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How Long Do Pet Rats Live

Not everyone loves big pets like cats and dogs. If you would love to have a small pet that is child-friendly, having a rat can be the best animal companion.  I know most of you regard rats as rodents and carry diseases not to mention the fleas and leaving droppings all over. The truth is, this is not what you should expect if you get a baby rat, raise it and spend more time playing with it.

You will find that pet rats are very intelligent as long as you treat them with love. These adorable little creatures are trainable, social and when given the right nutrition, they can last up to 3 years as compared to wild rats.

If you are looking forward to keeping a rat as a pet, there are a lot of facts that you need to know about how long do pet rats live, what they east, care and much more. This guide covers everything that you need to know about pet rats. Go through it and I believe you will find it resourceful.

Why Are Rats Good Pets?

Do rats make good pets? The first question that you would ask yourself is, why would a person want to have a rat as a pet? There are so many reasons why people choose rats as pets. Keeping rats as pet began hundred years ago and many people find it very strange.

You can decide to keep one or many rats depending on different conditions. For instance, if you work from home and you speed up to 6 hours at home, you can have one rat because you have ample time to spend together. However, if you spend most of time in school or work away from home, it is great to get like 3 rats so that they can keep each other company. Rats are naturally social so they will need your company or the company of other rats when you are no there.

If you are not convinced why you need to have a pet rat, the following are some of the major reasons why people keep rats as pets.

  • They are low maintenance pets
  • They are loving and bond with human
  • Rats have endless personalities
  • They are very clean
  • The cost of keeping pet rats is low
  • Highly trainable
  • Pet rats are easy to find
  • They are clean and healthy
  • Available in different varieties

Different Types of Rat Species

How long do rats live? This is a common question among many people who love pet rats. The first thing that you need to understand is that rats come in different textures, pet rat colors and breeds. Today, there are 6 domestic pet rat breeds that you can choose. Each of the rat breed has different personality traits as well as care requirements. I will take you through the different rat breeds in details so that you can understand them deeper and know how long each breed is likely to live based on the nutrition and care you give.

1. Standard

Standard rats are available in a wide range of colors and they look adorable. When you get the rat when it is a baby, they become docile and very friendly. In fact, you will find them hanging on your shoulder or inside your pocket most of the time. In as much as these rats are easy to find, I would recommend you to get one from a local breeder.

If you visit most pet stores, you will notice that they keep the rats in bad conditions that can lead to many medical conditions. You should also know that if you get a rat that comes from poor breeding, it might not last long.

2. Rex

This is another type of rat breed that you can pick. The rats have a coat filled with curls. They are also available in different colors and coat patterns.  They have the same traits as the standard rats. Since they are not available in most pet stores, you can get one from a breeder.

3. Hairless

This is one of the most sensitive rat breed. The rats get chilled easily and their skin is highly sensitive to things like materials and beddings. If you want to keep this type of rat, ensure that their cages has many snuggly items. Alternatively, you can bring a hairy rat to snuggle them.

You need to note that sunlight can burn their skin and they can develop cold or fever. You can put them in sunlight for a short time but make sure their skin doesn’t end up with burns. You need to know hairless rat care because they are sensitive as compared to other types of rats.

4. Dumbo

This is a term that is used to refer to the ears of the rat. If you find that a rat has ears on their head instead of the top, it is referred to as a dumbo. You can combine this type of rat with other species and you can also find them as rexes r hairless.

5. Dwarf

If you don’t want to get a big rat, you might consider a dwarf. These rats are normally 1/3 of the standard rats but they have the same personality.

6. Tailless

Did you know that there are tailless rats? This is a very rare type of rat that is perfect for people who love rats but don’t really love their tales. These rats have the same traits as the nubbin and standard rat.

How Long Do Pet Rats Live

Rats are playful companions that are also very affectionate and intelligent. If you have a rat or want to keep one, you might be interested in knowing their lifespan.  As compared to larger pets like cats and dogs, small pets like mice, rats and other have a shorter lifestyle. There are different ways in which you can help your rat stay healthy for long depending of the diet and care.

The average lifespan of a rat is 2to 3 years. However, according to rat experts, they can last up to 4 or 5 years. If you choose a healthy rat and then give it the best care and nutrition, it can last longer.

When you compare domestic rats with wild rats (fancy rats), you will note that domestic rats last loner as compared to wild rats. In fact, many wild rats don’t even make to reach their first birthday. The fancy rat lifespan can be between 6-11 months.

Rats that stay in the wild face a lot of challenges and dangers from the predators. They are also affected by food shortage and considering all these, they end up with a very short lifespan.

When people started domesticating rats, their average lifespan was around 1 ½ years to 2 years. However, with improved knowledge, veterinary care, and proper feeding, this has made the rats to last for up to 4 years on the recent years.

Some pet owners also think that the coat color of the rat can affect their lifespan; however, the coat color has nothing to do with the lifespan of a rat. In as much as hairless rats do not live longer, any pet color even albino can live long if they are bred and taken care of properly.

One of the most common problems that affect the lifespan of a rat is inbreeding. This is because if an inexperienced breeder can pass undesirable traits with other coat color or color.

Understanding the Life Cycle of Rats

Now that you have an idea about the lifespan of rats, it would be better if you also know the real life cycle of a rat. According to rat experts, the life cycle of a rat can be divided into 4 phases. We have the newborn stage, 4 weeks stage, I year stage and over 1-year stage.

When rats are born, they are very tiny, do not see and they totally depend on their mothers. Interestingly, they grow very quickly and begin to crawl within a span of 5 days. After two weeks, they begin to open their eyes.

When a rat is at 4 weeks stage, they no longer depend on their mother. At this stage, they begin to feed themselves but still need the company of the other siblings to ensure that they all develop socially. When the rats is around 6-8 weeks, this is the right stage to get the rat at home as a baby rat.

When they are 1 year old, the rats reach fill adulthood and they because very active and playful. They are also very easy to train. When they become more than one year old, they will be less active and they might develop some common health problems just like older pets.

How to Train Rats

Rats make the best pets because they are very affectionate and know how to bond with their owners. The best thing that you will love pet rats is that they are easily trainable. They are very smart when it comes to learning.

Rats are like human toddlers, if you keep them on a schedule, they can look forward to things like feeding and taking them out of their cages the same time every day. You can motivate your rat to learn new behaviors and it is better to do this when the rat is still young. You can also teach them simple command like paw shake, responding to their names, standing up, move on games and tricks, jumping through hoops and much more.

When your rat has learned the basics, it is now time to teach them more impressive things. Advanced training might require more time as well as patience.

How to Train Rats

How to Take Care of Pet Rats

The lifespan of rats depends on how you take care of them and how you feed them. If you have a healthy rat, then it can last for longer. The right age to acquire a rat is when it is 6 weeks old. You need to look for a rat that is healthy, has a shiny coat and the eyes are bright. If you find that your rat is sneezing or has some runny nose, then it might not be healthy. You should also check the rat’s dropping and ensure that it is firm and dark.

One of the best ways that will help you know if a rat is healthy is when they are curious and active.

Just like other pets, what you feed your rat really matter. If you give them too much food, then they can become obese. According to research carried out, reducing the amount of food can increase the lifespan of your rat as well as overall health. On top of that, if you feed your rat with antioxidants, this can greatly help increase their lifespan.

Some of the healthy foods that you can feed your rat include vegetable peas, carrots broccoli among others/ occasionally, you can feed your rat fruits. Rats also love food that people eat like nuts, bread, eggs and much more.

Apart from giving your rat a healthy diet, it is also important to check it for health conditions from time to time. This is because rats are commonly prone to respiratory infections, tumors, and pneumonia among others.

Final Words

There are so many benefits that you will get when you have a rat as your pet. These small and adorable creatures are easy to maintain, they are clean and require little maintenance as compared to larger pets. There are different types of rat species that you can choose from depending on your liking.

If you were wondering pet rat lifespan, I believe you have got your answers as well as other important information from this comprehensive guide. I have important information that you need to know about rat pets as well as their lifespan. You need to take care of your rat and feet it the right to increase its lifespan.

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