Rats make great pets; they are clean, intelligent, and curious little creatures, and their whimsical presence can lighten up your mood, but as a new owner, you might get curious about their dietary needs and restrictions. You might be wondering if it’s okay to feed them regular human food that you would find lying around in the kitchen pantry. You know, stuff like rice or pasta.
So, is uncooked pasta and rice safe to eat for pet rats? Yes, uncooked pasta and rice are safe to eat for pet rats. Pet rats are, in fact, known to enjoy a snack of uncooked pasta. They are also known to eat uncooked rice. And there are no health consequences to that you need to worry about.
But there are still some factors you need to take into consideration here. Exactly how much uncooked pasta or rice can you feed your furry little pets? In this article, we will analyze this question and others concerning the proper dietary plan for your pet rat. Let’s get started.
Do pet rats eat uncooked pasta and rice?
Pet rats have been known to enjoy uncooked pasta. You hand them a single piece of pasta, and they’ll have a blast chewing on it for some time.
For most rats, cooked pasta is the preferred choice, as it is softer and easier to chew and swallow, but that doesn’t mean they do not enjoy raw pasta. In fact, they quite adore the crunchiness of it. And also, pasta is made from wheat, a cereal grain, so this goes well with the rat’s naturally granivorous tendencies.
Uncooked rice is another food that rats love to eat and goes well with their granivorous tendencies. Rats haven’t established their reputation as thieving scavengers that break into granaries and steal our grains for no reason. They’ve been doing this for thousands of years, so your rat will definitely welcome a diet composed of rice. Once again, as with pasta, cooked rice is preferred over uncooked rice, as it is easier to chew and swallow.
So now that we’ve established that it’s safe for pet rats to eat uncooked pasta or rice, but how close are these items to a rat’s natural diet? What do rats actually eat in the wild?
What do rats actually eat?
Pet rats are descendants of brown rats. Brown rats are naturally omnivores, meaning their diet consists of a mix of meat and non-meat items. Rats, however, are opportunistic omnivores meaning they will not go out hunting for meat and will only scavenge what they can find. A vast majority of their diet actually consists of grains and seeds, making them “granivores.”
As granivores, rats have a natural ability to digest raw rice, so it is absolutely safe for pet rats to eat uncooked rice. And while an uncooked rotini isn’t something that rats come across in the wild, pasta is still made of wheat, a cereal grain, so it is in tune with your rat’s natural diet. So, it is safe to treat your furry little pets with some raw pasta every now and then, and you will absolutely love the adorable sound they make while they’re chewing the pasta up.
In the wild, rats will eat pretty much anything they find. These include anything from grains and seeds (their primary diet) to bugs, dead animals, fruits, vegetables, etc. Their liberal diet has been both a boon and a curse for these animals. On the plus side, they’ve been able to adapt better to life in the wild, but on the flip side, they are probably more prone to diseases than other animals.
Is it okay to keep a pet rat on a strict uncooked pasta and rice diet?
So far, we have learned that it is totally safe for a pet rat to eat uncooked pasta and rice, but you still might have one question: is it okay to keep your rat on a diet of only uncooked pasta and rice? After all, if it’s healthy for the rats, this can be incredibly convenient. The short answer is yes and no.
Yes, you can make uncooked rice or pasta the main meal for your pet rat, but rats like humans have other nutritional needs. As the owner and guardian of your furry little babies, you need to make sure that you’re giving them all the essential nutrients like the essential amino acids (proteins), vitamins (B(12) and D), minerals (calcium, iron, and zinc), and the omega-3 fatty acids.
If you can muster up a diverse enough diet plan that gets all of these essential nutrients into the rat’s bodies, then, of course, you can make uncooked rice or pasta the major portion of that meal. But can you feed them just pasta and rice?
This probably isn’t a good idea, and we don’t recommend it. They might survive, but most rats will eventually run into complications if their nutritional needs are not met. Owners must remember that in the wild, rats don’t solely live on grains and seeds. They will eat pretty much anything from fruits, vegetables, seeds, insects, small reptiles, dead birds, human trash, etc., and so, they’re able to derive all the necessary nutrients from these various sources.
What do pet rat owners normally feed their rats?
So, what do the people who own pet rats normally feed their rats? The first and preferred choice is store-bought packaged rat-feed. Not only are these items convenient to get, store, and give to your rat, they also most likely have all the necessary nutrients in them. Most rats will absolutely love it.
However, some owners are adamant about feeding fresh food to their pet rats. In this case, there are plenty of options you can choose from. Fruits and vegetables are a natural choice. As for fruits, rats love apples, bananas, berries, grapes, melons, etc. As for vegetables, potatoes, kale, broccoli, peas, carrots, etc. make great choices.
You can also feed your rats cooked livers and powdered chicken bones. These are rich in iron and calcium, respectively. Anything derived from cereal grains is also okay unless they have some additives like sugar in them. It is also okay to give your rats some nuts every once in a while as a treat. Not too much, though, as nuts are high in fat and can cause problems.
And finally, you must accept that your furry little pet babies are indeed rats. Their species have been scavenging food from human trash for millennia. So, believe it or not, there are plenty of rat owners who feed their rats leftovers from their own meals.
While it’s okay to feed human leftovers to your rat, you must be particularly mindful of a few items and spices you must absolutely avoid. Beans, cabbages, mangoes, lemons, oranges, nutmeg, chocolates, and caffeinated beverages should be kept away.
Not only do rats love eating uncooked pasta or rice, but both of these things are also safe for them to eat. Rice, a cereal grain, is actually in tune with the brown rat’s granivorous diet in the wild, and pasta, while unnatural in its form, is still composed of wheat, another cereal grain. So, pasta is safe too.
Rats are biologically omnivores, meaning they will eat both meat and non-meat diet. But a vast majority of their food is composed of seeds and grains, making them “granivores.” And so for the most part, rats will be content with a meal composed primarily of uncooked pasta and rice.