Rat Nutrition – The Importance of a Balanced Diet
Rats are omnivores, like humans, and have very tolerant stomachs compared to most other animals. However, it is still important to understand optimal nutrition for your pet rats to ensure they stay happy and healthy. Below I discuss what foods are safe, unsafe and the importance of a balanced diet.
DISCLAIMER: the lists below are NOT all-inclusive, so if you are unsure about whether to feed your rats a specific food item, make sure to research it thoroughly.
Now, let’s dive in…
What foods are safe for rats?
As I said before, rats have very tolerant stomachs and can have a variety of food in their diets. The list below shows some of the food categories they can eat from and a few examples for each.
What you can feed rats:
Apple (remove seeds).
Cherries (no stone).
Peach (no stone).
It is vital to make sure that your rats have a healthy and balanced diet, with the inclusion of snacks too varying from fruit salads and vegetables to rat popcorn and chocolate drops. Snacks can keep rats’ minds and bodies healthy, through the addition of sugars and fats to give them the energy required to be curious little beings.
[insert photo of foods that are safe for rats]
What foods should you avoid for rats?
There are some general rules of what to avoid when feeding pet rats, but the most important thing to understand is the power of moderation. Most food items can be okay for rats to eat when given in moderation, but the lists below show what to avoid (if some are accidentally consumed, it will probably not be that harmful).
What not to feed them:
Anything mouldy, including blue cheese.
Unripe tomatoes or bananas (green fruits).
Sticky sweets or foods (choking hazards).
Undiluted peanut butter (any similar thick kinds of butter).
Raw nuts (roasted are fine).
Citrus (MALE RATS ONLY).
What to feed only after it is cooked:
Even if the foods are suitable for rats to eat, always make sure that the foods with higher fat, protein and sugar contents are given in moderation.
The importance of a balanced diet.
As said before, rats are omnivores, meaning that their diets consist mainly of specific rat muesli (or pellets) and fresh fruits and vegetables. When buying rat food, always make sure it is specific to rats and not another small animal, like guinea pigs or other herbivores, because their food will not meet the rats’ nutritional protein needs.
Snacks and treats are necessary to aid training programmes, to be given as rewards to your rats. Rats are very intelligent and will soon learn what it is you want them to do for you to give them treats. There are some enriching snacks, like monkey nuts and boiled eggs (with the shells on), which are key to keeping your rats entertained and stimulated.
Not only is food important in a rat’s diet, but ensuring they have fresh clean drinking water continuously is key. Rats consume a lot of water every day, so it is essential to have multiple water bottles available to them to allow constant access to the source.
These are just some of the foods that you should and shouldn’t feed your pet rats, and why it is important for rats to have a balanced diet. What is your pet rats’ favourite snack? Our boys absolutely love mealworms and boiled eggs! If you decide
to get pet rats or know anyone planning to, make sure to do the research and check out our website www.rattyfatty.co.uk for a RattyFatty starter/subscription kit or extra accessories and snacks.