How Long Do Rats Live?

One of the most common questions potential rat owners have is how long these furry creatures live. The answer, unfortunately, is not always clear.  Rat lifespan vary widely depending on several factors, including diet, exercise, and genetics.

The Life Expectancy of Rats

The life expectancy of any given animal is determined by its diet, habitat and predation risk. In general, smaller animals tend to live shorter lives than larger ones.

Interesting Facts About Rat’s Lifecycle

Rats are interesting creatures, and their life cycle is fascinating to observe. At the time of birth, rats are visually impaired and deaf. They are utterly dependent on their mother for food and sanctuary.

Types of Rat That Live in the Wild

The Brown Rat

It is one the largest among the three, with a body growing up to 40cm long. They are brown all over, with a long tail that is often lighter in color than the rest of their fur.


Dark Rats have glossy fur and are larger than Brown Rats, growing to a length of around 25cm. They often build nests high off the ground—for example, in trees or on rooftops.

The norway Rat

Also called the Sewer Rat, is often found in sewers and other underground areas. They have a stocky body that grows to around 30cm in length, and their fur is brown with a greyish tinge.

How Long Do Wild Rats Usually Live?

In the wild, rats typically live for 2-3 years. However, rats are well cared for and protected from predators; they can live for up to 5 years. The most extended recorded lifespan for a rat in captivity is eight years.