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How Long Do Dumbo Rats Live? [Average Lifespan In Captivity]

Every new or potential owner needs to know how long their pet should live. Financially, emotionally; there are various reasons why it’s good to know. But what about the Dumbo rat? Are these rodents long-lived? What is their average lifespan? Here is what you need to know. 

So, how long do Dumbo Rats live? A healthy Dumbo Rat should live to between 2 to 3 years of age, although they have been known to live to 4-5. Although this is the exception rather than the norm. Comparatively, 2-3 years is very similar to other varieties of Fancy rat that are commonly kept as pets. 

This is just an average.

In reality, there is a lot more to life expectancy than just a prediction!

So, read on to find out more about Dumbo Rat life expectancy and how you can ensure they stay with you for as long as possible!

What Is The Lifespan Of A Dumbo Rat In Captivity?

The average lifespan of a pet Dumbo Rat in captivity is between 2 and 3 years. As we learn more about rats and what they need to thrive, their lifespan has increased. So much so that it is not unheard of for a Dumbo rat to live up to 4 years of age in captivity. 

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand that a Dumbo Rat is a variety of Fancy rat.

Now, Fancy Rats only used to live between 1,5 and 2 years when they were first domesticated. 

Recently, Dumbo Rats in captivity have started to live longer, some reaching 4 years old.

This is a result of improved care of pet rats in areas such as feeding and veterinary medicine.  

The longest lifespan on record for a Dumbo Rat is 7 years and 4 months. 

This rat named Rodney was born in Oklahoma in 1983 and died in 1990. 

No one seems to know why he lived that long, but it is indicative of the recent lengthening lifespans of domesticated Dumbo Rats.

How long your Dumbo Rat will live depends on the care you give throughout its life. 

You can increase your chances of adopting a Dumbo Rat that will live a relatively long time by choosing a healthy Dumbo from the litter and only purchasing from reputable breeders.

Things that you need to look out for are a shiny coat and bright eyes. 

You must be wary of baby rats that sneeze, have a runny nose, or discharge from the eyes. 

Baby Dumbos should also be curious and active. 

Ideally, you want to adopt a rat that is around 6 weeks old. 

This gives you the opportunity to carefully review their early health and get a much better understanding of their longevity.

There are a lot of factors that influence your Dumbo Rat’s lifespan, such as proper nutrition, vet care, and good living conditions. 

These will be discussed in more detail below.

Do Dumbo Rats Live Longer?

Domesticated Dumbo rats live longer than wild rats, but their life expectancy is very similar to other domesticated varieties of Fancy rat. In this respect, you should not expect them to live any longer. 

Whether you look at the figures in respect of a Dumbo Rat, Fancy Rat, or normal White Rat, they all show more or less the same life expectancy. 

The factors that influence the Dumbo Rat’s lifespan will apply to all Fancy Rats. 

In general, although rodents are all related, their lifespans are incredibly different. 

Comparative studies have been done on mammals with short lifespans in relation to their larger cousins, who have a much longer lifespan. 

One of the conclusions drawn from this study is confirmation of the previously accepted theory of evolution of extended lifespans – rodents who are prey have short lifespans when compared to predator rodent species. 

Rats and Mice have many predators and have a short lifespan (2 -3 years), while the Naked Mole-Rat, Beaver, and Porcupine have very few predators and all live to well over 20 years. 

Experts have drawn a distinction between what they call “old world” and “new world” species.

Old world rats, mice, and hamsters are those that have evolved for centuries from their ancestors in Asia and Europe, such as the Fancy Rat. 

New world species refers to those relatively new varieties of rodents who live in North and South America. 

Old world rats, mice, and hamsters such as the Fancy Rat and Dumbo Rat have short lifespans (2 – 3 years). 

Guinea pigs live for approximately 12 years. New world rodents such as the wood rat and desert wood rat live for up to 10 years. 

Body mass and lifespan amongst rodent species are incredibly varied – and also play a role in life expectancy. 

The largest rodent is called the Capybara. 

It weighs 65kg and lives for up to 15 years. This is seen as average for its size. 

Beaver and Porcupine are classed as bigger rodents, weighing up to 45kg and have a long lifespan relative to their size. 

Rats and mice have small bodies and a short lifespan.

Besides, the size of Dumbo Rats and the size of Fancy rats are relatively small.

The only exception here is the Naked Mole rats who defy the odds – they have a small body and a long lifespan of 28 years.

The above shows that when compared to other rodent species, the Dumbo Rat’s lifespan is incredibly short.

Factors That Influence A Dumbo Rats Lifespan

There are many factors that can affect the lifespan of your Dumbo Rat, the main one among them being inbreeding. 

If the breeder is inexperienced, not only will the characteristic large ears be passed on, but also hereditary health conditions. 

Proper nutrition is also very important to ensure that your Dumbo will have a long life. 

They need to eat food that is specifically designed for rats.

They must also not be overfed, and you need to be aware of what foods are toxic for them and what foods are safe to give as treats. 

Aside from a healthy diet, you must monitor your Dumbo Rat for illness and diseases that are common to them. 

Specific health problems that can shorten a Dumbo Rat’s lifespan are upper respiratory tract infections, pneumonia, skin parasites, and mammary gland tumors. 

The most common problem among these is respiratory disease. 

These are mostly bacterial, and antibiotics will be required. 

Discharge from the eyes and nose, as well as sneezing, are signs that you need to get your Dumbo to the vet. 

Keeping your Dumbo’s cage clean, hygienic, and well-ventilated will also extend their lifespan as this will prevent them from getting respiratory infections and skin mites.

If your Dumbo develops a viral infection, a quality diet and proper cage conditions are crucial for treatment. 

Of all rodents, rats are most prone to skin mites. 

Your environment is crucial as if your rat is stressed; they are vulnerable to developing a full-blown mite infection. 

This can be treated, but it is always best to try and prevent any health problems. 

How To Ensure A Pet Dumbo Rat Reaches Their Life Expectancy 

Good general health and care will ensure your pet Dumbo reaches its full life expectancy, however long that may be. Preventative measures in respect of illnesses are an important factor here as well. 

Keeping your rat healthy is key and creating a proper environment for them is the way to do it. 

You must have a cage that is big enough for them, which must be kept out of direct sunlight and away from any extremes of heat and cold as they are very sensitive to heat and light. 

The ideal temperature for your Dumbo is between 65- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit. 

One of the results of keeping your Dumbo Rats in a good climate with a clean cage, plenty of toys, and perhaps a friend is a stress-free pet. 

If your pet is stressed and anxious, it can develop health problems that will affect its lifespan. 

You can further prevent stress by feeding your pet Dumbo a proper diet. 

Other preventative measures in respect of their health include making sure that your Dumbo’s teeth do not become overgrown. 

Give them plenty of toys to chew on to make sure their teeth stay filed down by giving them items such as wooden blocks.

It may be necessary to take your rat to the vet to have its teeth trimmed. 

Check your pet regularly for signs of any skin problems as well as any changes in their feces or urine. These are all symptoms of impending illness.

Rats are notorious for hiding illness, so early detection is vital. 

If you are in doubt, get your Dumbo Rat to the vet so that they can get early treatment. 

As a matter of course, get your vet to weigh your pet. 

Weight fluctuations can indicate a problem before any other symptoms manifest themselves. 

Although these may seem like basic things when it comes to pet care, if you start off on the right foot early, your Dumbo will be protected from getting unnecessary illnesses that could have been prevented. 

Dumbo Rat Life Expectancy In Captivity vs Other Rat Varieties

Rat BreedAverage Lifespan in Captivity
Wild Rat6 months – 1 year
Fancy Rat2 – 3 years
Dumbo Rat2 – 3 years
Rex Rat2.5 – 3.5 years
Hairless Rat2.5 – 3.5 years

Note: Lifespans can vary based on genetics, diet, care, and environmental factors. Some rats may live shorter or longer lives than the averages listed above. The listed varieties, other than the wild rat, are essentially variants of the same species and thus have similar lifespans. Differences arise mainly due to ca


Dumbo Rats do not live particularly long.

2-3 years on average. If your lucky, this may stretch to 4-5. 

And while there is a lot you should and can do to ensure they meet their life expectancy, in reality, a lot of it is down to genetics.

There is little you can do, and they will never live that long – at least compared to other pets.

That does not mean you should neglect their needs.

With proper care, you give them the best possible chance of living a long life, and a happy and healthy one at that.