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What should I feed my pet rat?

Article ID: 268
Last updated: 14 Aug, 2014
Revision: 6
Views: 65610

Rats are omnivores (they eat plant and animal material). They will eat a wide variety of food if offered. Rats are intelligent animals and providing a variety of different foods can help to enrich their environment.

Basic Rat feeding guide:

  • Rats should be fed a combination of ad lib fresh fruits and vegetables and small amounts of good quality rat pellets or rat cubes (ensure they have a protein content of at least 16% & fat content of 4-5%).
  • Some examples of suitable fruit and vegetables are: apples, pears, banana, melons, stone fruits, citrus fruits, broccoli, cabbage (not red cabbage), endive, carrots, Bok choy/other Asian greens, celery, parsley, berries, fresh corn (small amount only) and peas.
  • Avoid feeding rats a seed/grain mix as these are too high in fat and sugar. Rats are very prone to becoming obese and malnourished on these mixes. They tend to ‘select’ their favourite bits in the mix and therefore miss out on important nutrients.
  • The following should be considered as treats and only offered in very small amounts: Cereals, grains, seeds, breads, biscuits, sweets, cooked pasta and  rice and breakfast cereals.
  • Provide clean fresh water at all times.
  • Any changes to the diet should be made gradually to avoid gastrointestinal upsets.

Do not feed the following (please note that this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Blue cheese
  • Green bananas - inhibits starch-digesting enzymes
  • Green potato skin
  • Licorice - suspected to cause neurological poisoning in rats
  • Orange juice  
  • Mango
  • Raw artichokes
  • Raw dry beans or peanuts
  • Raw red cabbage and brussel sprouts
  • Raw sweet potato
  • Avocado
  • Rhubarb
  • Sticky foods such as peanut butter, some candy, and dried fruits - poses a choking hazard
  • Seaweed



This website provides general information which must not be relied upon or regarded as a substitute for specific professional advice, including veterinary advice. We make no warranties that the website is accurate or suitable for a person's unique circumstances and provide the website on the basis that all persons accessing the website responsibly assess the relevance and accuracy of its content.
Also read
document How should I house my rat?

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