How Long Do Pet Rats Live

The Lifespan of Pet Rats

Pet rats typically live 2 to 3 years on average. With proper care and a healthy environment, some rats may live upwards of 3 to 4 years.

Factors Affecting Rat Lifespan


Some rat breeds tend to live longer than others. For example, the Brown Norway rat strain often lives over 3 years.

Housing Conditions

Rats kept in clean, spacious, and enriched environments tend to be healthier and live longer. Proper housing reduces stress and disease.


A nutritious diet with a mix of high-quality commercial rat food, fruits, vegetables, proteins, and limited treats promotes longevity.


Allowing rats daily playtime to exercise and socialize keeps them mentally and physically stimulated, supporting a longer life.

Veterinary Care

Regular vet checkups and prompt treatment for any health issues can significantly extend a rat’s lifespan.

Maximizing Your Pet Rat’s Lifespan

While 2 to 3 years is average, giving your pet rat a healthy lifestyle and great care can help them exceed expectations. With luck and the right environment, some rats live over 4 happy years.

Choosing the Right Rat Breed

Opt for breeds known for longevity like Brown Norway, Wistar, or Sprague Dawley rats. Avoid short-lived breeds like Hairless rats.

Housing Tips

Use large cages, provide toys for mental stimulation, keep cages clean, and give rats daily playtime outside the cage.

Ideal Rat Diet

Feed a high-quality pelleted rat diet low in fat and calories. Supplement with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Healthy Lifestyle

Give rats exercise wheels, tunnels, and other accessories to encourage activity. Socialize them daily. Quarantine new rats to avoid spreading illness.

Vet Care Essentials

See a qualified exotic vet for checkups every 6-12 months. Have rats spayed/neutered for health. Get fast treatment for any issues.

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