Why Do Rats Have Red Eyes? {Why Do Rats Have Red Tears?}

Have you noticed that some rats look possessed with red eyes. Some look harmless with pink eyes. Most of them have white fur. Why Do Rats Have Red Eyes?

Are they poisonous or more dangerous when they have red eyes? Is there such a thing as an albino rat? Why do some rats look like they have red tears comin out of their eyes?

In this article, we will find out why do rats have red eyes?

Why Do Rats Have Red Eyes?

Rats usually have red eyes when they have white fur and lack pigmentation. This is a sign of albinism. They have an absence of pigments in their body.

The red that you are seeing are actually the blood vessels inside the eye of the rat. It’s a genetic mutation causing their eyes to lack pigmentation. With no pigment blocking the red blood vessels, this is all you see.

Why Do Rats Have Red Eyes At Night?

At night, if you are shining a light at the eyes of a rat, they would look red. This is because the flash of light from a camera or a torch will shine against the rat’s eyes and you will be seeing their blood vessels.

If you are seeing a rat with red eyes during the day or night, they are lacking pigmentation in their eyes. This means that they are albino rats.

If it is only at night that you see red eyes of rats staring back at you, it’s because you have shown your light directly into the back of the rat’s eyes and all you see in return are their blood vessels shining back at you.

Do All White Rats Have Red Eyes?

White rats have pink eyes. Albino rats have red eyes. Some light colored rats may lack pigmentation in their Iris. All albino rats lack the pigmentation in their eyes. Rats have 5 eye colors:

  • Pink
  • Red
  • Ruby
  • Brown
  • Black

To the untrained eye, they look like two colors only: red or black.

Why Are Rats Tears Red?

Rats that have red tears are due to a condition known as chromodacryorrhea. Porphyrin pigments are secreted because of muscarinic mechanisms. They can be treated with anticholinergic drugs to block the secretions.

Three of these drugs that have been used successfully to block those secretions are the following:

  • Pilocarpine
  • Oxotremorine
  • Neostigmine
YouTube video

How Do You Treat Porphyrin in Rats?

When a rat’s eyes or nose constantly secretes red tears, it is indicative of a respiratory disease. You should clean away the secretion with a warm, damp cloth. These secretions irritate the nose and eyes of a rat if you do not clean it properly.

Porphyrin is a red-brown pigment produced by tear glands in rats. You may think that these orange things are causing a rat’s eyes to turn red, but it’s actually a condition called chromodacryorrhea,  more commonly referred to as red tears.

What Eye Colors Do Rats Have?

Rats can have many different eye colors. Albino rats will have red eyes. White rats will have pink eyes. There are other types of rats who have different colored eyes.

  • Champagne-colored rats have light ruby eyes.
  • Rats that are grey or brown usually have brown eyes.
  • Black coated rats have dark brown eyes.
  • Some rats have eyes that look like dark inky blue.

In many cases a rat will have dark colored eyes, but when the light hits it, you will see dark red shining back at you. This is because you have directed the light into their eyes and you are seeing their blood vessels in return.

Are Red Eyed Rats Dangerous?

No. There is no reason why a red-eyed rat would be more dangerous than a regular rat. Eye color doesn’t connect with a temperament of a rat.

Tame brown rats or aggressive black eyed rats are behaving due to their environment and responses to it. The lack of pigmentation in the rat’s eye is causing it to be red. This doesn’t mean that the the rat is angry or more dangerous.

Red-eyed rats are more rare in the wild. You may notice them more in homes and with pets. They are sensitive to light and can’t see very well. If the light is too bright, they will not be able to absorb dark pigments.

Can Leucistic Rats Have Red Eyes?

No, leucistic rats cannot have red eyes. Red eyes means the rat is albino. Leucistic rats are not albino. Their blood vessels are seen through the white of the eye known as the sclera.

Partial albinism doesn’t exist. Leucism is the partial loss of pigmentation which includes carotenoids. With leucism you will have:

  • White coloration
  • White patches
  • Spots
  • Splotches on skin
  • Splotches on fur

Leucism does not challenge or change the pigments in the eyes of rats.

Is White Rats With Red Eyes Poisonous?

No a white mouse or white rat with red eyes would not be considered poisonous. They would not be less or more dangerous. It only means that their vision is worse than black eyed rats or mice.

They are most likely lacking pigmentation and this is called albinism. A mouse or rat with red eyes may wobble or sway from side to side to be able to make out shapes better. This rat is not more poisonous than another.


Red eyes are a genetic mutation when rats do not have any pigmentation in their eyes. In the end, you will also see red blood vessels in the eye with no pigment blocking them.

A red-eyed rat is an albino rat. It will not see as well and have to be creative by moving from side to side to make out shapes. Other rats may have eyes that look red when you flash a light directly into their eyes which reveals their blood vessels.


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