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ok, the internet is all over the place about this one...first i researched domestic rats, apparently they live for about 3 years (although my friend's lived for 6!). then i researched wild rats (my baby is a wildie), half the sites said they live for maximum 2 years, the other half claim that they live for about 5 years. has anyone got experience with wildies? is there actually a difference?
thank youuu
 

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In the wild, they're likely to live short lives around a year. Domestic I believe they're like regular rats around 2-3 years.
 

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The shorter lifespan in wild rats is usually environmentally related (competition, predators, etc.). I've never read anywhere that they're genetically encoded for that short of a lifespan, so you could probably expect at least a little increase in lifespan for captive "wild" rats.
 

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There are multiple kinds of wild rat, from the common "black" or "roof" rat, to Wood rats (aka Packrat). They're likely to have diffrent life expentancies so thats probubly why your findings are all over the place.
 

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If you are talking Brown rats, same species as our fancy rats, the life expectancy is the same. If they are captive you can expect them to live roughly the same lifespan. About 2 1/2 - 3 is probably average.

If they are living in the wild it will be much shorter.

Same things can effect the lifespan in a captive brown rat as our pet rats-genetics-diet-care given. Those living in the wild will have a high mortality rate-very few will make it to adulthood. Those that make it into adult hood will probably live on average of 1-2 years depending on food availability, shelter, predators in the area and disease. Once they slow down with age they most likely will not be able to survive.

Basic life expectancy study on brown rats- http://genomics.senescence.info/species/entry.php?species=Rattus_norvegicus
 

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I was going to say the same as kksrats. Wild rats live shorter lives, but that's because they face predators, cold, starvation-. A rat born in the wild but raised as a pet should have the same expected lifespan as any pet rat. Genetically if they're a brown rat, also called a norway rat, the only physical difference is color.
 

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Average lifespans vary a fair bit depending on genetics amongst norways in general. You can select for longer lifespans but that is very much fighting nature (rats are "designed" to live fast, have many babies and die young, its what makes them a success story). What maximum age your rat could reach depends a lot on those initial genetics. Then the rest is down to care, exposure to illnesses and enviromental factors. With the vast majority of rats being bred regardless of lifespan (even in pet rat circles) i would say your nearly as likley to have a long lived wild rat as you are a long lived pet rat, the only difference being theres no real advantage in the wild to having the potential to live for ages when your likley to be killed at some point. Pet rats who live for longer than normal are more likley to father more litters if in a back to back litter situation so they do have a reason to slightly improve there lifespan, as do breeder rats where the breeder selects for long lived rats.
 

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One easy way to tell if it is a roof rat or Norway rat is to look at the tail. Is it really long, longer than her head and body? If so, that's a good sign it's a roof rat.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
yeah its super long and her ears are massive! she is the funniest little character, so energetic and sweet :)
 
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