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Rat Lifespan, How Old Can They Easily Get.

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rat lifespan

The rat as a pet can be a wonderful and amusing companion. But what is the normal rat lifespan? They’re friendly, intelligent, and easy to care for—not to mention rarely aggressive. Before bringing one into your home, it’s important to do some research on the species and consider factors like life expectancy.

Pet rats typically only live between two and four years in captivity, while some small mammals, such as rabbits and ferrets, may live to be ten years old. Because of the short commitment required, these pets are perfect for some households, but they are not a good choice for those looking for a lifelong friend.

You may also want to read about the ultimate rat feeding guide.

Rat Lifespan and Aging in the Average Rat

Rats have a relatively brief rat lifespan. The average rat lifespan of a domesticated pet rat is only 2-4 years, but the oldest rat ever kept as a pet lived to be 7! Yet, in comparison to their wild ancestors, which typically only live for about a year, the rat lifespan of a pet rat is significantly longer. As a result of predators, disease, and a lack of shelter, food, and veterinary care, the average rat lifespan of a wild rat is much lower.

Short lives are at least in part due to rats’ high metabolic rates and extremely rapid heart rates (300-500 beats per minute). The lifespan of an animal is partially determined by its genes. The average rat’s lifespan is shorter than that of other common house pets, but there may be subtle differences between different rat breeds. The life expectancy of hairless rats, for instance, is significantly lower because of the higher prevalence of health problems that plague them. Mutations and deformities that can be passed down through generations from inbred pet rats can also reduce their lifespan.

Around 37-75 days of age, rats become sexually mature. At about 3–4 weeks of age, it’s possible to tell male from female. Generally speaking, females have a longer rat lifespan and reach sexual maturity before males do. A female rat’s gestation period lasts for about 22 days, and she typically has anywhere from 6-13 offspring in a litter. Young rats reach sexual maturity and begin weaning at the same time, at 21 days of age.

rat lifespan

Why do some rats have a longer life expectancy than others?

The health of and lifespan of pet rats can be significantly impacted by genetics and inbreeding. Unfortunately, the majority of pet rats’ fatal illnesses can be traced back to subpar husbandry. For animals, “husbandry” encompasses not just their living conditions, but also their food and overall well-being.

Doing extensive research before adopting a pet rat is the best way to ensure that the rat lives a long, healthy, and happy life. A healthy diet is essential. Be sure to provide them with high-quality pellets, as well as fresh water and a variety of vegetables on a daily basis. It’s also fine to eat some fruit or lean meat on the rare occasion. It’s important to keep an eye on your pet rat’s diet to prevent obesity, which can lead to a host of health problems down the road.

Because of their constantly developing teeth, rats must constantly gnaw and chew. Keep their teeth worn down by giving them plenty of fun chew toys to play with. Another common issue with pet rats is excessive tooth growth and misalignment, both of which can usually be prevented with the right chews.

Ways to Extend Your Rat’s Life Span

A healthy and content pet rat is within your reach with just a few simple guidelines. Here are some tips for better husbandry, whether you’re looking into getting a pet rat or already have one at home.

-Examinations by a vet should be done regularly (every six to twelve months).

-Schedule routine bloodwork and stool samples for parasite testing with your vet.

-You should weigh your pet rat once a week using a gram scale to keep track of any changes.

-Use only pellets designed for rodents. Feeding amounts should be discussed with your veterinarian.

-Every day, serve vegetables, and on occasion, serve fruit or lean meat like chicken.

-Maintain a sanitary environment free of waste odors that could irritate their respiratory system.

-Tend to the room so that it is between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and between 40 and 70% humidity.

-Feeding seeds or diets high in seeds can cause your pet to gain weight because they don’t contain the proper nutrients. Feed them a good food.

-Keep an eye out for any abnormalities in your pet rat’s fur, behavior, weight, or the appearance of any lumps or bumps. The most obvious symptom of illness in a pet rat is a loss of body weight.

-Rats are sociable rodents that do best in communities. However, make sure the cages aren’t too small.

-Some vets suggest sterilizing rats before they reach sexual maturity (between 5-7 months old) to lessen the likelihood of them developing breast cancer.

-Because of their limited vision, you should take extra precautions to keep your rat inside its cage. They should not be able to reach any cords or get stuck in any narrow openings.

-Rats are easy prey for canines, felines, and ferrets, so they shouldn’t be released into the wild together.

-It is recommended that you avoid using wire floors because of the risk of developing dermatitis.

-Rats are social, intelligent creatures who benefit from challenging mental environments. Free them from their cage for at least half an hour daily. Alternate the toys and chews you give your pet to keep things interesting.

-Rats benefit from using exercise wheels, but you should make sure they are safe.