How Long Do Rats Live (And why)?

Exact Answer : 1 to 2 years

Rats are social creatures that are long-tailed from Australia and Asia but are now found all over the world. Rats are members of the genus rattus. There are 51 documented species of rodent species within the rattus genus.

Rats differentiate from mice by having longer, thinner bodies and legs. According to the Integrated Taxonomical Information System, in the year 2009, more than 60 species of rats were discovered in the forest of Papua.

How Long Do Rats Live

How Long Do Rats Live? 

The average lifespan of rats1 to 2 years
The rare lifespan of rats3 to 4 years

Rats live together and that’s why a group of rats is known to be a pack. Rats give birth to new babies when male and female rats go together. They always prefer choosing an untouched place for the procedure.

Rats build nests from any material that is available in the area like grass, branches, trash, and paper. Their nest is built with rotting trees, buildings, or crevices.

Rats are omnivores, but some of them prefer meat whenever they get it. Brown rats are used by human beings for their primary food source whereas the others such as the white-tailed rats are vegetarians and eat foods such as fruits and seeds.

Most of the rats are likely to survive for a week but no more than two weeks, without having anything to eat. Rats are like squirrels as to love to store their food. Even if someone cuts their food source, they would still have some reserve to last them for a while. 


The lifespan of rats is strongly individual and depends on their living conditions, genetics, and diet. Female rats can live a month longer than male rats.

In most cases, everyone must have noticed that in online mode or asking a pet shop and around, they claim to say that rats can live up to 3 to 5 years and, some are even claiming more than that, which is simply nonsense.

From a survey on rats, it is found that they can not live for more than 2-3 years.

Why Do Rats Live That Long? 

One of the downsides of rats is their lifespan. It’s 24 to 27 months. There are several kinds of reasonable good lifespan surveys done over the years with a large group of rats.

Someone has to understand that there is a fair kind of variation in core across various parts of the world which also depends on the origin. Rats can produce offspring very fast. These are known as baby-making machines. 

The lifespan of male rats depends on the testosterone they produce. Female rats can reproduce 500 times in six hours but tropical rats tend to have only one to six babies at once. Brown rats produce up to 2000 offspring in a year. 


Rats can eat almost anything and are very hard to poison because they have super-efficient kidneys, though being so souped-up is a strain and their kidneys tend to pack up in the later life, leading to a general decline.

The life span of rats may get shortened by predation. Domestic rats have a longer lifespan than wild rats because they are protected from predators and have access to shelter, food, and proper medical care. Developing lumps is one of the main reasons for the death of domestic rats.


Brown and house rats can make mammals, birds, and reptile species extinct, especially on an oceanic island. They have also spread diseases among human beings.

According to research, 95% of lab animals are rats. Brown rats are used in laboratory research. White rats are preferred by people when the topic comes to keep rats as pet animals. White rats are comparatively less aggressive and more attractive which serves as the primary reason to pet them.

Irrespective of how attractive a rat is, keeping rats as pets have still not gained much popularity, and only a small number of people prefer it. Researchers still have a strong feeling that there are a few undiscovered species of rats that can be found in the depths of forests. 

It is a very strong hypothesis that there are three times more spices left to be discovered. The undiscovered animals can be of any size and can possess startling traits. The search is under action and scientists are eager to learn about the new species. 


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