There is no easy answer to whether rats like cold weather. They don’t necessarily like it, but they have adapted to survive all year round. Even if you live in a very cold climate, rats will make it through the winter without a problem. Over the years, they have adapted to use different types of shelters depending on the time of the year, so they stay warm during the winter months. Rats do not usually hibernate so this is very important. When searching for winter shelter, rats will pay close attention to insulation and overall heat, being pickier than they are when the weather is nice.
Using Manmade Shelters
Humans have actually made it very easy for rats to survive the colder times of the year by creating numerous accidental shelters for these rodents. It is incredibly common for rats to move into the crawlspace of homes during the winter months. They may also use sheds or garages as shelter, provided that there is enough insulation. In certain situations, rats may even move into the interior of your home. In addition to structures, rats will frequently move into abandoned vehicles during the colder months. The ventilation system and engine compartments are both tempting as they are hidden from predators and insulated from elements. The rats may even use some materials from the car, like scraps of paper or fabric from the seats, to create their nest.
Using Natural Shelters
Since rats have been around for centuries, it should be obvious that they also know which natural shelters are best for the cold months. Those who aren’t near humans will use caves as a convenient natural shelter in the winter, just like many other types of animals. The rats may even store food during the warmer months and store it within their cave so they don’t have to leave in the winter or try to find food when options are scarce. They will mark any stored food with urine so others don’t take it.
If other options aren’t available, rats can also create burrows to keep them warm during the winter. They will typically find a rock or boulder to use as a natural wall or ceiling for their burrow, trying to dig underneath it. When necessary, they can also burrow within the open ground. These burrows will only have one entrance and exit and their depth will depend on the weather and how insulated the ground is.