Having a pet rat is a never-ending adventure, and there’s always something fun happening. Most rat owners are aware that their pets can’t burp or vomit, but what about farting?
So, do pet rats fart? Yes! Rats can, in fact, fart. While they can’t burp or vomit, their farts are quite common. You won’t hear a sound, but you’ll definitely smell it. According to some rat owners, the smell is so bad that they think that their rat has just pooped somewhere.
A rat’s farting is affected by their nutrition, just like it is with humans. So, in order to lower the amount — or the intensity — of the farts, you should learn more about how to feed your rat and how to keep their metabolism healthy.
Rats and Nutrition
Rats will eat just about anything you put in front of them. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should feed them whatever you’re eating that day. They need a balanced diet full of protein and vitamins in order to stay healthy.
A wild rat will eat anything from nuts and seeds to fruit and vegetables, dead animals, and any animal smaller than them that they can catch. This is to say that they are predators as well as prey. As such, in domestic environments where they can’t hunt or get the food themselves, they need plenty of nutrients to be healthy.
Rats are smart creatures, and they will get everything they need from the food you give them. Most pet owners purchase a mix for rodents in the form of pellets or bricks. While this is a useful base of their diet, it should by no means be all that they eat. Rats need fresh food, meat, and even some treats to make their life more interesting.
They love to eat, and for them, it’s an experience that involves their smarts and all of their senses. This is where pellets create problems since they are very generic, there’s nothing for rats to roam through, and there’s no different textures or smells to explore. So, try to give them enough variety through their other snacks, by giving them different, colorful fresh food.
The mix you buy should have plenty of vitamins and minerals, too, since rats need them to keep their metabolism running smoothly. You should also give them some soy products, especially to females, since they can prevent mammary tumors.
It’s important that you give them both the fresh food and the processed mix. Your rat will form an even closer bond with you if you give them some treats. Of course, keep in mind that they might start looking for food in your hands even if you don’t have it. So, keep everything balanced.
Don’t give any junk food to your rats. While wild rats may eat whatever leftovers they find in garbage cans, you want your pet rat to be healthy and have shiny, soft fur. Junk food is bad for them. Anything carbonated, sweet, or spicy isn’t suited for rats. All of this could make them gain weight and give them various health problems.
A good rule of thumb is to give your rat whatever you can eat, except junk food, citrus fruits, and juice — especially for males — sticky foods, green bananas, green potatoes, mangos, and poppy seeds.
You should also avoid giving them tofu, insects, and raw sweet potatoes.
The debate is still out on peanuts and peanut butter, with some owners avoiding it since peanuts contain compounds that deteriorate the vitamin A production in rats. Peanut butter is sticky so they could choke on it, but if you really want to do it, you can try giving your rats a slice of bread covered with a really thin layer of peanut butter. This should be given only occasionally, as a treat.
Carbonated drinks are a big no-no since these would make your rats fart a lot or make them extremely uncomfortable since they can’t burp. Dried corn is another food that should be given only with caution since it contains a lot of nitrates and amines, which are carcinogenic for rats.
Avoid giving them beets, eggplants, cucumber, spinach, celery, lettuce, radishes, and turnip greens for the same reason.
Dried corn may also have some fungi which can cause liver issues or cancer. So, it’s best to avoid anything that’s based on corn or contains too much of it. Sweet corn is okay, and it’s actually a good choice for your rat.
Pay close attention to the food you give them, in case some of it has mold on it. Mold can be deadly to rats because it contains some toxins. Avoid giving them anything that smells weird and that you wouldn’t eat.
You can also protect your pet rat by giving them fresh veggies, but always cutting off any dry parts. Any mold on the food should signal to you that this food is bad for your rat. Don’t cut off the moldy part and give them the rest because mold toxins could have affected the rest of the food.
You should wash any food you give them thoroughly. Most food has pesticides on the surface because they need to be protected against wild rats that are seen as pests, but your rat could get affected too. Peeling the fruit and veggies is the safest way to remove pesticides, and the most thorough one.
You can’t control the pesticides that are absorbed by the plant, though. When you can, peel the food, especially fruit and vegetables. Pay close attention to bell peppers, cherries, cantaloupes, peaches, apples, green beans, grapes, cucumbers, and apricots since they contain the most pesticides in the US.
If you can, shop on local farms — it’s not just good for your rats, but for you too — because these farmers use fewer pesticides or none at all. Buy organic food and avoid foreign food. For instance, you could only buy food that’s in season at the moment.
Least pesticides are found on corn, green onions, bananas, broccoli, watermelon, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, avocados, etc. Still, wash these thoroughly too.
Tap water could be another problem in a rat’s nutrition. Fluoridated water is not suitable for rats since it could cause some brain damage. Give them bottled water, but only the one you would drink too. Chlorine is toxic, too, even for people as it causes miscarriages in women, according to some studies.
You can also buy a filter that will remove chlorine.
When it comes to preventing gassiness in your rats, you should be aware that rats are different in how they respond to their food. While one type of food will cause farts in a rat, another rat will have no issues with it.
Farts in rats are by no means something bad. They are completely normal, and a regular part of a rat’s digestion. You can try to remove them, but the fact is that your rats will still fart. All you can do is try to determine which food makes their farts really bad.
Try an elimination diet to see what happens. It could help you find out which food to remove from your rat’s diet and which foods to keep. Again, there’s no way of completely eliminating farts, just like there isn’t a way to remove farts from humans.
Avoid pressing a rat’s belly while they are in your lap or close to you to minimize the chances of them farting. But when you do feel an uncomfortable smell, open the window and let your furry buddy feel comfortable.
- Oxbow Animal Health: Feeding Your Rat
- Reddit: Rat Farts?
- Rat Central: 10 Facts About Rats You Probably Won’t Know
- PDSA: Your rat’s diet
- NCBI: High levels of dietary soy decrease mammary tumor latency and increase incidence in MTB-IGFIR transgenic mice
- Rat Behavior: Why rats can’t vomit
- RMCA: Corn in the Rat Diet
- Science Direct: Impact of mycotoxins on humans and animals
- EWG: EWG’s 2020 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™
- EWG: Clean Fifteen™EWG’s 2020 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce
- NCBI: An Evaluation of Neurotoxicity Following Fluoride Exposure from Gestational Through Adult Ages in Long-Evans Hooded Rats