The Life Expectancy of Pet Rats And How To Prolong Their Life

Decorative rats live on average from 1.5 to 3 years. However, this period can change both downward and upward. And it depends on the owners themselves.

We will find out how you can increase the lifespan of rats, as well as analyze the factors that shorten the age of these rodents.

How Long Do Domestic Rats Live?

The recorded longevity record for domestic rats is 7 years. However, this age is considered abnormal, since on average, domestic rats live no more than 3 years. This period may vary slightly depending on the breed, gender, genetics, and conditions of detention.

At home, males of decorative rats live longer than females. Also, the lifespan of nulliparous females is usually 6–12 months longer than that of parous animals.

Factors Affecting The Lifespan Of Rats

The life expectancy of Pet Rats

Both genetic and phenotypic factors affect how many years a pet rat lives.


Unfortunately, in most laboratories and at the present time, people continue to use such methods of testing medicines and other drugs, such as setting a bioassay on rodents. At the same time, animals not only endure torment from the pathologies and side effects from the injected drugs developing in their body but also undergo specific crossing, as a result of which they acquire genes for obesity, diabetes mellitus, oncological, and other diseases.

Closely related crossing (inbreeding) also negatively affects life expectancy. First, developmental abnormalities begin to appear in the pups. Then such families gradually degenerate due to an increase in the number of non-viable offspring.

It occurs in unscrupulous or inexperienced breeders who do not have time to place the animals in time after breastfeeding ends or keep a large number of rodents in one cage in order to save money and make a “quick” profit.

It is impossible to fully insure against the purchase of a rat with genetic disorders. Therefore, it is worth buying animals through special clubs in which people are responsible for the issue of breeding pets.

Features of a particular breed

When breeding a breed, certain parameters are taken as a basis. These include:

  • coat color and length;
  • the shape and location of the auricles;
  • the presence of a tail;
  • eye color and others.

But external data is determined by genes, which often adversely affect the health of rodents. For example, white rats with red eyes are prone to cancer and allergies, and low immunity rarely allows them to live up to 1.5–2 years.

The life expectancy of Pet Rats

The long-livers among the breeds are representatives of the Dumbo breed. Rats with cute round ears live up to 3–3.5 years. Blue rats and huskies live about the same.

How long will a hairless mole rat live depends on the conditions of detention. The absence of a coat makes them so sensitive to temperature extremes that even slight hypothermia can lead to death or serious pathology. The average lifespan of a hairless mole rat is 1.5 to 2 years.

Rexes and representatives of the Standard breed usually live up to 2 years.

Feeding and maintenance

Rapid metabolism in rats requires frequent feeding throughout the day. In addition, food should be complete and varied, contain the necessary vitamins and minerals, as well as a sufficient amount of proteins and fiber.

Important! Products harmful to rodents can cause allergic reactions, dramatically reduce immunity, lead to the development of diabetes mellitus, pathologies of the digestive and urinary system. All this significantly shortens their lifespan.

With insufficient hygiene and irregular replacement of the litter, rodents develop allergic reactions, the body’s resistance decreases, and respiratory diseases occur. Therefore, animals that live in poor sanitary conditions, in cold rooms, or in drafts, rarely live up to 1–1.5 years.

The lifespan of domestic rats, which are constantly under stress, in most cases is no more than 1 year.

Important! It has been noticed that the lack of attention from the owners is a strong stress for domestic rats.

The factors that determine life expectancy include the presence of sufficient physical activity. Rodents, which are contained in small cages and are deprived of the ability to fully move, are obese and die early enough.

Dental health

Domestic rats’ teeth grow throughout their lives. If soft and moist food predominates in the rodent’s diet, then natural grinding does not occur, and the process of eating becomes difficult or completely impossible. Therefore, it is so important that the main part of the menu is made up of solid foods (grains, raw vegetables).

How To Extend The Life Of A Pet Rat

The life expectancy of Pet Rats

For a rat to live a long life, it needs to be provided with adequate nutrition, satisfactory care, sufficient activity and a favorable moral atmosphere. To do this, before purchasing a pet, it is worthwhile to study the rules of feeding and maintenance in advance, prepare a cage of the appropriate size and a place where it should be placed.

It is very important that all family members agree that the rat will live in the house. Animals are very sensitive to negative or even open hostile attitudes. This forces them to be under constant stress, which reduces their lifespan.

It is also very important to constantly monitor your pet’s health. In case of refusal to feed, lethargy, injury, or the appearance of other symptoms of pathologies, it is necessary to contact a ratologist in a timely manner.

Owners of decorative rodents should remember that rats live at home for a relatively short time. Therefore, it is worth making every effort to make the life of your pets comfortable.

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