Although many people see rats as pesky rodents, others have them as adorable pets. Whichever party you fall into, one may be curious about what these critters eat. Rats are said to be opportunistic omnivores in the wild who will gladly consume any sustenance they can obtain.
When it comes to food, their domestic relatives may be just as enthusiastic and cunning, but that doesn’t imply they should be fed anything that grabs their attention. When fed a varied diet, domesticated rats, similar to cats and dogs, generally live longer and in better condition.
What to Feed Your Pet Rat
It is crucial to take into account what an animal’s species has evolved to eat when choosing the optimal diet for it. Rats are omnivores, meaning they have digestive systems that can process nourishment from both plant and animal material.
You must provide your rat meals that span the nutritional range of plant- and animal-based foods to make a nutritious diet for them. Rat pellets are a practical and balanced supply of nutrition for a pet rat, even if wild rats may not eat them.
Although there are many different rodent kibbles available, rats should only be fed pellets made particularly for them. Opt for kibble with a minimum 16% protein level and a 4% to 5% fat content. Rats should eat mostly pellets, which should account for roughly 90% of their diet.
These little morsels are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, but rats shouldn’t eat only kibble. Healthy produce should make up roughly 10% of your rat’s diet because it enriches and gives natural nutrition that cannot be supplied. The following fruits and vegetables are only a sample of what your rats can eat.
There are a plethora of fruits and veggies that rats can eat, but some of them might be dangerous as well. Wholesome fruits and vegetables won’t be overly sweet, greasy, or watery and instead will be nutrient- and fiber-rich.
There are both good and less healthy kinds of animal protein. Rats frequently eat lean meat, fried eggs, and mealworms as sources of animal protein. Rats don’t need a lot of protein, so the pelleted component of their food should be supplied in moderation. To be safe, stay away from foods that are high in fat or raw meat.
Feeding a Rat Treats
Although treats might not be the healthiest or most nourishing foods for rats, they are crucial for intellectual stimulation and promoting normal behavior. Food products that are acceptable in small quantities but may be harmful in greater numbers are typically included in the foods that are deemed treats for rats. These foods typically consist of things that are heavy in sugar, fat, or carbohydrates.
Rats can be particularly attracted to food by these three features, and since they are quite smart, they will frequently choose these harmful but tasty foods over more wholesome ones. This is why treats should always be given in moderation and kept apart from wholesome meals.
Mass amounts of seeds and nuts, which are high in fat, can cause obesity. Yet, seeds and nuts are a terrific reward since they encourage natural foraging activity when consumed in moderation. Prepared beans, oats, cooked pasta, sweets intended for rats, cooked rice, and any other prepared food that is concealed or dispersed in the environment are all similarly dangerous.
Treats need to be rat-safe; they don’t even need to be fully palatable. Rat-safe chews might be another enjoyable treat for your pets. Rats need to gnaw to grind down their constantly growing teeth. You can promote natural chewing habits by using coconut shells, newspaper, compacted hay blocks, untreated softwoods, and even rodent-safe softwoods.
Rats in the Wild
Rats are more prone to be vegetarians and will consume things like fruit, plants, and seeds in the wild. Nevertheless, meat and rubbish are favorites of city rats. Any pet food and human food that they may locate will be eaten by them. Ask any New Yorker and they’ll tell you rats eat just about anything!
Toxic Foods for Rats
Rats can only be poisoned by a few food items. Blue cheese is at the top of the list and could harm your pet. Licorice, poppy seeds, and bitter almonds are some additional options. Rats are just as susceptible to the same toxins as green potatoes are to other creatures, including you.
The stems of rhubarb are also dangerous to rats, as are the leaves. Rats are susceptible to the fungus that develop on grains, particularly corn and peanuts. They are prone to grow tumors if they eat a lot of the substances these fungi produce.