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Rat seem like the perfect pet, they are smarter than dog and cats, loving and just fun, but they have a very short life. That's the only thing that makes me worry about getting rats. How long have your rats lived? The book I have says you'll be lucky if your rat lifes past 2 1/2 years, I remember reading the oldest know rat was a Lab Rat that lived like 7 years and 3 months.
 

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Well pet stores say 3 to 5 years but it is hard to say because I've heard of people's rats living to be 2 1/2, 3, 3 1/2, 4, sometimes even older, but then there are younger rats and rats that are only a year that get respiratory infections or other complications and don't make it. I know that generally rats from a good breeder will most likely have a better quality of life and not be as prone to being sick.

I'm not an expert but I thought I'd throw in my two cents :D

I'm sure when some of the more experienced rat owners reply you'll get more info.
 

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For pets... two is good. Three is great. Five is amazing.

Seven is unheard of.
 

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On average years ago, I found my rats lived to 26 months. Nowadays I find that 22-24 months is more the average, with tumours, and other things showing up much much earlier with so much bad breeding going on.

My youngest adult rat to leave me was 10 months, but she was very sickly, but her sisters made it to 15 months (abdominal masses) and 25 months. They all were born at a shelter.

My oldest rat was Sebastian, a rat I got as a rehome at 22 months. He ended up with a lot of physical problems/conditions but no real illnesses at all. My beloved brave tiny man stayed until 38 months old when a small tumour in his throat was impeding his breathing and I let him and his beloved sickly girlfriend go, Seb's slightly older cagemate, Pippens, was pts at 37 months old and Pip's brother was 32 months when he contracted pneumonia but he was in terrible shape when I took in the 4 boys.

I find if you have a rat that makes it to 22 months then just enjoy every day as much as possible afterwards.

I have only a few oldies here.
Moth - 28 months old, she is just starting to slow down slightly. She's in great shape!
Hestia - 25 months old, is showing her age the most physically, with 2 small tumours, and a rapidly advancing spinal nerve degenerations. Happy and brighteyed though and somehow this girl can still climb! 8O
Shadow - 26 months old, took her in as a rehome in May. She's chubby but active and happy. Slight wheeze occasionally but its not from an active infection but scarring of the lungs.
Bella and Lisbet - 26 months old - new girls I was contacted about from my local HS. They wanted them to go to a good home for the remainder of their lives. They are doublerex and that is very uncommon here and could attract the "Oooh I want! Look it has no hair! That's freaky and different!" adopter. :(
A bit of respiratory we are working on, but active and healthy otherwise.

Enjoy those Golden Months people!!
When some of our rats slow down and like to cuddle and be loved on more than they used to. Its bittersweet but its part of the lifecycle, and remember that rats do not care about quantity so much as quality of life. They do not care if they only lived 18 months as long as they had a great 18 months. :mrgreen:
 

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the lifespan does vary a lot. I currently have a rat that was born sometime in 2004 and he's still doing great....you would never believe he's an old man. His son was born in 2005 and is doing great too. I also have a female that was born in 2005 that is not going to make it much longer due to a tumor.
 

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Our two petstore girls left us at approximately 2 years 4 months (we aren't sure on their birth date) So 28 months. They'd have lived longer, but Jazmyne had massive mammory tumors that were inoperable. She was beginning to have difficulties getting around and was obviously feeling some pain. And Sophie, her cage mate, we let go at the same time because we felt they'd rather not be apart. She'd probably have trucked on much longer, but she'd have been unhappy. Jazmyne was the only rat she would ever get along with.

We have three that are over the year mark and all are doing great. Not a tumor or breathing problem among them. Our oldest is 1 year and 8 months and she still acts like a 5 month old.
 

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as a general rule males tend to live longer then females but they all tend to leave us somewhere between the 2-3 year mark. i've had rats die at 18 months and one that lived to be 30 months. all my rats in the past have been pet store or rescues though so they didn't have great genetics to start with. and none of the females have ever been spayed (a lot that passed died because of tumors, only a couple because of URIs).

i have a hairless from a pet store as well who's doing wonderfully. ahe's about 7-8 months old now and is a real doll. but because she's a hairless variety her expected life span is only 1-2 years. their variety is corellated to having a lower immune system so they tend to get sicker when they get sick, as a result they don't tend to live as long as the furred.

i have a neutered male from a breeder that i'm hoping will get closer to the three year mark because of his genetics, but he is a blue and i heard that, that variety tends to not last quite as long as others.

it is also suggested that if you want to give your rats a longer life then having them spayed (and possibly neutered) may help increase it. i'm not sure if they have done any imperical research on this but this seems to be the concesus with pet owners of female rats. and it would make sense if you had them spayed young, before they matured and got all their hormones. mammorary tumors and PTs are hormone driven so if the hormones aren't there then the tumors are less likely to appear. as tumors is one of the leading causes of death in female rats decreasing the risk for the tumors would increase the likelihood that they will live longer. there has been some debate over just how effective this is if preformed later in life however and some controversy if lower testerone levels contributes to a prolonged life in males.

and of course the easiest way to prolong the life of your pet is to make sure it has a good diet, adequate cage space, a friend to fill his emotional needs when you cannot and to always have a good and knowlegble (or at least willing to learn) vet; you know, the stuff you do already. :)
 
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