Nutrition for Rats

Food

Food is one of the few things that rats in captivity have to look forward to. Therefore we believe it is important to offer a varied diet to help keep captive pet rats happy and occupied.

Sunshine rats are offered a hard mix of rodent blocks, uncooked wholemeal pasta , weetbix™, rolled oats, pepitas and sunflower seeds which is available at all times.

Baby rat eating baby food from a bowl
Cooked meals are greatly anticipated!

Two warm cooked meals per day are offered in winter, and a cold cooked meal once a day in summer. Although they are not necessary for a healthy rat, our rats quite obviously look forward to their ‘meals’ and we believe that it offers them a better quality of life.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are offered three times per week, some favourites being corn on the cob, avocado, banana and peas.

Just like humans, rats enjoy sugary treats, and just like humans these can be detrimental to a rat’s health if fed too often. Some of the treats that Sunshine rats are occasionally offered are sugary cereals, yoghurt drops and peanut butter.

Rats can eat most foods, however there are some foods should never be offered. Rats cannot vomit, meaning that everything they eat HAS to go through their digestive system. Therefore if they eat something toxic, it can have dire consequences. Raw onion and citrus fruits should not be offered, as well as anything fizzy as rats are also unable to burp, meaning air in the gut cannot be burped out and can cause gastric distress.

A table of the foods that Sunshine Rats are regularly offered is shown below in the Sunshine Rattery Diet section

Water

Fig the pet rat drinking water from a water bottle
Fig enjoys a drink of fresh water

Fresh water should be provided at all times. Dropper bottles are the easiest way to provide water for your ratties. Containers of water are generally knocked over unless the container is too heavy to knock, and will be defecated in, contaminating the water.

If there are multiple rats in one cage it is advisable to provide two bottles of water per cage so that there is plenty of water to go around, especially in the hot water when rats will naturally drink more, and the water will evaporate.

Rat Diet Suggestions

FoodFrequencyComments
Rodent Blocks
Rodent Blocks
Always availableRodent blocks are a complete diet, but we use them only as a base for our hard mix. Hard mixes
that don't include rodent blocks become very expensive to create due to all the
ingredients needed to make up a nutritionally complete diet. By adding
rodent blocks to the mix, we are ensuring that our rats have access to
everything they need in one mix. Even though Sunshine rats have access to
other things in the mix, they still readily eat the rodent blocks. Available from produce stores
and some pet stores, such as Pet Barn.
Uncooked wholemeal pasta
Uncooked wholemeal pasta
Always availableFantastic for keeping teeth ground down.
Wikipedia have all the information you'd ever want to know about pasta
A few weetbix biscuits in a bowl
Weetbix™
Always availableGood source of fibre for a healthy digestive tract.
For more information, click here
Rolled Oats in a bowl
Rolled Oats
Always availableGood source of fibre, iron and thiamine.
For more information, click here
Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower Seeds
Always availableGood source of fibre, Vitamin, B, Vitamin E and fantastic for the coat. Either in the shell or dehulled.
For more information, click here
Pepitas/Pumpkin seeds
Pepitas/Pumpkin seeds
Always availableGood source of protein, iron and unsaturated fatty acids.
For more information, click here
Cooked meal mix
Cooked meal mix
Twice per day warmed up in winter, once per day in summer.Cooked pasta, baby food, cooked vegetables, mixed cooked kidney beans.
The type of vegetables and variety of baby food are changed regularly to keep the meals interesting. Boiled egg is added on occasion.
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and Vegetables
Three times weeklyMost vegetables and fruits can be eaten. This is not an exhaustive list;
peas, corn on the cob, avocado, carrot, bok choy, brocolli, cauliflower, pumpkin, tomato, aubergine, courgette, squash, snow peas, green beans, broad beans, swede, parsnip. Banana, apple, pear, strawberry, cherry, grape, raspberry, blueberry, peach, blackberry, watermelon, mango, apricot, plum.

Some vegetables that should NOT be offered are:
raw onion, raw leek, green potato, and arguably cabbage as it can cause gastric upset.
Some fruits that should not be offered are:
green bananas, oranges, lemon, lime, and any other citrus fruits.
Rats do not need to ingest foods that contain Vitamin C in large amounts as, unlike humans, their body produces it.
Treats
Treats
Occasionally as a treatSome favourites include Cheerios™, Crunchy nut cornflakes™, Fruit filled shredded wheat™,Peanut butter, Nutella™, pizza crusts, toast, cream cheese, yoghurt drops.
Ensure™
Ensure™
For old, underweight or growing ratlets or as an occasional treatEnsure™ is a high calorie powdered drink, available from most Pharmacies.