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How Long Do Rats Live? The Lifespan of Pet Rats, Wild Rats…

two rats feeding

License: Public Domain

As there are a variety of rat species in the UK, there’s also a variety in their life spans. Not all species have the same one. However, it doesn’t depend only on the species but also on the environment in which a rat lives.

Since rats are omnivores and would eat almost anything, it’s very unlikely that they would ever starve to death. So how long do rats live when they are not threatened by starvation?

Average lifespan of a rat

The average lifespan of rats has been estimated by a study conducted in the UK and was found to be 1.8 years. Estimating that only about 5% of rats can live up to three years or more.

In general, the longevity of a rat’s life is strongly individual and is mostly based on its living conditions, genetics, and diet. Meaning that if a rat is living in a safe place and has enough food and water, and doesn’t have any genetic issues, it can live up to three and more years. See how old a rat is compared to human years.

That being said, you should know that the rats that we consider pests in the U.K. have a lifespan of one or two years, depending on the species and external conditions. Rarely will one survive up to three years. However, they reproduce quite fast, so having even one rat in your home can soon lead to an infestation that only a professional rat control team will be able to deal with.

How long do rats live without food and water?

How long can rats live without food?

How long would a rat survive without food is not definitive. It greatly depends on the rat’s organism. It’s very likely that most would survive for a week but no more than two weeks, without having anything to eat.

Rats are like squirrels and like to store their food. So even if you cut their food source they would still have some reserve to last them for a while.

How long do rats live without water?

Rats and mice are small creatures who don’t need as much water as they need food. In fact, they get water from the food they eat. So in reality, rats are the opposite of people. Whereas we can live no more than a couple of days without water and weeks without food, rats would live longer without water than they would without food.

How long do rats live after eating poison?

It depends on the type of poison used on the rat. There are three main types and each acts differently and takes a different amount of time to get the job done.

Anti-coagulants
Bromethalin
Vitamin-based
  • These are the slowest working rat poisons. They affect the blood clotting of the rat and in a few days, the rat will be dead. Some popular anticoagulants are warfarin and fumarin.

  • These poisons are a neurotoxin and work the fastest. It attacks the liver and the brain of the rat and in a couple of hours, the rat will drop dead. A rat can die after a single feeding on the poison. This poison should not be used by people with pets.

  • These poisons flood the rat’s organism with one of the fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, K). These poisons take up close to a day to kill the rat.

*Keep in mind that rat poison is not recommended because it can lead to a rat dying somewhere in your home where it’s hard to reach and remove it. Your home will have a pungent smell when the rat starts decomposing.

*It is also not recommended because it is dangerous for children and pets in your home. But if you decide to use poison to deal with your rat problem, then you’ll need a dead animal disposal service to take care of the carcasses in a safe manner.

*And even to wildlife animals, if they happen to feed on the poisoned rat.

How long do domestic rats live?

How long do pet rats live?

black rat in captivity
Many rats species can be domesticated and taken care of as pets. There are forums and sites dedicated to people who love having rats as pets. In reality, rats are not that different from store-bought hamsters and guinea pigs, they just have a worse reputation.

As pets, they can be quite fun to have. A pet rat, regardless of the species, if it’s taken proper care of can even live up to five years. That is if the rat itself is healthy. Some of the domesticated rats come from a lineage of lab rats and this makes them predisposed to tumours, which can significantly shorten their lifespan.

How long do wild rats live?

Wild rats have different lifespan depending on the species. However, that lifespan can be cut short at any time if a predator, such as a fox or an owl, attacks and kills the rats. That’s why their average lifespan is much shorter.

In the wild, with food, water and shelter rats can live up to three years with a lot of luck. The Black rat lives up to a year and the Brown rat lives up to two years. Some can outlive the average lifespan.

How long do sewer rats live?

Sewer rats are rodents of any species that can be found in any plumbing system, outdoors and indoors. Some people think that flushing a live rat down the toilet will kill it or at least get it away from the house. However, that is not completely true, as rats can swim back and get in your home through your toilet. Sewer rats won’t live as long as rats in the wild because the environment is much more unhealthy. Even though they are capable of resisting a lot of bacteria.



Where do rats go to die?

It’s a myth that a rat would exit your house after eating poison and die somewhere outside. It is actually more likely to die inside of your home, and if you are lucky enough you will find it easily by the dead rat smell and get rid of it.

But in many cases, rats die inside of walls or under floorboards and it requires a professional destroying the wall or floor to get rid of the dead rat. Or you have to wait three or more weeks for the smell to fade away…

Panther Pest Control is a pest control company that can help you with any pest problem.

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