How Long Do Rats Live As Pets

How Long do Rats Live as Pets | Healthier Pets Today

How long do rats live as pets? Find your answers here! Rats are known as a species of medium-sized, long-tailed rodents. Species of rats can be found throughout the order Rodentia, but the genus Rattus contains the stereotypical rats. Neotoma, Bandicota, and Dipodomys are other rat genera. The size of rats distinguishes them from mice.

Pet rats are clean, intelligent, and enjoy human company, making them ideal family pets. They need a lot of attention, so you’ll need a lot of time to care for them.

They are easy to work with, loving, and rarely bite unless provoked if they are decently socialized from a young age and treated gently. Rats are good family pets but should never be left alone with small children. Rats are nocturnal animals that are sometimes active during the day.

How Long Do Rats Live as Pets?

Many people have pet rats that they enjoy. Even if they appear clean and healthy, pet rats can carry germs that can make people sick. A clean environment reduces the rat’s chances of becoming ill and spreading germs to humans. For your safety, you must take proper care of your animal.

They are incredibly social and enjoy spending time with human family members on the couch, on people’s shoulders, or their laps. They will even groom their human companions as if they were rats in their “rat pack.” Rats who are kept as pets enjoy the warmth and contact of their caregivers and are incredibly cuddly!

If your rat nibbles or licks you, they may be grooming you to show you affection. Rats have a keen sense of smell, so your rat may nibble, lick, or smell you after you eat or prepare food.

Because rats have teeth, biting is a possibility. A rat may bite when startled or in pain. Pet rats, on the other hand, are among the most laid-back rodents, so your chances of being bitten are low as long as you don’t startle them or pick them up when you suspect they’re in pain.

How Long Do Rats Live as Pets – Generally

How Long do Rats Live as Pets | Healthier Pets Today

How long do rats live as pets – Rats, whether wild or captive, live an average of two years. Most wild rats will not live to see their first birthday! Most wild rats die while still young and fit due to predation, food shortages, and human control.

There are four primary methods for determining a rat’s age. The color of their teeth, size, coat condition, and energy levels can all be used to determine their age.

Rats have extremely high metabolisms and heart rates (300-500 beats per minute), contributing to their short lifespans. Genetics also plays a part in how long an animal lives. While all rats have shorter lives than other domestic pets, some breeds may have slight disadvantages. Hairless rats, for example, typically have more health issues, resulting in a shorter life expectancy. Inbreeding can also shorten the lifespan of a pet rat by introducing mutations and deformities.

Rats typically reach sexual maturity between the ages of 37 and 75 days. Males and females can be distinguished by 3-4 weeks of age. Females typically outlive and mature before males. A female rat can have 6-13 babies in each litter after 21-23 days of pregnancy. When young rats are 21 days old, they wean and become sexually mature.

How Long do Rats Live as Pets

How Long do Rats Live as Pets | Healthier Pets Today

Rats kept as pets have a longer life expectancy than wild rats. Domestic rats have a shorter lifespan than wild rats because they have ready access to food and are protected from predators; they also have access to water, shelter, and medical care. norvegicus, which live for less than a year on average

Genetics and inbreeding can significantly impact the health and lifespan of pet rats. However, most life-threatening health conditions in pet rats are caused by poor farming. Farming is a broad term for animal habitat, diet, and care.

The best way to keep a pet rat happy and healthy for as long as possible is to do extensive research before bringing them home. A healthy diet is essential! Ensure that they are fed high-quality pellets and receive fresh water daily. Small amounts of fruit or lean meat are also recommended on occasion. Keeping an eye on your pet rat’s weight to prevent obesity will also improve their health later in life.

Because rat teeth are constantly growing, they must chew and gnaw throughout the day. Provide appropriate toys and chews to ensure their teeth are continually worn down. Another common pet rat issue that can be avoided with suitable chews is tooth overgrowth and misalignment.

Domesticated pet rats typically live for 2-4 years, but the longest-living rat in captivity lived for seven years!

Life Cycle Of A Pet Rat

How Long do Rats Live as Pets | Healthier Pets Today

Experts divide the rat life cycle into four stages: newborn, four weeks, one year, and more than one year.

Newborn rats are small, blind, and utterly reliant on their mothers. They grow quickly, starting to crawl at five days and opening their eyes at two weeks.

A young rat will no longer require its mother at four weeks. They are fully awake and capable of feeding themselves. They will, however, need their siblings to ensure their social development.

You should bring a baby rat home between 6 and 8 weeks. Rats reach full adulthood at the age of one year. They are energetic, playful, and simple to train. Rats over a year old may be less active and develop health issues common in older pets.

Signs Of Aging

How Long do Rats Live as Pets | Healthier Pets Today

How long do rats live as pets, and how will you know if they are aging? Rats lose a lot of muscle mass and body weight as they age, similar to the human aging process in some ways. Rats’ motor function can deteriorate, and they can develop arthritis. The rat’s hind limbs can weaken, the tail can move abnormally, and the joints can show signs of stiffness or reduced mobility.

Sick or aging rats can be difficult to detect because, as prey animals, they tend to conceal any signs of illness or weakness.

Possible Diseases

How Long do Rats Live as Pets | Healthier Pets Today

Skin mites are most common in rats. Skin mite infestations can range from a few to an entire infestation. Most rats have a few mites, which are not a problem. If a pet rat is stressed or ill, they are more likely to develop an infestation. Medication can help with this. However, prevention is always preferable.

To prevent mites, keep your rat’s cage clean and disinfected regularly. It would be helpful if you also fed your pet a nutritious diet to keep them from becoming stressed.

Fortunately, despite their prevalence, most mammary tumors found in rats aren’t harmful.

Cancer is more frequent in female rats, and mammary tumors frequently appear after 18 months, when the female rat stops ovulating.

Contact your veterinarian if you notice any lumps under their skin. To remove the tumor, various treatment options are available, including surgery.

How To Improve Their LifeSpan

Keep an eye on your pet rat’s hair coat, behavior, weight loss, and swellings. The most common first sign of a sick pet rat is weight loss.

Rats are social and prefer to live in groups. However, make sure the cages are large enough to avoid overcrowding.

Only feed rat-specific pellets. Consult your veterinarian about feeding amounts. Provide daily vegetables, fruit, and lean meat, such as chicken.


Wild rats generally live for about a year due to external factors, whereas pet rats usually live up to 2 years. The oldest living rat in captivity was recorded at seven years, so if you put the effort in and look after your pet rat, they may surpass expectations and live well over two years.