The average life expectancy for a rat is three years, with the record longest living rat reportedly dying at the ripe old age of 7, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The oldest rat I have ever had was a male named Rodney who died at the age of 6.
This brings up the cry from rattie lovers: why must they die so soon?
I’ve struggled with this question for almost three decades of rat ownership.
Your rat’s life expectancy comes from a combination of exercise, proper nutrition, and, most of all, genetics.
The good news, however, is that there is something you can do above and beyond all of that to boost your pet rat’s life expectancy, using secrets discovered very recently by medical researchers. You see, a lot of the studies aimed at boosting longevity in humans are done on rats, so it’s a good idea to keep up with what is being done.
A recent huge breakthrough was the discovery that rats given a supplement called Inositol (chemical name Inositol hexaphosphate or IP6) had almost double the normal life expectancy as rats in a control group and almost never got cancer!
Inosital comes from high fiber foods such as brown rice, wheat bran and sesame seeds. The net result for your rattie is fewer cancerous tumors and a higher degree of overall health, since the study found that it aids your rattie’s body in its metabolism for healthier bone marrow, liver functioning, calcium absorption, and a few other things. If you wish you can read more about this at The American Cancer Society website: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/ETO/content/ETO_5_3X_Inositol_Hexaphosphate.asp?sitearea=ETO
The best part is that you can find cheap Inositol at your local vitamin store. You see, a lot of humans believe that IP6 can help them just as it helps rats, so it’s readily available.
According to a vet I interviewed who was familiar with the research, just dissolve one-eighth of a teaspoon per 16 ounces of water into the drinking water of your rats.
Your rats will probably like the taste (my own ratties prefer it to regular water), since it tastes sweet.