Do Rats & Mice Like Music? The Science-backed Answer!

Rats and mice are great pets, they’re smart, affectionate, social, and quite low maintenance. Spending time with them is a lot of fun, but there’s one thing that’s sometimes frustrating: We can’t talk with them.

Because we can not talk with our pets, we can not ask them what they like. For instance, we can not ask them if they would like us to play some music, and what kind of music they like most. However, that’s where science comes in. Studies have been done to discover how the bodies of these rodents respond to music.

Turns out, the studies show that mice and rats definitely do like music. They do not like all kinds of music equally and it should not be played too loud, but the right kind of music at the right volume will do wonders for their mood and overall well-being.

Do rats & mice enjoy listening to music?

We cannot go up to your pet mouse or rat and ask them whether they like music. However, quite a bit of research has been done on the subject and the general consensus is that rats and mice typically enjoy listening to music.

This is especially true if you expose them to music at a young age. A study from Harvard University showed that young mice between 15 and 24 days of age that were exposed to classical and jazz music actually started preferring shelter with these types of music playing rather than a quiet place, which is their natural behavior.

In addition, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence from rodent owners that they do enjoy a good tune from time to time. Of course, they do not like all types of music and it should not be blasted too loud.

What types of music do they like? 🎻

Most studies used classical or jazz music when discovering the effects of music on these rodents. As a result, it’s safe to say that they do indeed enjoy these types of music. It’s easy to see why – they’re typically relaxing and calming. On the other hand, studies also showed that upbeat house music can make them more euphoric.

Typically, rats and mice seem to respond more positively to high-frequency music (above 50 kHz) than low-frequency music. The reason for this is not entirely clear but it’s speculated that it might be because rats make sounds at these frequencies when they’re happy.

Anecdotally, there are many different reports of rats & mice liking a variety of different genres of music. However, the most common reports are of people saying that their little rodents come out to watch them play instruments such as the ukulele or the guitar or to enjoy a beautiful sonata that’s playing through the speakers.

Of course, there are also reports of people that noticed that their pets hate a particular sound. For instance, a song by a bad singer can result in them hiding away as deep in their cage as possible to avoid being exposed to the horrible noise.

How do I know if my rat/mice like the music I’m playing?

All rats are individuals and they do have their own preferences about what they like and dislike. To figure out whether your rats like the music you’re playing, keep an eye out for their behavior. Look for signs that they’re relaxed and content. These signs include:

Signs your rat enjoys the music 🎵
  • Bruxing (grinding of the teeth)
  • Bulging of the eyes
  • Moving towards the source of the music

Of course, you should also be on the lookout for the signs that your pet does not enjoy the music you’re playing. Signs to look for include:

Signs your rat does NOT enjoy the music ❌
  • Hiding
  • Squealing
  • Wagging their tail

If you notice that your rat or mouse is showing these signs you should turn the music off. Even if you like it, it’s best to play it through headphones or in a different room so that you do not cause your furry friend unnecessary stress.

Also, it’s important that you do not play sounds that are too loud as these rodents have sensitive hearing.

Do rats & mice benefit from listening to music?

Rats and mice are remarkably smart rodents. Therefore, it’s not all that surprising that they do indeed enjoy listening to a good tune every now and then and that they might derive some benefit from doing so. To discover whether this is actually true, many studies have been performed. Then, a total of 42 studies were reviewed and the results were published in a journal called Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.

The results are quite interesting. It shows that exposing mice and rats to music resulted in changes in their neuro-chemistry. Listening to music enhanced their propensity for neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells) and neuroplasticity. In addition, music exposure in these rodents resulted in a statistically significantly improved learning ability.

This increase in learning ability is often called the “Mozart effect”. A study performed in 1908 by Rauscher et al demonstrated the Mozart effect in rats because it showed that they were able to solve a maze faster after being exposed to Mozart’s sonatas. However, there is some debate on whether the results of the studies are actually because of the music or if they are the result of improper random assignment into groups.

But that’s not all, music did not only affect their brains, it also affected their bodies. The studies showed that music reduced anxiety-related behavior and strengthened their immune systems.

On the whole, there are many benefits to playing music to your mice or rats.

Music to play to your mice and rats 🎶

If you’re looking for some good music to play to your pet mouse or rat, you can’t go wrong with one of the classics from Beethoven or Mozart. Additionally, it’s also quite fun to try different types of music to see what they like. Do make sure that you turn off the music if they do not respond positively to it.

Also, did you know that there are even YouTube videos with songs specifically made for pet rats? Many people in the comments of such videos have gotten great experience playing this to their furry friends so it’s definitely worth giving it a shot. Here is some great music to play to your rats or mice:

Final words

Playing music can definitely be an enjoyable pastime for pet mice and rats. Studies have shown that it can lower their anxiety and stress and that it can increase their cognitive abilities and even make their immune system stronger.

They like a variety of different types of music but are most drawn to classical music due to its calming nature. Exploring what kinds of music your pet rodent likes or dislikes can be a fun bonding experience, but make sure that you do not play the music too loud and that you turn it off if they show signs of distress.

ThePetFaq Team