Rats are nocturnal animals, meaning that they’re most active at night. They use their excellent sense of smell, hearing, and touch to navigate the dark.
When they feel safe and hungry, rats will come out of hiding to find food, even with the lights on.
Bright lights act as a rodent deterrent, but rats are adaptable and opportunistic pests that can adjust to any environment, especially if they think it’ll meet their survival needs.
Rats have dichromatic photoreceptors, meaning that they have problems perceiving red light. They can only discern light with shades of green and blue.
If you intend to use light as a deterrent, consider bright red lights and flashing lights. Unfortunately, rats will learn to adjust to this lighting.
Will Leaving The Lights On Keep Rats Away?
Leaving the lights on can keep rats away, but only for a short while.
Light isn’t an effective rat deterrent as light isn’t damaging to their bodies or eyes. Lit conditions are merely the opposite of their preferred condition of darkness.
Rats prefer the dark because it enables them to avoid daytime predators, enhancing their ability to camouflage in the shadows.
However, rats can adjust to any environment. As long as they feel safe to venture out, they may come out with the lights on if they’re sufficiently desperate or curious.
Rats are naturally fearful animals, preferring to stay out of sight and come out at night when the coast is clear. However, leaving the lights on won’t stop them from venturing out, especially if they’re starving and there’s succulent food in a well-lit area.
Rats are fast-moving creatures that can use their sense of smell to locate food quickly, returning to their hiding spots unnoticed, lights or not. This can work to keep rats safe, even in lit conditions.
The only time a rat may avoid coming out with the lights on is when you use flashing lights instead of steady lights. Bright, flashing lights can confuse a rat and deter it from entering a designated area due to the unpredictability of illumination and the changing colors.
Are Rats Scared of Bright Lights?
No official studies have confirmed if rats are truly afraid of lights. However, since rats are nocturnal animals, they prefer the cover of darkness.
They might be scared of bright lights for the following reasons:
- It removes their ability to hide out of sight
- Unnaturally bright lights may seem foreign and dangerous
- Excessive light exposure irritates the eyes
Rats have poor eyesight, and exposure to bright light can irritate their vision. While the average light bulb doesn’t cause any harm, excessive light can be uncomfortable and annoying.
According to the University of California, rats are naturally adept at sensing blue ultraviolet light and detecting shades of green light. Bright light is irritating to their eyes, so rats seek to avoid it.
Even though rats might be scared of bright light, this doesn’t stop them from venturing into brightly-lit areas. They can come out during the day or night with the lights on, as long as they feel safe.
Rats are opportunistic creatures, and nothing will stop them from coming out at any time when they’re hungry. Rats won’t discriminate against what to eat, even if the food is in a well-lit area.
They’ll only avoid coming out in bright light if they see a predator, such as a cat, nearby.
Do Rats Avoid Light?
Despite having poor vision, rats avoid light to keep themselves safe. Rodents prefer to come out at night instead of the daytime to avoid threats, such as eagles, falcons, and hawks.
Rats are dark-colored (usually brown, black, or grey), which keeps them camouflaged from enemies.
Coming out in the light makes rats visible and vulnerable to predation. For this reason, rats avoid venturing out during the day or when the lights are on. Instead, they hide in dark places such as basements, attics, lofts, and inside walls until they’re safe to come out.
Rats avoid lighting such as strobe lights and flashing lights. These lighting systems are frightening to rats since they cannot withstand the sudden flickering upon first interaction.
In contrast, rats don’t worry about steady indoor lights as long as nobody is around.
What Color Lights Do Rats Hate?
Multicolored lights aren’t a concern to rats.
After all, they can only perceive blue and green light. According to Animals, rats are sensitive to red light. Since rats don’t have L-cones and cannot see red light, their eyes can pick up red wavelengths.
With that said, PLOS One found that prolonged exposure to blue and green light can raise stress levels in rats. Both types of light increased the stress hormone corticosterone levels. Nonetheless, blue light seemed to have a greater effect than green light.
The National Library of Medicine suggests that prolonged exposure to blue LED lights can cause eye damage in rats. In the research, multiple rats were exposed to:
- Cathode fluorescent lamps
- Fluorocompact bulbs
- LED lights
Rats exposed to LED lighting had signs of retinal damage. So, while the average light bulb may have no effect, long-term exposure to LEDs can do more than irritate a rat’s vision.
We can conclude that rats hate blue light due to the adverse effects on their vision and stress levels.
Do Rats Come Out With The Lights On?
Rats may come out with the lights on as long as they feel safe. Leaving the lights on is only a temporary deterrent.
As mentioned, rats are opportunistic and adaptable animals. Even though they prefer to stay in the dark, they can adjust their behaviors to different situations and environments, as long as they suit their needs.
Rats can come out with the lights on when hungry and have no other choice but to forage for food. However, they’ll wait until it’s safe before venturing out with the lights on.
Also, rats can come out with the lights on if their nest is disturbed, and they may abandon the nest for safety, even if the lights are on. Rats are fearful animals and will scatter when facing danger.
Will A Strobe Light Keep Rats Away?
A strobe light can keep rats and other rodents away from your property. These regular flashing lights will scare and irritate rats.
However, strobe lights aren’t an effective long-term solution for pest control as you have to keep the light on for many hours. Besides, you have to use it with a high-pitched sound deterrent to be effective.
Do Motion Sensor Lights Deter Rats?
Motion sensor lights can deter rats from entering your home or business, as the sudden burst of light can scare away the rats. Install the lights in strategic spots where the rats frequent.
However, rats will soon realize that the light is harmless. The motion sensor lights can only scare rats that sneak up close to them for the first time. Sadly, they’ll undoubtedly keep revisiting the designated area, especially if it has food and water.
With time, rats will learn that the light is harmless, making this solution less effective in the long term.
Will Sleeping With Lights On Keep Rats Away?
Sleeping with the lights on won’t keep rats away.
Rats know all of the dark areas inside your house where they can hide and stay out of sight. Here, they’ll linger until it’s safe to gather food debris in your kitchen.
Rats are adaptable animals, able to adjust to new situations and environments. If you prefer to leave your lights on while sleeping, the rats will, over time, adjust to the lighting and come out for food.
Rats are driven by their love of accessible food sources and won’t care if the lights are off. Besides, they’re more active at night and are likely to come out with the lights on, as long as they’re safe.
If you want to keep rats away by sleeping with the lights on, consider getting strobe lights or flashing lights. The constant flickering of these lighting systems will scare rats away. However, it won’t eliminate rats entirely, so you’ll still need to utilize traditional pest control methods.