Rats can eat a wide variety of animal and plant-based foods. That’s the main reason they’re so successful as a species. They easily adjust to their environment and can survive on all kinds of foods – be it berries and seeds from the woods or trash from the dumpster.
But even though they can eat such a wide variety of food, it doesn’t mean it’s good for them. If you’ve read our article on how to feed your pet rats, you know what a healthy diet for rats should look like. To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a safe rat food list with vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, protein, herbs, and grains you can feed your rats as a part of a healthy diet.
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Vegetables for Rats
|Bean Sprouts||Mung Beans|
|Broad Beans (cooked!)||Parsnip|
|Cannellini Beans (cooked!)||Radish|
|Cauliflower||Runner Beans (cooked!)|
|Edamame Beans (cooked!)||Spring Onion|
|Endive||Sugar Snap Peas|
|Globe Artichoke||Sweet Potato|
|Green Beans||Swiss Chard|
|Haricot Beans (cooked!)||Turnip|
|Jerusalem Artichoke||Water Chestnuts|
|Leek (cooked)||Zucchini (Courgette)|
Rats can safely eat a wide variety of veggies, but there are some rules to follow.
Green, raw potatoes should not be fed as they contain a large amount of toxin called solanine.
Kidney and Broad beans or other beans high in lectin should never be fed raw because they are toxic (to both humans and rats). Always cook those beans before feeding them to your pets, or use canned beans. Green beans, on the other hand, are safe to feed raw as they don’t contain high amounts of lectin as broad or kidney beans.
Foods that are high in oxalates, such as Swiss chard and spinach, should be fed in moderation if your rat has kidney issues, as oxalate crystals can cause kidney stones.
Lettuce has a low nutritional value, so don’t feed it too often. There are better, healthier option such as Rocket salad or greens.
Fruits for Rats
|Apricot **||Mandarin *|
|Avocado (no skin or pit)||Mango *|
|Clementine *||Persimmon (Sharon Fruit)|
** No stone or seeds
* Regular high amounts of citrus fruits and mango, which contain D-limonene, can cause kidney issues in male rats, so it is best to avoid giving it to your bucks. Although, if your male rat steals a chunk of your mango or sips a bit of orange juice, he’ll be fine – those quantities are not enough to do any damage
** No stone or seeds. Stone and seeds of some fruits contain amygdalin which is converted into cyanide in the stomach and may cause cyanide toxicity in large doses.
Avocado should be fed in small quantities due to its high fat content. Also, don’t feed your rats avocado skin or pit as those are toxic.
Fruit is packed with natural sugars, which are not bad for rats but should still be given in moderation.
Nuts for Rats
Nuts make excellent treats for rats as they are a natural source of calories, protein and fat. Offer your rats nuts in shells, so they need to put some effort in – this will make it much more exciting and enjoyable for them.
To make it even more fun, bury the nuts in their substrate or sprinkle a few throughout their cage or free-roam area for them to find.
Nuts should be unsalted and unseasoned.
|Chia Seeds||Pumpkin Seeds|
|Flax Seeds||Sesame Seeds|
|Hemp Seeds||Sunflower Seeds|
Smaller foods such as pine nuts and pumpkin seeds make great treats for training and games. Seed, as nuts, should be unsalted and unseasoned.
Herbs & Flowers
|Cilantro (Coriander)||Rose Petals|
Adding dry or fresh culinary herbs to your rats’ regular diet is an excellent way of adding extra nutrition and variety. Herbs are also great for foraging.
|Cheese||Cooked Plain Chicken|
|Cottage Cheese||Cooked Plain Turkey|
|Crickets||Cooked Plain Beef|
If you’re feeding your rats with high-quality commercial food that already contains all the protein your rats need, then you don’t need to worry about adding extra protein – you can just offer it as a treat from time to time.
But if you’re feeding your rats a dry mix without added protein, you must add fresh protein to your rats’ diet. Eggs, chicken, and fish are some of the more popular choices, but you can also give the foods listed above.
Keep in mind that cooked beef should not be fed too often because it’s high in cholesterol. Chicken is a much healthier choice.
If you’re going to feed your rats with insects, use dried insects, not wild ones. Wild insects can carry diseases or internal parasites.
|Buckwheat||Rice (cooked & dried)|
Grain is a major part of your rats’ diet in a dry food mix you feed them, but if you want to give them a bit of extra as a treat, the grains in this list are good options.
Rats are pretty similar to us humans and can mostly eat the food we eat, with a few exceptions. Good principles to follow are variety and moderation. Don’t feed your rats too much fat or sugar, and make the fresh part of their diet varied – to boost their nutritional intake and make it more fun. After all, nobody likes to eat the same thing day after day!
See a detailed explanation on what foods rats shouldn’t eat here.
We’ve compiled this list of safe vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, protein, and grains from the most reputable sources and double-checked everything to ensure the data is correct.
- The Scuttling Gourmet: Fruit and vegetable list for rats: Written by Alison Campbell, the author of many rat diet ebooks.
- IsamuRats: Vegetables and Fruits
- The Ultimate Guide to the Top 100 Foods to Feed Your Rats by Alison Campbell
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