Pest Control

How Long Do Rats Live? Average Rat Lifespan

Common (black) rats have a life expectancy of 18 to 24 months, sewer rats (gray) typically live 12 to 18 months. The rats in captivity tend to live longer than rats released .How long do rats live



In freedom he lives 18 months, while in captivity he reaches 2 or 3 years.


His life expectancy in freedom is 12 months, while in captivity he manages to live to 3 years.


There are about 60 species of rats (scientists have not agreed to establish an exact number). Those that have grown the most in population over time are urban rats, which include the black rat and the brown rat.


These rodents have an elongated body and are provided with a pointed snout. They also have large ears and a long tail that is populated with short hairs and some scales.

Precisely, like squirrels , the tail is one of the elements that allows it to maintain its balance , favoring the jumps they make. In the case of females, which are smaller than males, they have five pairs of breasts. The rats’ hair is usually short, thick and, curiously, soft.

Regarding the teeth, they have a total of 16, distributed in both the lower and upper jaws, although in general only the two large incisors at the bottom can be observed, which have a period of growth that it continues throughout his life .


Rats live everywhere on the planet except Antarctica. They have spread on all continents thanks to the use of ships by humans.

In cities they live underground, especially in sewers. Abroad they often create their burrows in dry lands.


The rat is recognized for having an omnivorous diet: that is, they feed on everything that passes through them, so much so that they can eat paper or other materials such as rubber at times when their appetite despairs them.

In fact, it is precisely their aggressive appetite that makes them stigmatized as dirty and unhygienic animals : they do not mind resorting to rotten food, insects or small young birds, for which they attack the nests as true predators.

And they are animals so hungry that cannibalism among their own species is quite recognized, with young rats being commonly eaten by their own parents.


Rats measure 17 to 21 centimeters , not counting the tail. It practically measures the same as your body.

The size of rats varies by species. For example, the rattus osgoodi, which is a species that comes from the south of Vietnam, has measures that range from 12 to 17 centimeters, discounting the length of the tail. Other large species reach a length between 19 and 27 centimeters, with a tail whose size can be up to 34 centimeters.


The average weight of the rats is 200 grams . Depending on the species, the weight of these animals can range between 95 and 600 grams. Rats weighing several kilos have even been found.


It is curious that intercourse between the female and the male usually lasts for a short duration of two to three seconds. Then a gestation begins for a period of approximately one month. In labor, from 5 to 22 pups can be born , which is why this is another factor why this animal is so hated.

Life expectancy of rats

To exacerbate this situation, it only goes without saying that five or six weeks after birth, the female offspring are already mature enough to be part of the project of the reproduction and expansion of the species.

The offspring, which usually weigh around 6 grams, are born hairless, blind and devoid of hearing . After birth, the mother deposits them in the burrow, which is conditioned with hair and traces of plant matter.


    • Gender : they belong to different genres.
    • Size and Weight : Rats are larger and heavier than mice.
    • Snouts : that of rats is large and wide, while that of mice is narrow and sharp.
  • Ears : The ears of the mice are larger compared to their head.
  • Eyes : those of rats are small, quite the opposite of what happens with mice.
  • Diet : rats are omnivorous, while mice are mainly herbivores.



In all probability, rats are one of the animals that cause the greatest repulsion and disgust in humans. The association of their vulgarity and lack of hygiene is so crude that their own name is used in a derogatory way to refer to the same thieves and corrupt politicians.


In countries like India, he is treated with great respect . Proof of this is the so-called Temple of Rats, where thousands of these rodents are fortunate to be cared for as kings, finding great dishes filled with milk, water, fruit and bread. Karni Mata, as this sanctuary is called, was created by a scholarly woman who bore that name.

When this woman lost her drowned son, she asked Yama, the god of death, to bring her back to life, but her request was denied. Karni Mata, who was also a deity, then decided that all his descendants incarnate in rats , to prevent Yama from obtaining human souls again.

How long does a domestic rat live

A domestic rat can live two to three years, with adequate food, if it has the ability to move and exercise enough.

How long does a sewer rat or gray rat live?

The sewer rat lives between a year and a year and a half, in the wild. 

how long does a rat live

How long does a common or brown rat live

The common or brown rat has a life expectancy of between 18 months and 2 years , being somewhat longer-lived than the gray rats.

As you can see, the rat that lives the most is the common rat, but as long as it is in captivity, and well cared for. In general, all rat species increase their longevity in captivity, with a good diet and special care.

Even his relative, the sewer, who in principle the somewhat less long-lived, can reach two and a half years of life, if he is under good care, and not in the open.

The reason is that rats in the street are exposed to many dangers, such as harmful chemicals and also to the cold, sometimes they do not get enough food, or they look for it in the garbage. All this contributes to suffering from diseases, and to shortening their life.

You can learn much more about these animals , and how many different species there are, by clicking on our special article about them.

Where do rats live?

Rats are present in Africa, America, Europe, Oceania and Asia. Each of these places with its own species of the region and the only place not yet conquered by these mammals is Antarctica, which with temperatures of 10 degrees below 0, make the survival of these animals there is impossible.

In the cities they live in all the sewers, on the roofs, in addition to the houses of many humans. In the rural or jungle environment, they take shelter by sheltering themselves and burrows.


After a month and a half of life, the females are fully mature to reproduce , a factor to take into account to understand the easy spread of these animals. Rats surely have the shortest sexual act in nature, with just 3 seconds duration.

After that, its gestation is about 30 days, being also one of the shortest among mammals. Depending on each species, the number of children they have is beastly, and a single pair of rats reproducing in the street without control, in just a few months can create a true plague. Find out more about their reproduction and how many young a rat has a year here.

What do rats eat?

This is the most characteristic trait of these rodents and it is clearly that they eat everything, that is, they are completely omnivorous.

In the wild, a rat can eat anything from food scraps, human waste, rice, wheat, seeds, roots, fruit, or grass, to smaller animals . Although its nature is a scavenger and not a hunter, cases have been documented where this mammal traps minor prey.


Rats are small mammals with an elongated body, an elongated snout, and wide ears that allow them to detect possible dangers in the area by detecting sounds.

His teeth are 16, and they are well visible, especially the two lower incisors, of enormous size, which do not stop growing. Their teeth are strong, and they are strategically distributed through both jaw arches to facilitate access to a very varied diet, since they are omnivorous animals.

Mammary glands at number 10 allow it to feed several young at the same time, and in turn, as in other rodents, a long tail gives it balance while it travels long distances.

How tall is a rat?

The length of a rat is clearly something that is magnified by people who fear it, but in general they measure about 20 cm is what this animal comes to have as a measure, without counting the tail, which in turn, measures another 20 centimeters additional.

Some species manage to reach 30 and 35 cm in body length, despite not being much, it can certainly make anyone who comes across it by surprise tremble.

How much does a rat weigh?

This can be very variable, since there are several species, but generally rats weigh from 200 or 300 grams the smallest, up to about 600 grams or even more in the largest.

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