What Dreams About Rats Mean

dreams about rats


Having dreams about rats? Wondering what rats mean in your dreams? Trying to understand what they symbolize?

As a counselor and educator, I can tell you that people dream about rats more often than you think. The problem is most folks don’t like talking about them, particularly when in polite company.

Not that there’s anything wrong with rats. Some people really dig them. But in the general sense, they aren’t a topic of conversation most folks would bring up over dinner.

But what if I told you that seeing rats in dreams is a sign of good luck? Moreover, how would you feel if I said rat dreams have psychological and spiritual significance?

Well, guess what? I’m going to suggest just that plus a whole lot more.

scary rat in dreams
Did a scary appear in your dream?

This post is all about those furry, four-legged animals with beady eyes that crawl, jump and run. Because I’m aware that rodents tend to freak people out, I’ve tried to write this piece in a way that focuses on fact and less on the grotesque.


As a therapist, my work is concerned with helping people create meaning in their lives. While some of this involves traditional talk therapy, other aspects touch on the subconscious.

That’s where dream interpretation comes in. If you have an open mind, dreams can be an amazing pathway into the subconscious, revealing your hopes, fears, and desires for the future.

In the spiritual sense, dreams – such as ones about rats – can signify something holy. But they can also be symbolic of something sinister and dark. It just depends on your belief system.

I’m going to be candid with you and say that I don’t have all the answers. But I can tell you this – rats don’t appear in dreams “just because”.

Instead, they are symbolic of something happening in your life, projected onto your mind’s mental canvas.

biting rat big teeth
Did a rat bite you in a dream


It’s important to recognize that your perceptions of rats largely influence their meaning in dreams. Yep, that’s right. How you feel about them during waking hours crosses over to the subconscious during sleep.

For example, do rats scare the living daylights out of you? Do you think they are cute? Does seeing a tiny one scurry across a sidewalk scare the crap out of you?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you contextualize their meaning and symbolism. A lot of people, particularly in North America, hate rats. Others think they are adorable and keep them as pets.

So, ask yourself now: How do I feel about rats?

rats in history
Rats at the Karni Mata temple in Rajasthan


Now it’s time to explore the different scenarios in which rats manifest in dreams. Again, it is critical for you to consider your own reactions to these vermin before assigning meaning.

Psychologically, dreams about rats can represent something negative, like a depressed mood or low self-esteem. But they can also speak to something positive, like surviving a difficult life event or moving past the death of a loved one.

It goes without saying that cultural beliefs are very much part of the equation.

Here are several popular themes involving rats in dreams. Do any of these resonate?

Dead Rat

If you see a dead rat in your dream, it could symbolize the following:

  • Fears about a recent situation in your life.
  • Symbolic of ending a friendship with someone close.
  • Fear of a co-worker who may hold power over your job.
  • Worries about being caught for something you are hiding.
  • A secret you are holding that may be exposed to the world.
  • Victory over one of your enemies.
  • A spiritual message from beyond that someone has transitioned from this life to another.

Rats that bite, chew, and scratch

Are your dreams about rats the kind that includes biting, chewing or scratching? Here’s what they could mean:

  • Fears that someone is out to get you.
  • Symbolic of someone trying to get your attention.
  • Worries about disease or illness; particularly if you struggle with something like OCD.
  • If a rat bites you in a dream, it may symbolize someone you fear.
  • If a rat scratches you in a dream, it may represent a life issue you aren’t giving enough attention to.
  • Nibbling rats speak to financial worries. See this post about money and dreams to learn more.
  • When a rat bites your hand in a dream, it may symbolize a friend or family member who betrayed you.
  • If you dream of a rat biting you in the bathtub, it could speak to fears of being naked.
running rat in a dream
Did a rat chase you?

Rats that are chasing you

Did you have a dream about rats chasing you? Were there lots of them? If so, this may mean:

  • Deep anxiety about your personal safety or finances.
  • Fears around not being able to stay ahead of a life issue.
  • Life-threatening issues and health scares.
  • Worries about ending up dead.
  • Unfinished business with someone you loved after they died.
  • Concerns about being betrayed by someone close.
  • Fears, uncertainty, and doubt about a past decision.
  • Subconscious fears of disloyalty.
  • Guilt about something from your past being exposed.
  • Deeply held worries about being rejected by a lover or sexual mate.

Rats that crawl on you

One of the scariest types of dreams involves rats crawling on you. Is this something you can relate to? If so, it could mean the following:

  • A loss of control regarding your health.
  • You feel your sexual partner is unclean and needs to do a better job with self-care.
  • If you find rats under your sheets and they crawl on you, it could speak to worries about a cheating partner.
  • Thinking you will be exposed as a fraud about something.
  • Guilt about an affair you had with someone and the truth coming out.
  • Feeling something awful will happen because of a decision you made.
  • Overanalyzing a life situation and assigning a bad outcome.
  • Fears about sabotaging your diet and losing control over food.
  • Culturally, if you are a Virgo in love, it means you are worried about infidelity.
  • Fears about getting some type of STD from a partner.
  • General sickness anxiety.
Fat rat
Did you see a running rat?

Running rats

A variation of being chased is seeing rats running all over the place. Can you relate? Here’s what they could mean in your dream. Be sure to vote in the poll about rat dreams.

  • Anxiety about being abandoned by friends or family.
  • Deep fears about not being able to handle a life situation or event.
  • Subconscious projections about being an imposter. This is known as imposter syndrome.
  • A romantic partner abandoning you after learning something unpleasant about your past.
  • A subconscious belief that you are adopted, even though your family members assure you it’s not true.
  • Losing your circle of support, such as friends or loved ones.
  • Worries about losing your job or a loss of income.

Rat colors and dreams

It may seem odd, but some people have dreams about different colored rats. There are too many variations to list on this page but here are a few of the biggies.

Next to each, I’ve listed what they may symbolize.

  • White rats: Hope, endurance, strength, spirituality, resilience, and life.
  • Black rats: Death, deception, betrayal, infidelity, evil, aggression, hopelessness, illness and anxiety.
  • Brown rats: Health problems, treachery, weight concerns, body image problems, feeling unattractive and depression.
  • Rats with red eyes: Demons, the afterlife, bad luck, evil, financial concerns about debt, worries about a child.
  • Rats with green eyes: Good luck, happiness, friendship, spirituality, financial success, strong self-esteem.

Rat sizes (Fat, Giant and Small)

Many people have dreams about giant rats. Others conjure up images of small ones. Either way, here’s what they could mean:

  • Fat rat: Deeply held anxiety around weight. Closely guarded secrets. Someone lying to you about who they are. Envy over another person’s position in life.
  • Giant rat: Worries about being overpowered, feeling deceived or being taken advantage of. Concerns about body weight.
  • Small rat: Feeling insignificant, small or invisible. Anxiety around being noticed. Concerns about your life station.


The truth is there are more meanings that can be assigned to dreams than I can shake a stick at. Because so much depends on how you feel about rats, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact interpretation.

That said, here are some other thoughts about what rat-related dreams could mean. It’s best to look at the big picture and remember that the content of your dreams can’t be taken literally.

Dreaming about rats could mean:

  • Fears about not being accepted.
  • Worries about you or someone you love becoming sick.
  • Germaphobia and anxiety around disease.
  • Your general dislike of rats becoming manifested during a dream experience.
  • An aspect of yourself that you don’t like, mentally projected in the form of a rodent. Examples include the way you look, your personality or attitude.
  • An addiction you can’t seem to overcome. Examples include alcohol, smoking or drug use.
  • Being afraid of the future, particularly if you also see snakes in your dreams.
Rats at Halloween
Rats are popular during Halloween


One of the best ways of determining the meaning of your dream is to keep a dream journal. Think of this as a tool that you can use to record images and content.

Dream journals are easy to create. Just grab a notebook and pen jot everything down that you recall. You can even buy one online that is specifically designed for this task (see Amazon).

In addition to the journal, you may also want to consider picking up a dream dictionary. There are many on the marketplace.

One of the best ones you can buy is The Complete Dictionary of Dreams by Lennox (see Amazon for price). I like it because it offers tons of insight into various objects and symbols.


Dreaming about rats can be terrifying. But it can also be a sign of good luck. As mentioned earlier, it all depends on how you perceive these creatures during waking hours.

Hopefully, the material presented here has given you new insight into what’s going on – deep inside your subconscious. Thanks for stopping by!


Times of India. (2008). Rat mean to be comercialized in Bihar. Retrieved from Internet Way Back Machine

About John D. Moore 391 Articles
Dr. John Moore is a licensed counselor and Editor-in-Chief of Guy Counseling. A journalist and blogger, he writes about a variety of topics related to wellness. His interests include technology, outdoor activities, science, and men's health. Check out his show --> The Men's Self Help Podcast