Does Leaving the Lights on Deter Rats? {Do Rats Avoid Light?}

Are you going to try and keep your home or surrounding property well lit tonight to prevent rats from entering? Does Leaving the Lights on Deter Rats?

Do rats hate the light? Can they see in the dark? What is it about the light that would bother a rat? There are many ideas and strategies to repel, deter or eliminate your rat problem.

In this article, we will find out, “Does leaving the lights on deter rats?”

Does Leaving the Lights on Deter Rats?

Rats are mostly nocturnal and would like to avoid light when possible. They are active at night and do not need a lot of light to feel their way around with their whiskers and satisfactory vision.

Deterring rats with light will simply force them to find another way that is not under the lights. They can dig burrows, find passageways and continue around well lit areas with the focus of being unseen as they try to avoid us or larger predators.

Rats are excellent at hiding. You will be better served with noise or odor releasing repellents instead of keeping the lights on.

Do Rats Like Light or Darkness?

Rats are nocturnal and would prefer darkness. They would not like pitch-black darkness however as they continue to rely on their vision to maneuver their way around in the dark. They can sense with their whiskers as feelers as well.

Rats communicate with one another through high-pitched noises, some of which we cannot hear. Rats are sensitive to the lights that we can shine on them from LEDs to spotlights around our yard.

They will avoid the light and find a way to get to where they are going. Rats will either climb, crawl, hide or dig into the ground to avoid the light and continue on their stealth mission to stay hidden from larger threats.

Will a Rat Come Out of the Lights Are On?

Yes. Rats are active at night and will still come out if there are lights on in different spots in or around the home. They will do their best to avoid the light when possible. Rats know that they are at a disadvantage in a world full of larger threats that could easily catch or kill them.

Rats will do what it takes to seek food and shelter. They will take care of their families and this means that they must venture out into the light sometimes. Light is not the best deterrent.

They will avoid areas that smell like ammonia because it resembles the urine of larger predators. They also hate noise repellents that operate at higher frequencies to disturb their actions and cause them to seek another destination.

How Do You Scare Away Rats?

If you want to scare away rats, consider another effective method rather than simply keeping the lights on. That is not enough. Try this out:

  • Use 2 cups of ammonia
  • 1 quart of water
  • 2 teaspoons of detergent

Mix these items in a bowl. Leave it out in an area where you suspect rats to be hiding or actively moving. They should be scared of the ammonia odor because it resembles the urine of predators.

For an added bonus, you can try mothballs or ultrasonic noise devices that can repel or deter rats as well.

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Should I Leave a Light on for My Rats at Night?

Do you have pet rats? Leaving the light on for them is not going to help. They need darkness at night. This gives them comfort and time to rejuvenate their bodies. Rats feel more secure in the dark.

This is why people who wish to keep wild rats away from their home, wish to shine a light around their property. They want rats to feel uncomfortable about entering this area.

You are creating an enclosure that should feel safe and secure. Leaving the lights on for your pet will keep it in discomfort overnight.

What Time Do Rats Come Out at Night?

Rats come out after the sun goes down. A half hour is a rough estimate for how long it takes for a rat to come out after dusk. They will remain active until a half hour before sunrise.

At dawn, a rat will make sure it has a good spot that is hidden and dark. They are more secure in the dark and wish to remain unseen, This is why they could be hiding behind appliances, in the garbage bins, the attic or other dark locations.

What Time of Day Are Rats Most Active?

Rats are most active at night. This is because they are nocturnal. Rats are social and care for their colony or family. During the night, they will communicate and interact to find food or create a better possible shelter in this location.

They will live in packs and sometimes forage together.. When you see one rat at night, there are probably 3-8 of them in the area or more.

What Time of Year Are Rats Most Active?

Rats are more active when the weather is warmer. This is similar to human behavior for the most part. We tend to reside in our warm shelters for the winter and leave our homes well dressed for direct movement to destinations without wasting our energy and heat reserves out in the cold.

The same is true for rats. They are mostly inactive in the winter and come out early spring until the fall. Rates don’t hibernate and will never seize their activity.

What Sound Are Rats Afraid Of?

Rats are afraid of the sounds of predators and other loud noises. Rats are easily spooked as a defense mechanism to get out of the way when they hear disturbing noises.

Thankfully, we can use that to our advantage by operating noise repellents for keeping rats away. Instead of shining a light, which is not as effective as repelling them with sound, we can look for devices sold online or in stores.

Ultrasonic noise repellents operate in the the sound range of 22 kHz to 35 kHz. The sound bothers them but we can barely hear it or not at all. These rodents find it irritating and cannot feel comfortable in a location with piercing noise at such a high frequency.

Do Rats Avoid Light?

Rats will avoid light when possible. They will take a chance and scurry through a well lit location to get to a destination that contains their:

  • family members
  • shelter
  • food

They are afraid of being seen and caught, but they rely on their instinct, nimble movement, whiskers and sense of hearing to help when their vision is impaired by a lack of light.

Rats avoid the smell of predators and the sounds they make. Light is not on the top of the lists of things rats avoid. They are nocturnal, so they naturally don’t care to move around in the light.

Can Rats See in the Dark?

Rats have poor vision in the dark. They cannot see very well, but they have no problem moving around. When you see greasy tracks around walls, baseboards or other outdoor locations, it indicates that rats are rubbing their bodies as they feel their way around a room.

They get very dirty or leave dirt this way. Rats use their whiskers and vocal communication techniques to communicate and interact with a dark world where they are active as nocturnal creatures.

Will Leaving The Lights On Keep Rats Away?

Sorry, but leaving the lights on in my opinion is a lazy way of trying to keep rats away. You have to try harder than that.

  • Use noise repellents that operates on ultrasonic high frequencies.
  • Use ammonia in a bowl or spray it around to mimic the smell of predator urine.
  • Keep your area clean and clear of clutter.
  • Seal all containers.

There are much better strategies to deter rats than flipping on a switch. Rats will get used to the lights and find their way around them.

Are Rats Scared of Bright Lights?

Rats are scared of anything that reveals their whereabouts or puts their nest, shelter, colony or bodies in jeopardy. A light that shines on their active locations will deter them.

  • They will sense danger.
  • Their eyes will be irritated.
  • They will be scared or insecure.

At this point, a rat has to decide whether or not to give its comfortable location where food or shelter is available. They might be raising their offspring right now and will try not to leave.

The lights can be avoided by creatures who burrow and climb so well. They will be more deterred by sound and smell.

Do Motion Sensor Lights Deter Rats?

A flash or burst of light when a rat is trying to move in the dark will definitely scare it. They will run faster. They will hide. The lights will go off and a rat will work its way around it to get to where it needs to go.

You will have to install too many motion sensor lights around every dark area and potential hiding space. Instead, you can lay out rat traps, ammonia deterrents and ultrasonic noise repellents rather than bringing multiple motion sensor lights that might deter rats for a short time, but not not enough to force them to move out.


Thanks for visiting for the best information to help you to make the pest control process easy, safe & affordable.

Jason Barrett

Hello, I'm Jason. I have 11 years of experience in dealing with pests. I try to provide you the best information that'll help you to make the pest control process easy & affordable