them quickly. Due to their nocturnal nature, rats have not evolved to endure very high temperatures and humidity.
The hotter it gets, the less time it takes before the body becomes severely dehydrated and overheating occurs. Temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit will be uncomfortable for these animals. Rats cannot take more than 30 minutes when the temperature reaches around 98 degrees Fahrenheit without showing signs of distress, including heavy breathing, increased pulse rates, difficulty standing on shaky legs, and lethargy. After one hour of exposure, these symptoms intensify and may result in convulsions, coma, or death. Temperatures above 104 degrees Fahrenheit will most definitely be lethal for them.
The good news for you is that the hotter it is, the less time these rodents will be able to stay in an attic. This way you can dramatically reduce the amount of time they spend in your attic and cut down on how much damage they cause to your house.
What Temperatures Are OK For A Rat And How To Know If The Rat Is Overheating?
The optimal temperature zone for a rat to thrive is between 60 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. To maintain its body temperature, which ranges between 66 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit, the rat must dissipate heat through its skin surface. When exposed to extreme heat for a long time, a rat is in danger of heat stress, heatstroke, or even a heart attack.
If the rat is thirsty and overheated, its body temperature has already dramatically increased. When dehydration occurs, the rat may have already entered into a hyperthermic state, leading to heatstroke. Some of the symptoms of heat stress include low energy, panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, diarrhea, labored breathing, red areas on the skin, seizures, and death.
The rat also needs water available at all times and a hideaway or shelter that can be easily reached when extremely high temperatures are indoors or outside.
Rats are not capable of sweating very well, so they avoid overheating by getting out of hot spots or they stay in areas close to a water source where they can cool themselves down by circulating water over their bodies.
Do Rats Leave The Attic During The Hot Summer?
In hot weather, the rat’s life is even more at risk of overheating than in cooler months. In general, where there are no limitations to their movement, rats will seek out cooler places if the temperature in your attic becomes unbearable for them during the hot summer. However, as long as they have easy access to water, cooling themselves down may be enough to allow them to remain in the attic, even if it’s a little too hot.
During the high heat of the summer, rats will avoid spending their time indoors at all cost. This is because the temperature in the attic can reach extremes of 150 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, while the outside air temperature is only 95 or 97 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can still find them running around the yard in the evenings and early mornings. They will typically stay outside during the day and return to the house at night.
Rats will flee from an area if they feel threatened, especially if they know there is a way out. If their exit is blocked, they can die. These animals become stressed and overheat quickly. It’s not likely that rats will remain in a sweltering attic on a hot summer day even if their access to food remains intact.
If you believe you have a rat problem, you’ll want to remove these pests as soon as possible, repair the damage, and prevent them from returning to your attic. Our team of rodent control experts at Wildlife Troopers can help take care of the problem before it gets too serious. Ready to say goodbye to the rats living in your attic? Call Wildlife Troopers in South Florida for a free rodent removal quote and video inspection.