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How Long Do Rats Live?

bunch of rats

Rats have continued to be one of the most damaging invasive species in many households and properties. These thin-tailed, medium-sized rodents can cause a lot more harm than good once they find their way into your home uninvited. Rats are handy and clever and the environment dictates how long do rats live. Despite their origin being traced back to Australia and Asia, these creatures are now available in all corners of the world. With the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) estimating that there are 60 species of rats, it’s understandable why these rodents come in multiple colors and sizes.

Considering that rats can fit through tiny places and climb over walls and trees, they can access your home in various ways. You may know a few things about rats, but you must have a few questions you may want answers to. Below, we’ll try to answer some of these questions, including:

  • What do rats eat?
  • Do they bite?
  • How Long do they live?
  • Are they dangerous?
  • Which habits do they have?

What Do Rats Eat?

The reason why rats are among the topmost destructive rodents in the world is that they can chew on anything. Thus, when it comes to their feeding, it depends on what is available. Rats are omnivores in nature, but they are also opportunist that can consume anything that smells nice. So, if they invade your home, these rodents can eat everything from pet food, fruits, insects, seeds, plants, and any human food. They scavenge through trash and can devour any food that’s left uncovered in the house.

It’s not uncommon to discover that rats have chewed even your favorite clothing, bedsheets, and even books. They’ve also been known to chew rough items such as wood, wires, cinder blocks, and even lead. Actually, rats’ presence is considered a fire hazard since they can chew electrical cables and wires.

Do They Bite?

Rats are not habitually biting creatures, but they can do so if they feel cornered. So, it is advisable to use recommended rat extermination techniques to get rid of them. Hunting them with a baseball bat or trying to catch them with bare hands can see you get painful bites. Besides the pain, their bites can cause rat-bite fever, a condition that can be fatal if not treated immediately.

How Long Do Rats Live?

Most homeowners wonder how old a rat can get, and they often think that the creature can overgrow and die without being exterminated. They tend to forget that rats reproduce rapidly, especially when they get enough food and the right conditions. It is crucial to understand how long a rat lives can depend on its species, its overall condition, and the environment’s conduciveness.

The average lifespan of a rat has been thought to be anything between one and two years. Most rat species live around one to two years. However, if your home offers ample living standards for these rodents, they can even last for more than three years. If rats are getting enough food and water in your house, this can extend their lifespan.

Although there’s no conclusive data on how long rats can last without food and water, most studies have concluded that the rodents can’t stay more than two weeks without them. However, this doesn’t mean that you can get rid of rats by starving them.

These creatures are creative and can start eating even clothes, cables, and books in your residence. Additionally, these rodents are known to store food that can last for a few days as they look for another food source. Considering how cunning and opportunistic rats are, getting rid of them requires a multi-step approach that only a qualified professional can achieve.

How Long Do Rats Live? Reproduction Means Forever?

Rats are often referred to as baby-making machines. Females can mate up to 500 times in six hours. Once they conceive, rats can give birth to an average of six to eight young ones. Female rats have a gestation period of between 21 to 26 days. Brown rats are ready to give birth as early as three months as soon as they are born. While a rat’s lifespan is anywhere between one to two years, the University of Michigan suggested that 91% to 97% of them die within their first year.

Why are Rats Dangerous?

There are several reasons why having rats in your property or residence can be dangerous.

rats going into hole in wall
Rats can cause damage to your home in a variety of ways
  1. Fire Hazard – As mentioned earlier, rats are fond of chewing anything on their path, including electrical wires and cables, and wooden beams. For this reason, they can cause fires if they cut electrical wiring on the walls or cables and wires on appliances. They can also cut through gas pipes, causing leakages that can result in deadly fires.
  2. Structural Damages – The fact that rats can chew anything when they are bored is enough reason to warn you that they can cause devastating structural damages to your property. These rodents have ridiculously sharp teeth that can allow them to gnaw through wooden parts of your home, including roof trusses, floor joists, headers, and frames. They can also destroy the drywall, plastic components, and even mild steel.
  3. Parasites, Pests, and Diseases – If you thought structural damage and electrical fires are all that rats can do, you’d be surprised to learn that they can carry and transmit diseases to humans. These rodents can harbor parasites and pests on their bodies, such as fleas and ticks, transmitting diseases.

The most worrying part is that the rodents can transmit various diseases through their feces, urine, and saliva. This means that you don’t have to any contact with these creatures to get sick. If you consume any food contaminated by rats by urine, feces, or saliva, you may contact the disease. Some of the disease they may carry include:

  • Rat-bite fever
  • Leptospirosis
  • Hantavirus
  • Bubonic plague
  • Typhus
  • Rickettsial disease

How To Keep Rats Off Your Property

Homeowners have plenty of preventative measures in their basket to avoid rats’ infestation. The most typical one is to ensure that your houses are clean and ensuring that their trash is firmly secured. However, this may not help avoid the problem altogether. You may still have rats in your home even after a thorough cleaning. When this happens, the most apparent remedy is to get a professional exterminator. Be aware, where there is one there is more and once they have gotten inside they will wreak havoc without even being noticed.