Rats are very resilient and cunning creatures- they can sniff out food or water easily while living in cities or the wild. However, if you have a pet rat, you need to provide consistent access to food and water, just like you would any other pet.
So, how long can a pet rat go without food or water? Rats can survive without any food for roughly four days and can live for up to a month without direct water intake if their food contains a high water content. However, they shouldn’t go more than a day without water, as they become dehydrated.
What Do Rats Eat?
A non-pet rat will eat almost anything- from dog feces to candy to meat scraps. However, a pet rat should be fed rat food (or general rat food), along with vegetables and fruits.
The best food for your rat, perhaps contrary to instinct, is not a mix of seeds and grains, but homogenous rat pellets. This prevents your rat from picking out their favorite bits of their mixed food and leaving the rest. Make sure the sugar and fat content is low, as rats are prone to obesity.
A rat can survive without any food for 2-5 days, and without any source of water for about the same time. However, rats take in moisture from foods with high water content and can survive for about a month this way, without direct water.
If you have a pet rat, you should feed it every day, and provide it with access to clean water constantly. You should never leave a rat alone in its cage for more than two days without someone checking on it. Additionally, do research to make sure all foods given to your rat are safe for them to consume.
Lastly, rats have needs beyond food and water. Make sure your rat has a clean cage, as well as structures to play and sleep in. Your rat will thank you for it!