Rats love all sorts of food; one of the main benefits of having one as a pet is that it will eat just about anything. But what about watermelon? Is it okay for them to eat that?
So, can pet rats eat watermelon? Yes, pet rats eat watermelon. Your rat will, in fact, love it. While it is okay to give your rat some watermelon every now and then, too much of it can be harmful. If you want your rat to maintain good health, you must strive for a more balanced diet.
In this article, we will explore this subject of rats and watermelons further. How much watermelon is too much for your rat? What about the seeds and the rinds? What do rats actually eat, and what nutritional needs do they actually have? We will look into all of this.
Watermelons are okay, but just the right amount
Humans love watermelons. Especially on those hot summer days. And believe it or not, our furry little friends share our taste for melons. Pet rats are known to adore watermelons. Not only do they taste good, but they’re also rich in minerals & water.
And while it’s okay to give a bite or two of watermelons to your pet rat every now and then, you should be careful not to overindulge them. Your rats will eat all the watermelon that you give them. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be good for them.
Watermelons, and fruits in general, have a large amount of sugar in them. And while they’re totally safe, or even healthy, in small quantities, large quantities can be bad for your rats. Rats need a balanced diet to sustain their health and energy levels. In the wild, rats are opportunistic scavengers. They will eat a wide variety of food ranging from grains and seeds to bugs and worms. Just like humans, they have a need for a balanced diet.
Hence, it isn’t a good idea to give too much watermelon to your pet rat. He/she will definitely beg for more, and you will feel the urge to cave into that adorable little face.
However, you need to be the responsible owner here and set limitations on your rat’s behalf. A small slice or two as an occasional treat will not harm them, and could, in fact, be beneficial. Just don’t go around splitting a watermelon halfway with your pet rats.
Which part of the melon is safe to eat?
A watermelon typically consists of three different parts. The red flesh is the part that we love and enjoy. The black seeds in the middle are typically avoided, whereas the thick greenish parts forming the crust of the watermelon is called the rind. So which of these parts are okay to give your pet rats?
The flesh is naturally good to go. Like we mentioned in the previous section, as long as it’s shared in moderation, the flesh is okay for your pet rat and is what he/she will enjoy the most.
The seeds may strike you as something that should be avoided. Apple seeds, for instance, are infamously toxic to animals, especially small ones like rats. But watermelon seeds are totally safe, and you don’t necessarily have to remove it from the flesh of the melon when handing a slice over to your rat.
The same is true for the outer rinds of the watermelon. Unlike in other fruits, the outer surface of the watermelon is totally safe to eat for your furry little friends. Don’t be surprised if they actually seem to enjoy the chewy texture of it more than the flesh.
What do rats actually eat?
Pet rats were domesticated from brown rats around 200 years ago. So the best insight into what might be the best diet plan for your rat could be this animal’s natural diet plan.
Biologically, rats are omnivores, meaning their diet is composed of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. In reality, however, rats are opportunistic omnivores. What this means is they will devour abandoned carcasses, bugs, worms, eggs, or any other non-vegetarian food when given the opportunity. But they don’t necessarily need these things for their survival. In actuality, rats are mostly granivores, meaning their diet mostly consists of seeds and grains.
Fruits and vegetables are also adored by rats. But as you can imagine, these things are hard to come by in the jungle. In reality, rats have adapted to eat pretty much anything they can get their hands on. Life in the wild, or as feral rats, is quite hard. So it helps to have an adaptable diet.
And while this works in favor of the rat in the wild where regular and abundant food is hard to come by, it may work against them in captivity, where we tend to them regularly and with abundance. It is necessary as responsible owners to regulate their diets.
What makes a healthy diet for your pet rat?
It is your responsibility to identify the nutritional needs of your pet rat and plan a balanced diet accordingly. While they will eat just about anything, that doesn’t mean they should eat just about anything.
So, what should they be eating?
Fruits and vegetables are both great for the many nutrients they contain. But both these items should be given in a regulated amount. Experts agree that fruits and vegetables should make no more than between 10 to 20 percent of a rat’s daily diet.
Vegetables are safer than fruits, so they should make a bulk of that 10-20 percent. The following fruits and vegetables are good for your rats, and they will enjoy them:
- Seedless grapes
For the most part, your pet rat’s diet should consist of rat pellets that you can buy from any pet store. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try and plan your own fresh food diet for your rat. Just be mindful about including all the necessary nutrients such as the essential amino acids (proteins), vitamins (B-12 and D), minerals (calcium, iron, and zinc), and omega-3 fatty acids.
If you’re ever concerned about whether a certain food is okay for your pet rat (or any pet for that matter), it’s smart to double-check whether it’s safe for them to eat it.
Rats love to eat watermelons just as much we humans do. At a moderated amount, these fruits can even be good for your pets. But you need to be mindful of the amount of watermelon you’re giving your rat. Watermelons (and fruits in general) have a high amount of sugar in them. This isn’t good for a rat.
But like we said, a couple of small slices every now and then won’t hurt. Just give them as treats and not a whole meal. It’s actually quite easy serving watermelon to pet rats. Unlike other fruits, you don’t have to be mindful of which part is okay for them and which isn’t. All three parts of a watermelon, the thick outer rind, the red flesh and the black seeds spread across the flesh are all okay for a rat to eat.
Rats are very easy to look after. But one of the few responsibilities you have as an owner is to make sure you’re giving it the right food. Your best bet is to make a diet consisting of a bulk (between 80 to 90 percent) of store-bought rat pellets. The remaining 10-20 percent can consist of treats like vegetables and fruits (watermelons included).