How Long Can A Rat Live Without Food and Water? {Will They Eat Each Other?}

Are you wondering if rats can survive longer than humans without hydration or nutrients? How Long Can A Rat Live Without Food and Water?

In a battle between human vs. rat, which one can hold out longer? Can rats survive without drinking any water?

In this article, we’ll find out how long it takes for dehydration or starvation to take effect on rats.

How Long Can A Rat Live Without Food?

A rat can survive for over a week without anything to eat. Starvation will take effect in less than two weeks causing the rat to die.

Interestingly enough, rats can live without drinking water for over a month. This is because they are able to hydrate their bodies from the moisture contained inside the food they eat.

How Long Can a Rat Without Water?

It’s really amazing to see how these rodents are built to survive. Rats don’t need to consume water in order to stay hydrated. They can pull water from food and keep themselves hydrated.

We may think a dry meal wouldn’t have enough water in it to keep a rat alive, but we’re wrong. Rats can survive without drinking directly from a water source for over a month.

Will Rats Go Away if There Is No Food Source?

Yes. If there is no more food available in the location where you have noticed rats to dwell, they will need to move on and find more nutrition elsewhere.

We may feel perplexed if we notice that rats continue to congregate in areas where we are certain that there is no more remaining food.

What we may have overlooked is that rats are adapted and fully capable of storing food in places where other animals or humans may not be able to find.

This is why a rat ends up staying longer than you expect,  even if we think that we have removed all available food sources.

How Long Can a Rodent Live Without Food and Water?

It depends on the size of the rodent. A rat is larger in size and has more fat stores in its body. A mouse being smaller, may only last up to 4 days without any food to eat. A rat can go much longer.

It is likely that a rat can survive between 7 to 14 days without any food. During this weakened state, a rat would be lethargic.

Starvation will lead to death in between the first and second week. Smaller rodents will perish within a few days.

How Long Does It Take a Rat to Starve to Death?

We welcome members of the Rat Community who enjoy these rodents as pets. If you are arriving at our site to find out more information about caring for rats, we apologize for some of the content leading eradicating them

They are commonly known as pests or nuisances that most people wish to get rid of them from their properties and starving them is a popular option.

Some of us wish to starve rats to death by removing food sources. Others may wish to leave home for a few days while their rat is resting in a cage.

Within a week, the rat should show signs of starvation with death looming around the corner. Leave extra food for your pet rat and eliminate all food sources for nuisance rats.

Also keep in mind that rats are intelligent and capable of storing food in areas where you may not know exist. This would keep them alive much longer than you expect.

Where Do Rats Get Water?

Rats get water in two ways:

  • Direct
  • Indirect 


Rats can find water located in:

  • lakes
  • streams
  • puddles
  •  sinks
  • drains
  • pipes in the walls
  • pet water dishes


Rats don’t need to drink water directly. They can pull or extract water from the food they eat. This can go on for over a month without a single drop of direct water.

Fruits would be the best option for extracting liquids, but they can do the same with dry foods that we don’t expect to contain enough water for survival.

A rat would beg to differ and can survive much longer than humans without drinking anything.

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Do Rats Leave Your House During the Day?

A rat doesn’t want to risk the possibility of being found. If a rat finds a perfect resting location, being your home, they will try to stay there as long as possible.

Your home may contain locations where food is being stored in order to keep the rat from going out to forage for more food and water.

A rat is usually quiet and asleep during the day while you’re moving around the house. When the house is dark, safe and quiet, it is possible for a rat to come out of hiding to look for food.

This will happen for a short time only. Rats do not wish to leave your house during the day.

Do Rats Drink Water?

Rats prefer to take water from food sources instead of directly drinking water from cups, bottles, drains or other locations in the wild.

The dew that can develop on a blade of grass or on a leaf can provide enough liquid nourishment for a rat on that day.

Rat don’t like to drink from bowls. They are not adapted to do so. It is common for rats to spill bowls or tilt them over.

Rat owners tend to use bottles for their pets much like those that are attached to the side of a cage for hamsters. Rats not only drink water, they can also drink milk or any other liquid with sugar in it.

Will Rats Eat Each Other When They Are Hungry?

Rats have been observed to take on cannibalistic behaviors in order to ward off starvation. In a state of desperation, a rat who is near another may turn to it and attack.

Rats have very sharp teeth that are strong enough to kill their counterparts. The rat will do whatever it takes to not die from starvation.

Cannibalistic behavior may take place after a couple of days of not being able to find any food source.

What Do Rats Eat?

Rats can eat just about any type of food they find. If you are rat owner or wish to get rid of rats, the following lists may be useful to you.

A nuisance rat could eat these foods below that are laced with rat poison. A rat owner would wish to feed their pet a varied diet of these foods below:


  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Banana
  • Blackberries
  • Blackcurrant
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Coconut
  • Cranberries
  • Dates
  • Elderberries
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Jackfruit
  • Kiwi
  • Mulberry
  • Nectarines
  • Olives
  • Papaya
  • Passion fruit
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Dragon fruit
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon


  • Asparagus
  • Aubergine
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Okra
  • Parsnip
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Turnip
  • Zucchini


  • Cheese
  • Meat
  • Yogurt

As you can see, the list is long a plentiful. Instead of aiming to starve rats, you can try lacing the foods above with rat poison instead. Both methods will kill a rat, but poison is faster and less of a struggle for both parties.

How Long Can Rats Go Without Food?

Rats have energy stores in their body. The amount of body mass for a rat depends on its subspecies. Also, rats in the wild need more energy to evade predators.

Especially when the weather is colder, a rat is going to expel a lot of energy to escape from any larger predators that wish to capture it.

A rat that lives inside a home, dwelling in the attic or even in a rat cage, will not expel enough energy to require large meals. A rat could nibble on a morsel of food for over a week without eating anything.

The environmental conditions dictate how much food a rat needs and how long they can go without eating. Usually the limit before starvation sets in is about 7-14 days.


Since we are a site dedicated to pest management, we want these rats out of our properties. Most of you will agree, so let’s try one of two options. We can remove food sources or we can lace food with rat poison.

Rats have a wide array of foods that they will target. It will be easy to poison their meals if you do not have other pets in the house. If you have other domesticated animals that may find the poisoned food, move to starving rats by locating any hiding places where they may store food.

A rat can survive without water as long as there is food to extract liquid nourishment. The food must run out for a rat to move on. A rat could cannibalize another, if it is desperate.

We hope you can get all nuisance rats way form your property swiftly and effectively by utilizing some of the information we try to present in our articles dedicated to these rodents.


Thanks for visiting for the best information to help you to make the pest control process easy, safe & affordable.

Jason Barrett

Hello, I'm Jason. I have 11 years of experience in dealing with pests. I try to provide you the best information that'll help you to make the pest control process easy & affordable