How Long Can a Rat Go Without Food? ( Explained)

How Long Can a Rat Go Without Food?

Rats are well known for their ability to survive in harsh conditions, so it may be surprising that they require a steady supply of food to maintain this. As with most animals, the amount of time that a rat can go without eating depends on its size, weight, and metabolism. 

Generally, rats need about 3-6 grams of food per day; however, if there is no dietary fat in the diet, they can go as long as 2-3 weeks between feedings. 

However, if you have ever seen rats scavenging garbage or other items around your home, you know how quickly they will eat just about anything!

The department for fish and wildlife estimates 4 days as the longest a rat can go without food. However, this is dependent on species, size and there are so many varieties of rat species, these also have different life spans and food requirements. 

As with all living organisms, food is essential for a rat’s survival. Rats are omnivores and therefore eat almost everything; starving to death is very rare for these creatures. So how long can rats live without food?

In general, rats can go for 7-14 days without food. Most rat species will survive with no food for a week but no longer than two weeks, without eating. 

Typically rats are just like squirrels. They enjoy gathering and storing their food for later consumption when it is scarce. Even if their food supply is cut off, they will have enough reserves to last them for quite some time.

It’s impossible to say how long a rat could go without food. It is very dependent on their species of rats. 

How long do rats live without water?

Rat and mouse are little critters that don’t require as much water as food. In reality, the meal they eat is where the water comes from. Therefore rats are the opposite of people in actuality. 

Although people can only live without water for a few days without any food for weeks. On the other hand, rats would survive without water longer than any food. 

Home vs. Wild Rats

The length of time rats may go without feeding is entirely dependent on the surroundings. For example, a rat in the wild who has to hurry from one hideout to the next to avoid predators will undoubtedly have high energy demands in the chilly fall temps.

Rats that reside in a predator-free environment with lots of food use considerably less energy than their wild counterparts.

Source alternative food

After all food containers have been shut and all the dispersed crumbs are put away, do you believe rats may die for 2-4 days? The reply is no. They can live up to a week without eating when these animals have access to water instead of food. In this respect, most households have enough water.

In addition to the above-mentioned survival mechanism, rats have alternative food supplies. In certain places, it is difficult or impossible for human beings to get, rats often have some little amount of food stashed here. Rats may also eat on items such as living or dead insects, seeds, subterranean funguses, or even their excrement besides storing food.

Average rat lifetime

The average lifespan of a rat is estimated to be about 1.8 years, according to research. However, some rats can live for up to 3 years or longer. Generally, a rat’s lifespan is very individual and is largely determined by its living circumstances, heredity, and nutrition. That is, if a rat lives in a safe environment with plenty of food and water and no genetic problems, it can survive for 3 years or more.

Getting Rid Of Rats by Starving Them

Probably no, those small creatures cannot be readily killed by starving them or keeping food from them. This is because these creatures will get moisture from the food that they consume.

 They also love to reserve food and store them in a location that is difficult to access; therefore, they will most likely still have some food even if you try starving them. 

What do Rats eat?

Rats eat a variety of foods. Rats are omnivores and opportunists by nature. They have razor-sharp teeth that are continually developing, so they must chew on hard or abrasive things to keep the growth under control. 

They like chewing on almost everything. What, on the other hand, do rats prefer to eat? Rats will consume almost everything they come upon, including dead animals.

City rats, wild rats, and non-urban rats consume a variety of foods. Some of the foods that wild rats eat include plants, fruits as well as seeds. 

City rats, on the other hand, enjoy eating rubbish and meat. They will eat pet food as well as any human food they come to find.

Where you live also affects what your rats consume. Because non-urban rats, city rats, and wild rats eat different foods, this is the case.

It’s critical to keep your food and trash cans safe. If you have outside pets, you must also protect their food. You should also avoid letting your mice out in the open. Ensure that all apertures are securely closed so that your rats do not have access to the food placed within.

What Is the Appropriate Amount of Food and Water a Rat Must Have?


Every day, rats require roughly an ounce of water, whether directly or indirectly through a diet like fruits that contain a high amount of water. The ideal method would be providing our rats with water bottles that are fixated to the side of the enclosure. 

The water in your water bottle needs to be replaced every week, or every 2 days if possible. The rat should never be left without any food or water. 

Your rat may drink throughout the day or all at once, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t see him drinking. Simply keep an eye on the water level to ensure it drops.


Each day, a rat may consume close to a third of its body mass. This does not, however, imply that this is a healthful or necessary quantity of food. Feed mice and rats modest quantities of food, for instance, half-handful will suffice for one rodent. 

If food sources are scarce, rats will stockpile food and consume it all at once. Keeping rats together makes them aggressive and territorial if you keep them in a cage with other rats and just offer them a small quantity of food. 

Therefore, make sure to provide the rats with enough food if you are keeping more than one. 

What You Can Safely Feed Your Pet Rat

There are so many foods that are safe for your pets, the following are some foods you can safely give to your rats: 

Broccoli, Carrots, Peas, Potato, and Zucchini. You can also give your rats a small number of foods like chicken, bread, cheddar cheese, yogurt, and oats.

This does not include everything but provides a decent overview of various things that your rat can feed without damaging them. Use these food kinds as additional treatments instead of wholemeal replacements and carefully look for your rat’s weight to prevent feeding too much.

What You Should Not Feed Your Rat 

Certain foods should not be given to your rat because they are harmful or contain some harmful substances that are harmful to your pets. 

The following are the foods you should never give to your rats: Blue cheese, avocado, Raw red cabbage, raw sweet potato, Licorice, and Chocolate. 

Additional information on rats

It is difficult to identify the average lifetime of a rat, but this is slightly different from state to state and species to species. The brown rat has a two-year lifespan on average, whereas the black rat has a one-year lifespan. 

Its living standards have a significant impact on this. If your house provides a good level of life for the bugs, they may be able to survive for several more years; however, it’s uncommon for them to live longer than three.

This is particularly true if they have easy access to fresh water and food, which can help them live a longer life.

As a result, several people are curious about how long rats can survive without water or food. Part of this will be determined by their health and a few other things.

While there aren’t concrete results on the precise period of time they can survive without water or food, numerous researchers have indicated that it shouldn’t be more than 2 weeks. Even so, this does not imply that you can starve them to death.

Rats are comparable to squirrels in a number of ways, the most obvious of which is their proclivity for storing food. As a result, if you try to solve the problem in this manner, you may exacerbate the situation by allowing them to continue reproducing while looking for additional food.

Without water, bugs have indeed been known to live considerably longer, so this isn’t a good method to try to solve the problem. Therefore, if you want to eliminate rat infestation fast and efficiently, you’ll need to confront the problem head-on.

How long does it take a rat to starve to death?

Rats are very resilient animals, and with a proper supply of food, they can survive for up to 3 weeks without any food. 

Rats are natural resource gatherers who store food away for seasons where there is not enough supply. In general, it takes 14-21 days for a wild rat to starve to death when it doesn’t eat and drink water. 

Domesticated rats would not survive for more than a week without food and water. Pet rats have low survival instincts and are rarely self reliant. Therefore, you must make sure you know how to take care of them when you are not home. 

An automated pet feeder with a camera can help put your mind at ease while you are away from home. With it, you will be able to monitor your pet rat’s feeding.


A rat can go for 2-5 weeks without eating and for approximately the same number of days without water. On the other hand, Rats take in moisture from meals with high water content and, therefore, can go without water for roughly a month. If you have a pet rat, make sure to give it food every day. 

Make sure that they are provided with clean water at all times. The rat should never be left without any food or water in its cage; always check on them. Furthermore, make sure to give your rabbits food that is safe for them.

As a result, it’s critical to keep food supplies and garbage cans secure. If you have outside pets, their food should be kept secure and, if feasible, indoors. Finally, rats have requirements other than food and water. Assemble a clean cage for your rat, as well as planned playing and sleeping areas. If you are struggling with rat infestations, your local county authorities will have plenty of tips and guides to keep rats away from your home.

The team and I here @ Modest Home Digs publish exclusive weekly, well-researched guides to help our readership find out how we can help turn that tired-looking patch of dirt into an oasis of lush green Lawn and blooms! From backyard invaders, pets, and many more.

Eddie Mcfarren

Eddie Mcfarren is an avid Pet blogger who is passionate about pet welfare and everything to do with animals. His passion for writing does not intend to provide veterinary advice. However, when he writes about pets, he will go to great lengths to help users better understand their dogs. His pet dog Tess helps him in understanding a great deal of care and living with pets at home. On a serious note, the content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance. Only competently trained Vets can offer qualified advice about your pet's ailments. Therefore, make sure to seek advice from your local veterinarian officer near you!

Recent Posts