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How Long Do Rats Live?

Last Updated: 20.01.22


Do you think your comfortable house is being invaded by rats? If that’s the case, maybe you’d like to find out some useful information regarding rat traps — check out our post on the matter.


Get to know your enemy

Before you panic about having a visit from these little friends, you should probably know a little something about them. Rats are medium rodents that can adapt to various conditions. They exist all over the world and they have been terrifying people for a long time — millions of years to be more exact.

Because of the adaptation ability, they can live in many places and conditions. You can find rats in wild areas like a forest. Also, they can be found in tropical zones. In these areas, they eat small animals and plants.

Rats can also live in urban areas too. They get into buildings, inside walls or in the basements. They love warm places and having access to food. If they can find food, they can live in any condition. Another place from urban areas where rats can live is sewerage. This is a way for them to find other houses and buildings to enter. Also, they are not disturbed too often in this type of habitat.

The next question you will probably ask yourself (if you’ve never seen one) is how they look. Rats are rodents with different colors and the most common ones are gray, brown, black; they have fur and a long tail without fur. Their eyes can be black or red. They have medium size usually, but these features may vary according to their species.

Another fact that should interest you is their alimentation. They are omnivores and, because of their long front teeth, they can eat a large variety of things. Yes, not only food. They eat grains, fruits, vegetables and they love sweet things. Some of them eat even meat or fish. But they also can chew cables or furniture, so they never limit chewing just the food.

In order to know if your house is a magnet for rats, you should know that they love food, water, and a good place to live. Make sure that your house does not offer them all of these. Check out your yard and the bricks, wood, bowls of water or food for your pets or birds. Also, they can eat from your garbage so throw out the trash. They will probably go to your house during the cooler seasons when they don’t find so much food outdoor. They love cereal, rice, oats, but also pet food. Check these and make sure that you are depositing them in the right conditions.



Do you have rats?

Before thinking about a rat invasion, you have to realize whether you actually have rats. There are some signs of their existence that will show you that they are in your house.


Signs of rats

The most common signs are rat droppings, rub marks, scratching noises, holes, and footprints. Rat droppings are one of the signs and can transmit diseases. It has a dark brown color and an unpleasant smell. If the color is darker, the poop is fresh and they may be in your home; if the color is grey, then their visits are probably older.

Rat holes are other signs of their presence. Usually, rats dig holes outside so they can infiltrate in your house structure. They search for food and water and, of course, for a place to hide. Scratching noises are usually heard in the night. They love to climb and make grinding noises with their teeth.

These are the most common signs of their existence. You should take some action immediately because rats can produce a lot of damage. Not only will they eat your food, your furniture or even your electric cables, but they can also make you ill.


How long do rats generally live?

There is not a specific answer to this question as rats are mostly killed by people or by other animals. But the average lifespan is around one year if they live in the wild. If they live longer than a year, they are survivors because, even if they have water and food, there are predator animals that catch them. The rats that are kept as pets can live to be 4 years old because they are kept in comfortable conditions and they have plenty of food.

In their lifetime, rats reproduce very often — up to 15 times per year. Rats become sexually mature when they are four or five weeks old. A female rat that lives to be two or three years old can give birth to hundreds or even thousands of other rats. So, what happens with so many rats? Many of them die as they are killed by predators, but many of them can also die because of lack of food and water.


How long can they live without food or water?

Rats can survive without food for two weeks. But, like other animals, rats like to store their food for a special situation like this one. Unlike people, rats can survive without water for some time. They are animals that need food to survive; the water is extracted from their food. They can survive from a couple of days to a couple of weeks without having access to food — and even more than that without having access to water.

If you don’t want to wait until the rats that have infested your household die of water or food deprivation, there are other methods of getting away from them. Poisoning them is one of these methods.



How long do rats live after being poisoned?

If you want to use poison in order to get rid of rats, you can call the exterminators or you can buy some poison by yourself. But you should inform yourself about it before making this decision.

Depending on the type of poison you used, the rat can be dead in a few hours or in a couple of days. The most common types of poison are anticoagulants, bromethalin, and vitamin-based poison.

The poison that contains anticoagulants is the most common one. It can take a couple of days to be effective since it works quite slow, especially when compared to others. Bromethalin is a type of substance that affects rats’ brain. A single dose can kill more than a rat. The vitamin-based poison is slower; it may take one day or more to affect the rats’ digestive system, and after that, kill them.

What exactly does the poison do? The poison is a combination of chemical substances that cause some damages to the rats’ body. The symptoms can be vomiting, internal bleeding, dehydration. They can have an immediate effect or it may take several days until they finally die. This is not an ideal option, but it is certainly a very fast one.




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