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Hi... I have two male rats, Tucker and Chase, who are brothers. I was on a trip out of the country recently for ten days, and had just gotten home July 2. My mother fed the boys while I was away and reported no issues. On July 3 I gave them their fruits and veggies which happened to be banana and something else( I am sorry, I forgot). This was the last time I fed them. On July 4 I was away again at a family gathering for most of the day and was not able to play with them. On July 5 I was coming to give them their veggies when I found Tucker laying at the bottom of the cage dead! He was showing no indication of illness before this. His eyes were still glossy and was still active. My mother said he would be the first one to get out of the cage to eat when I was away. What happened to my baby?! There are no marks on his body to indicate any wound. This past April/May his brother Kirby died from a brain tumor. I unfortunately witnessed Kirby(his brother) deteriorating health during his last days. Unlike Kirby, Tucker had no signs of illness or disability. Tucker is 2 1/2 years old. I realize that I rat life span is 2-5 years, but I don't think he could have died from old age. Could it have been a stroke or seizure? Is there any illnesses that could have taken his life so quickly? I feel horrible about this.
 

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In July there's always a chance of the heat killing your rat if it got over 83 degrees for too long... but you didn't mention the temperature, so I can't say if that was it, but a 2.5 year old rat is actually pretty old. The very rare cases of 5 or 6 year old rats are most likely caused by a defect in two genes as was found or actually created in mice. In all of my time with rats I've never actually seen one. I've heard two first hand accounts of people that have claimed to have known one or had one. But for the most part, our big girl is a little over a year and a half old now and she's already operating at half speed. She's healthy, but hasn't climbed or jumped for a while. She sleeps a lot, and asks to be picked up and lifted to where she wants to go. Two and a half years is a pretty good lifespan for most rats, and passing quietly without a prolonged illness is about the best way a rat can pass away.

I am very sorry for your loss.
 
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