What Should I Feed My Rats?

What Should I Feed My Rats?

Basics

Rats are an easy pet to own when it comes to food. There are only a few foods that rats can’t or shouldn’t eat. Otherwise, they eat just about whatever we eat. Rats are omnivore, meaning they will eat meats, fruits, and vegetables; however, they love their veggies. Items like green peas, kernel corn, and chopped carrots are too irresistible for most rats. Just like humans have a food pyramid, it’s easy to remember the proportions of what should comprise a rat’s diet: 80% lab block, 18% supplemental foods, and 2% treats.

While the below lists shouldn’t be considered exclusive lists, but they are fairly comprehensive. Again, rats are very flexible with their food choices. They don’t have a gag reflex and can’t burp. Therefore, they will be cautious at first with foods to which they haven’t had exposure. So, we will cover the foods they can’t or shouldn’t eat first, since once you know those foods, you can easily supplement your rats’ diet with just about anything else.

Unsafe or Unwise Foods

  • Apple seeds – contains cyanide.
  • Avocado skin
  • Beet tops – contains extremely high levels of oxalates and can cause UTIs in rats.
  • Blue cheese – the mold is toxic to rats.
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Dried corn – contains fungal contaminates that can lead to liver cancer.
  • Mango – contains d-limonene and can cause kidney cancer in male rats.
  • Moldy foods 
  • Oranges – contains d-limonene and can cause kidney cancer in male rats.
  • Orange juice – contains d-limonene and can cause kidney cancer in male rats.
  • Poppy seeds 
  • Potato eyes
  • Raw artichokes
  • Raw beans
  • Raw Brussels sprouts
  • Raw onions
  • Raw red cabbage
  • Rhubarb
  • Raw sweet potato – can produce cyanide inside the rat’s stomachs.
  • Spinach – can cause urinary tract problems and stones in the bladder and kidneys.
  • Wild insects

Safe Foods

Fruits

  • Apples – make sure to remove the seeds!
  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries 
  • ​Grapes 
  • Honeydew melons
  • Kiwi
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Papaya
  • Peaches – remove the pit!
  • Pomegranates
  • Strawberries

Vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Butternut squash – thoroughly cooked only!
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Green beans 
  • Green peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Sweet Potatoes – cooked only!
  • Corn – cooked only!
  • Choy
  • Kale
  • Parsley
  • Potatoes
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Romaine lettuce

Protein

  • Unsalted nuts – cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds etc.
  • Beef – preferably lean cuts.
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Bones – healthy for rats and aids in wearing down their teeth!
  • Cold cuts
  • Hard boiled/scrambled eggs – occasional treat, great for pregnant rats.
  • Turkey

Other Foods

  • Pasta – cooked or dried.
  • Rice – cooked only!
  • Dry rolled oats and other grains
  • Yogurt
  • Peanut Butter – occasional treat, water down to the consistency of applesauce.
  • Baby Foods – make sure they don’t contain unsafe foods!
  • Popcorn – unsalted and unbuttered.
  • Cheese – small amounts only due to potential lactose intolerance.

* The foundation of this list first complied by Whispering Grove Rattery

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