Rats are an extremely popular pet to have. They are relatively low maintenance, and although it is quite sad that they only live to be around 3 years old this makes them perfect if you can’t commit to a long-term pet such as a dog or a cat which can live to be older than 15 years.
They are extremely easy to tame, they are sociable and are very friendly too. Despite their reputation, they are actually incredibly clean creatures. In fact, rats are cleaner than cats!
They are commonly white, black, and cinnamon and have red or black eyes. They are rather cute little creatures, and make lifelong bonds with their owners. They can recognise who their owners are, and will try to groom their humans as if they were a part of their rat pack. They are mostly active at night and are predominantly nocturnal creatures.
Males are bigger and lazier than females, and females can start going into heat at around 6 weeks old so they are easy to breed. They are extremely low maintenance but they do require a minimum of an hours exercise per day or a cage full of play equipment such as tunnels and wheels for them to run on. They also do need regular daily interaction with you.
You can use the table of contents below to skip to any part of this guide that you would like. If you want to know about a certain food and if your rat can eat it then this will work great for you!
Once your done why not have a read of our article about how to handle pets rats so that you do not get bite.
Feeding your pet rat.
They are easy to feed because they will mainly eat pellets and will enjoy a variety of other fruits and vegetables which will make it fun to feed them! There are great nutritional pellets available for them which makes feeding easy. They should mainly eat a high-fiber, low-fat diet and can eat foods such as pasta’s, brown rice, yoghurt, and they can even occasionally have dog biscuits!
They will also enjoy foods such as seeds and cheese but these should be kept mainly as treats and only fed on occasion. Rats are also known to have a sweet tooth, but it is best to avoid feeding them things such chocolate and other sweets as it is not good for them.
They can also eat leftovers from your meals in moderation. A healthy rat will live a lot longer than a fat rat so it is best not to overfeed them.
You should also ensure that your pet always has fresh water and that their water bottle or bowl is cleaned out and refilled daily.
What should be included in your rats diet?
Rats can eat a great variety of food! They can be fed pellets manufactured specifically to their needs which is obviously the easiest choice. These can be found in your local pet store.
You can also vary their diet by including fruits and vegetables such as grapes and bell peppers. They will also enjoy eating wholegrain pasta’s and cheeses, as well as meats such as liver.
What to feed a baby rat?
It’s quite difficult to hand raise a pinky rat, so it is highly suggested that you rather find a foster mother to nurse it. If this isn’t possible, you will need to nurse them with baby formula through a syringe.
To work out how much formula to feed your pinkie you must multiple their body weight by 0,05. For example, if they weigh 6g then they should be fed 0,3 ml. They need to be fed every 3 hours.
Once their eyes have opened you can begin feeding them formula in a dish and then move onto feeding them solid food once their fur becomes fluffy.
What to feed an adult rat?
An adult rat should be fed once to twice a day and they can eat a varied diet including pellets, fruits and vegetables. Below is a huge list of all the different types of foods that you can feed your pet rat. There are also some that you are best avoiding.
Foods rats can eat:
Here are the foods that you may enjoy that your rat can also eat and enjoy.
Can rats eat grapes?
Yes rats can eat grapes and they will enjoy eating it! Grapes are a great fruit to add into their diet in moderation. It is also best to cut it up to help them eat it better. They are packed with nutrients that are very beneficial to your rats health, but remember that feeding in moderation is key here.
Can rats eat cheese?
Yes rats can eat cheese, but only in moderation and as a treat. It is best to feed them harder cheeses such as cheddar. Cartoons have always portrayed rats as loving cheese but in reality it is very high in fat and this is not good in excess for your pet rats health.
Can rats eat green apples?
Yes rats can eat green apples! It is highly recommended as a treat for your rat to enjoy on occasion. Apples are very high in natural sugars though and because of this they should be given as a nice sweet treat to your rat.
Can rats eat pineapples?
Yes rats can eat pineapples in very small quantities as it is high in natural sugars. It is a great treat when fed on occasion. Your rat will absolutely love an occasional chunk of pineapple fresh or even from a tin.
Can rats eat cherries?
Yes rats can eat cherries as a treat. The cherry seeds should be removed but otherwise it is a great fruit to give in moderation to your pet. Make sure to chop up the cherry into small pieces so that your rat can easily eat and digest it.
Can rats eat tomatoes?
Yes rats can eat tomatoes! Most rats love tomatoes and it is good for their hearts and it is high in vitamin C. There is a lot of water content in tomatoes as well which makes sure that your pet rat keeps well hydrated from eating it.
Can rats eat cucumbers?
Yes, rats can eat cucumbers as an occasional treat! However it should be noted that although they are full of water which keeps your rat hydrated there is not much in the sense of nutritional benefits to be has from cucumbers.
Can rats eat carrots?
Yes, rats can eat carrots. They are great for your rats teeth and help them gnaw their teeth. Carrots are low in sugar, and not too watery and your rat can eat it more regularly without having digestive issues such as diarrhoea. In fact carrots should make up a more staple part of your rats vegetable diet side.
Can rats eat avocado?
Yes, rats can eat avocados, however avocados are very fatty and should only be given in moderation as a treat as they can otherwise cause your rat to become overweight. Try not to feed avocado to your pet rat more than once every couple of weeks.
Can rats eat kale?
Yes, rats can eat kale! Make sure to cut it up slightly to make it more manageable and your pet rat will love it. It makes for great nutritious and green vegetation.
Can rats eat sunflower seeds?
Yes, your rat can eat unsalted sunflower seeds! They make a great snack to add into your rats enclosure every once in a while, as a treat. However it must be stressed again that the sunflower seeds need to be non salted. If they are salted this can be very dangerous to your rats health.
Can rats eat bread?
Yes, your rat can eat bread, and will likely enjoy it! The only issue with bread is that it may cause your rat to choke so it is best to either feed them small portions or to soften it in water or milk. Bread is a great occasional treat to feed to your rat and should not make up a staple food as it can be quite high in salts.
Can rats eat garlic?
Yes, rats can garlic in moderation. Rats don’t particularly like garlic, but it is great for their immune system. Garlic has antibiotic properties which boost their system. It also helps prevent cancers and keeps parasites at bay. However, it can cause blood clots if it is fed too frequently so feed garlic to your rat no more than once every couple of weeks and in very small doses.
Can rats eat celery?
Yes, rats can eat celery but in extreme moderation and in much smaller quantities than what you would eat. Celery hasn’t got as much nutritional value as other vegetables so it is best to feed it healthier vegetables, but they can eat celery. One thing celery is high in is water so it is a good way to make sure that your pet rat stays hydrated.
Can rats eat bananas?
Yes, rats can eat bananas. They might be one of your little friends favourite snacks, but they must be ripe otherwise it can harm your rat’s digestive system. You can feed your rat dried banana, or fresh bananas. It should be kept as a treat for your rat as they are quite high in sugar and also potassium.
Can rats eat watermelon?
Yes, your rat can eat watermelon. It is a great refreshing fruit to feed to your pet rat as a treat. Watermelon seeds are one of the non-toxic fruit seeds for your pet, so it is okay if they eat them as well. The same goes for the watermelon rind. Watermelon is an excellent way to mix nutrition and hydration.
Can rats eat lettuce?
Yes, rats can eat lettuce although it has almost no nutritional value and is very watery. Romaine lettuce is better to feed to your pet rat on occasion as it has a higher nutritional value. Lettuce should only be fed occasionally as it is watery but has no real benefits in the sense of nutrition.
Can rats eat corn?
Yes, your rats can eat corn in a variety of ways, on the cob or from a can! It is a great treat to add into their diets. Your pet will love corn as it has a nice sweet taste and has a really nice texture to chew on.
Can rats eat tuna?
Yes, rats can eat tuna! It is a great source of protein and should be kept as a treat as rats get most of their energy out of fiber. Also be aware that tuna has very high levels of the heavy metal mercury. This over time can build up and is dangerous so keep tuna as a very rare treat for your rat.
Can rats eat bell peppers?
Yes, bell peppers are a great treat to add into your rats diet! It is sweet and full of vitamin C and can be fed to your rat both cooked and raw. Make sure to chop the pepper up into manageable chunks for the size of your rat.
Can rats eat pasta?
Yes, rats can eat wholegrain pasta and other grains such as rice. It is a great source of fibre for them, but it is important not to overfeed them as this isn’t healthy. Pastas are a really great staple to add into their diet to give them a variety in their diet.
Can rats eat eggs?
Yes, they can, but it should only be in moderation. Eggs contain huge amounts of fat and cholesterol especially in the yolk which can be dangerous in excess to your rat. They do also contain high amounts of protein so a rare treat of egg is good for your rat.
Can rats eat meat?
Yes, rats can eat meat. It is best to trim the fat off of the meat first as well, and they will enjoy beef, chicken and livers best. Meat is great for a rat’s development when they are still growing! They can eat it raw or cooked so make sure to give your rat meat.
Can rats eat breakfast cereal?
Rats can eat muesli, but it is best to avoid feeding it other cereals as they are high in sugar and not great to feed to your rat. If you want to try to feed it other cereals look for ones that are low in salt and contain no added sugars but are high in fibre.
Can rats eat salmon?
Yes, rats can eat salmon! Feed in moderation and it can be fed raw or cooked. Your rat will love eating salmon.
Can rats eat fish?
Yes rats can eat fish, they are fine to eat most of the types of fish that we eat ourselves as long as it is in moderation. Fish such as tuna, salmon, trout, pollock, cod are all good fish species to feed to your pet rat. Fish is high in protein and nutrients.
Can rats eat kiwi?
They can eat kiwi in moderation because it is watery, and the skin should be removed as it is poisonous to rats. It is a great source of vitamin C however and will be best as an occasional treat like many other fruits
What kind of cheeses can rats eat?
Rats can eat a variety of cheeses, but it is best to give them hard or semi-hard cheeses. It is still best to feed these cheeses in moderation, but below is a list of cheeses they can eat:
- Red Leicester
What kind of cheese should you avoid:
It is best to avoid giving your rat soft cheeses altogether. Other cheeses aren’t a great option to feed your rat due to the processes they go through and softer cheeses are too chewy for your rat. Below is a list of cheeses they shouldn’t eat:
- Blue cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Cream Cheese
Foods that rats should not eat.
Below is a list of all of the different types of food that you should not feed to your pet rat.
Can rats eat junk food?
Yes, but in very small amounts and very rarely. Junk food has no nutritional value for them, so it is okay for a very occasional treat but should not be fed regularly at all. This includes any takeaway such as pizzas and noodles ect, they are high in salts and fats.
Can rats eat chocolates?
Very, very rarely rats can eat chocolates. It is not poisonous to them but not at all healthy and should be avoided as much as possible and if fed only in very small quantities. Although it is best to keep your rat away from chocolate altogether if you can.
Can rats eat oranges?
It is not recommended for rats to eat oranges. Oranges are known to cause cancer and kidney damage in male rats and the white pith is not good for females to eat. They are also very watery, and it is better to give your rat other sources of vitamin C.
Can rats eat lemons:
Rat should never ever be fed lemons. They can trigger kidney issues within male rats and is too acidic for rats to ingest and will upset their pH balance and upset their digestion. Keep rats away from lemons the same as you should from oranges.
Can rats eat chilli?
Rats should never be fed chilli. The spicy food will irritate their digestive tract and will burn their mouths and is too high in salt for them.
Can rats eat almonds?
It is best to avoid feeding your rat almonds and other nuts as it is very high in fat and can cause your rat to become overweight. The odd one now and again will cause no harm but any more than that can be dangerous for your rats health. It is best to keep your pet rat away from almonds and other nuts.
Can rats eat raisins?
No rats shouldn’t eat raisins very often as they are very high in sugar and there are plenty of better and tastier treats available for you rat which will provide a much more nutritious diet.
Can rats eat spinach?
No rats should not be fed spinach as it is too high in oxalates and can cause urinary tract and kidney infections and kidney stones. These are all very dangerous symptoms for your your pet rat to have so keep it away from spinach.
Can rats eat kiwi skin?
Be very sure not to feed your rat kiwi skins as they are toxic to rats. Do not let your pet rat anywhere near the skin of a kiwi.
Rats are really incredible little pets to own. They can eat a large variety of foods and their digestive tracts are known to be very similar to ours. They should be fed a varied diet in order to help them thrive and no one likes to eat the same thing every day anyway. It is very easy to add in some fruits and vegetables and occasionally some extra meat with their nutritional pellets. They can also be given cheese very occasionally as a treat, but be sure to feed them hard or semi-hard cheese.
They are easy to maintain and are great companions to have as they are highly intelligent and very social creatures. They can be taught tricks and will love to just sit with you and spend time with you. They are lovable animals.
My name is Andy Baines and I am the owner and writer here at Super Crazy Pets.
For the last 20 years I have been the carer/parent of many exotic pets, from reptiles to amphibians I have cared for and looked after them all.
I created this website to share my knowledge of looking after pets with other fellow owners.
My works and articles have been shared on many online publications including The Spruce Pets.
You can read more about my story by visiting the about me page.