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Should Rats Drink Out of a Bowl, Does It Matter?

Should Rats Drink Out of a Bowl

Everyone seems to have their own opinion on whether rats should drink out of a bowl or bottle. The truth is both are viable options and it really doesn’t matter which one you choose. The important thing is that your rat has a clean, constant supply of fresh water.

But that’s too simple of an answer, So let’s break each option down and look at the pros and cons.


Pros and Cons of a bowl

Easy to fill and cleanWater can get dirty more quickly
Some rats prefer to drink from a bowlYou can’t see how much water your rat is drinking
If you have multiple rats, they can all drink at the same timeIf the bowl is too deep, your rat may have difficulty getting to the water
Doubles as a bathLarger and takes more space

Pros and Cons of a bottle

Water is always freshRequires more in-depth cleaning than a bowl
You can see how much water your rat is drinkingCan be difficult to get your rat to drink from a bottle if they are not used to it
Easy to cleanIf the bottle leaks, it can make a mess
Smaller and takes up less space

Overall, both options have their pros and cons, but it really doesn’t matter which one you choose, and will be entirely subjective to you and your rats.

There are some other factors to consider outside of just pros and cons that can help you choose, let’s get into them.

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A bowl can be used doubly as a bath

Rats love to play in the water and if you have a bowl, they can use it to splash around and have some fun. This is something that you cannot do with a water bottle.

You will need to change the water more often because of this, but it can be a fun activity for your rat.

A bottle cannot be used for a bath

This is pretty straightforward, if you have a water bottle, your rat cannot use it for a bath. If you want to give them a bowl bath, you will need to get a separate bowl just for this purpose.

Bottles grow algae

Most people don’t think about it, but when you use a bottle over and over again, algae will start to grow inside of it. This can be harmful to your rat if they drink it.

You can avoid this by cleaning the bottle more often with a bottle brush, But it’s something to keep in mind.


Bowls can be easily tipped over

A bowl of water can be easily tipped over by a playful rat. This means that you will need to check the water level more, and it can make quite a mess if it completely tips over.

You can avoid this by getting a heavy bowl or one that is attached to the cage in some way.

Plastic bowls will give your rat acne, But plastic bottles won’t

Plastic can scratch up quite easily, and bacteria can grow in these scratches. When your rat drinks from a bowl, they can get this bacteria on their face, which can lead to acne.

You can avoid this by getting a glass, metal, or ceramic bowl. The same can’t be said for the water bottle as it has a metal tip and the rat’s face won’t come in contact with the plastic.

Bowls will sometimes get peed in, and have food dropped in them

Overall bowls are higher maintenance than bottles, You will need to clean them more often because your rat might drop food in them or even worse, pee in them.

You can avoid this by getting a bowl that is the right size for your rat and teaching them to not drop food in it.


Space restraints

Not all cages are as big as they should be, And sometimes you need to downsize the water bowl to fit everything else in the cage. If you have a small cage, It might be better to get a bottle as it will take up less space.

On a hot day, A bowl can be filled with ice

When the weather outside is hot, you can fill your rat’s bowl with some ice to help them cool down. This is not possible with a water bottle.

Rats love to play in ice water, and they love to drink it too!

Best of both worlds

Our verdict? Use both! Give your rat options. They might want a drink from the bowl one day, and the bottle the next.

They can have a nice bath in the bowl, and then drink from the bottle when they’re thirsty.

Do what works best for you and your rat, and they will be happy and healthy.


What kind of water should rats drink, should rats drink bottled water?

What’s more important than choosing what your rat drinks out of? What they’re drinking in the first place!

For the most part, it’s ok for a rat to drink bottled water on occasion. The problem comes from the minerals that they should be getting in their water might not be there if water is from a bottle or overly filtered.

The same can be said for reverse osmosis water as well. It’s better to give your rat tap water that has been left out for 24 hours so the chlorine can dissipate.

Do not give your rat distilled water as it has no minerals in it and can actually be harmful to them.

In short, it’s ok to give your rat bottled water as long as it’s not their only source of water and it is not reverse osmosis or distilled.