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Safe Fruits and Vegetables for Rats: The Only Guide You Need

Safe fruits and vegetables for rats include apples, bananas, cucumbers, zucchini, pears, carrots, cooked potatoes, peas, and more.

When you feed your pet rat a new food, it often takes a bite and then ignores it.

Rats do this not because they don’t like it, but because their anatomy does not allow them to vomit. They thus stay away from new foods if there’s a chance it can hurt them. 

So they wait to see what effects it has on their body before consuming it all.

Rats return to eat all the new food if they don’t get sick.

Rats often begin to trust their owner and no longer test the food they try for the first time. Make sure you do not feed your pet rat food that makes it sick.

In this article, you will learn what fruits and vegetables are safe for rats and what food you should avoid or not feed rats.

Basic Feeding Guide for Rats

Rats must have a balanced diet that provides the necessary nutrients and keeps them healthy. They should eat fruits and vegetables daily, but also pellets or special cubes for rats.

Rats should be fed daily. They eat a combination of fresh fruits and vegetables and dry food for rats (pellets or cubes), with a protein content of at least 16%.[1]

The ideal diet for rats consists of 80% pellets/cubes and 20% fruits and vegetables. You can occasionally give them meat and fish.[2]

Mixtures of seeds and cereals are rich in fat and sugar and are therefore not recommended for rats. If their diet consists mainly of these mixtures, rats become obese and malnourished.

Rats also tend to choose their favorite foods from these mixtures, losing important nutrients.

You should consider the following foods delicacies and offer them only in small quantities or as snacks:

  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Biscuits
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Seeds
  • Sweets, etc.

Rats also need fresh water daily. Water bowls are recommended instead of water bottles. They are easier to clean, and rats can also play or wash in the water.

If you want to change the diet of your pet rat, you have to do it gradually to avoid gastrointestinal disorders.

Related: What Do Rats Eat?

Safe Fruits for Rats

Rats can eat a lot of different types of fruits. Some should be served in moderation, while others can be part of their daily diet. Keep in mind that you should not overfeed your rats with fruits. Fruit contains a lot of sugar and can make your rats sick.

It is important to know what to feed your pet rat because some foods can be toxic and cause illness.

Rats can eat almost any fruit, but there are some exceptions. Here are the fruits your pet rat can safely eat.

1. Apples


Rats can eat apples. They contain vitamin C, fiber, potassium, a low level of fat, but also a lot of sugar. Serve your rat with seedless apples in moderation.

Apple seeds contain amygdalin, a substance that releases cyanide into the body. The amount of seeds consumed is directly proportional to the degree of intoxication. The more apple seeds consumed, the greater the chances of intoxication. 

One human needs about 200 apple seeds to die from them, but rats die from much less.[3]

The same goes for pears.

2. Apricots


Apricots are good for rats. They are full of vitamins and antioxidants, making them a great treat. Wash the apricots before serving them to your rat to remove pesticides and take out the pit.

Avoid dehydrated or dried apricots as they present a potential choking hazard for your pet.[4]

The same goes for peaches and nectarines.

3. Bananas

yellow banana

Bananas are full of vitamins and minerals and can be a small part of your rat’s diet. Always serve ripe bananas and avoid green or unripe ones. The latter is difficult to digest and can cause gastrointestinal problems in your pet.[5]

4. Berries


Rats can eat some berries, but not all. Most berries are good, as they are full of antioxidants and vitamins. The following berries are safe for rats:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cranberries

5. Cherries


Rats can consume cherries without problems. Make sure you wash them and remove the pit before serving them to your pet rats.

6. Grapes

Grapes and Raisins

Rats can eat grapes in small amounts. Grapes are full of minerals, especially potassium. They can also stimulate the rat’s immune system, but due to their high sugar content, you should serve them in moderation.The same goes for raisins.

7. Kiwi


Rats can eat kiwi. Kiwis are a great source of vitamins. You can serve them whole or peeled to rats without issue.

8. Oranges


Oranges are safe for female rats. These citrus fruits contain D-limonene, a chemical that occurs naturally in many citrus fruits. D-limonene interacts with a protein found only in males. This interaction can lead to cancer and kidney disease over time.

If you still want to feed your male rats a bit of orange from time to time, there is probably no danger. But it is better to avoid this fruit and offer them other alternatives you know are safe for male rats.[6]The same goes for clementines.

9. Watermelons


Rats can eat watermelon. Watermelon is high in vitamin A, C, and potassium, and low in calories, making it a great treat for your pet rat. They can also consume the seeds and the rind.

The same goes for cantaloupe and honeydew.

10. Pomegranates


Rats can eat pomegranates. Pomegranates are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, proteins, and carbs, and make a great treat for your pet rat. Consuming too much pomegranate can lead to gastrointestinal problems.

Remove the peel before serving this fruit to your rats.

Safe Vegetables for Rats

Rats can eat a wide variety of vegetables. Some vegetables should be served in moderation (like artichoke), while others can be part of their daily diet.

Rats can eat almost any vegetable, but there are some exceptions. 

Not all vegetables are safe for rats raw. Some have to be cooked before serving them to your rat to make them safe for consumption.

Here are the vegetables your pet rat can safely eat raw or cooked.

1. Arugula


Arugula is safe for rat consumption. While some might not like it for its slightly bitter taste, other rats like it. Arugula is rich in vitamin A and K and in calcium and potassium.

2. Asparagus


Rats can eat asparagus. This vegetable is low in calories, fat, and sugar, and has a decent amount of fiber. It is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

You can serve your rat raw or cooked asparagus on occasion.

3. Broccoli


Rats can have broccoli without issue. Broccoli is full of vitamins and minerals. You can serve your rat these veggies raw, cooked, whole, or just the buds.

The same applies to cauliflower.

4. Butternut squash

Butternut squash

Rats can safely eat cooked butternut squash. It contains many vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, phosphorus, and copper. Make sure you cook it thoroughly and remove the rind before serving it to your rat.

5. Carrots

Raw Carrots

Carrots are good for rats. They are full of vitamins, especially beta carotene. They make great treats for pet rats, although some rats avoid them because they are too hard to chew. You can cook the carrots before serving them to make them softer.

6. Celery


While rats can eat celery, it does not provide much nutritional value. Serve it along with other nutritious fruits and veggies.

7. Corn


Rats can eat corn, and they do so with much pleasure. You can serve it fresh, frozen, or even from the can. Avoid dried corn as it can contain fungi. Fumonisin and aflatoxin are carcinogenic to rats, causing kidney, colon, and liver cancer. [7]

8. Cucumbers


Rats can eat cucumbers. They are full of water and do not provide much nutritional value. It does contain vitamin K and a small amount of vitamin C. Cucumber also have potassium, manganese, and antioxidants.

Wash them for pesticides before serving your rats.

9. Legumes


Some legumes are safe to feed raw, while others must be cooked thoroughly before serving.

Safe raw legumes for rats:

  • Peas
  • Green beans
  • Lentils

Safe cooked legumes for rats:

  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • All large dry beans
  • Dried or mature soy

10. Lettuce


Rats can eat lettuce. It is safe for rats but should be used as a treat as it does not provide much nutritional value. If you can, choose Romaine lettuce over Iceberg lettuce as it has more nutrients.

11. Mushrooms


Rats can eat a wide variety of mushrooms. Those safe for human consumption are usually safe for rats. They can costume mushrooms in moderation as long as they are washed thoroughly.

12. Peppers

Different Bell Peppers

Peppers are safe for rats, including green, red, and orange peppers. They contain many essential nutrients and should be served from time to time. Taste the peppers before serving them to your rats to make sure they are not spicy.

13. Potatoes


Potatoes are safe as long as they are cooked. Potatoes contain solanine, especially green ones, which is toxic to rats.

14. Zucchini


Rats can eat zucchini. It is full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and water. It is safe to feed it to rats raw or cooked. Some zucchinis can be bitter and your rat might refuse them. In this case, it is best to cook it.

What Not to Feed Rats

Rats can’t eat everything people eat. It is always a good idea to find out if food is safe or not before serving it to a rat.

Here is a list of the most common foods pet rats should not eat:

  • Garlic
  • Alcohol
  • Blue cheese
  • Licorice
  • Raw artichokes
  • Raw peanuts
  • Raw red cabbage and Brussels sprouts
  • Raw sweet potato
  • Mango
  • Green bananas
  • Rhubarb
  • Chocolate
  • Seaweed
  • Spoiled food
  • Avocado, especially the stone and skin
  • Onions (including green onions and chives)
  • Insects – they can contain internal parasites or bacteria
  • Sticky foods such as peanut butter or jam, candy, and dried fruits – they pose a choking hazard
About Iulia Mihai (DVM)

Dr. Iulia is a certified veterinarian with more than 10 years of experience in the field. With extensive knowledge of diet, care, and medication, she helps Misfit Animals provide readers with accurate knowledge on technical topics.

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