Like cats and dogs, rats are also opted as pets and they come in different breeds. Though they are known for their tendency to nibble almost anything given to them, this doesn’t mean you can feed them any sort of food available at home. Also, you cannot just leave them picking crumbs on the floor or allow them to pick on leftovers. Remember, they are still living creatures. So it is essential that you provide them with food that contain the nutrients they need.
Rats may have similarities with mice, but actually, they have varying needs. Therefore, it is necessary that you can distinguish them and know what sort of food suits to ensure they live a happy and healthy life to the end.
To give you a head start about rat feeding, here is a detailed guide:
Commercial rat food is always the easiest choice. But if this isn’t available, you can always let your tiny pets feed on something that is consumed by humans, such as fruits, vegetables, rice, whole-meal bread, and grains. You can also supplement them with a small amount of meat. But if you are looking for other healthy food ideas, you can try cauliflower, broccoli, bananas, apples, and peas. Still, you need to be careful in giving these treats to avoid overeating.
Basically, a daily meal that comprises all these make a good diet. However, for adult rats, it is recommended that they get at least 15 to 20 grams of food.
Here is another fact you need to think about. If you are a vegetarian, do not ever attempt to feed your pets veggies. They are carnivores, which means you have to provide them some animal protein, which can only be found in meat.
Overall, a diet that contains human food is considered healthy. But still, it is alright to give them random unhealthy treats like chocolates.
Commercial Rat Food
While a well-balanced diet is ideal for rats, you can still use commercial rat food, which is readily available at various pet shops. But still, you need to ensure that your pet rats are getting a nutritionally complete diet. You don’t just purchase a rat food because it is cheaper or maybe because it is more popular. Keep in mind that nutrition is your priority.
Normally, rat food comes in pellet, seed mix, or block form. But then again, it is probably wiser to stay away from the seed mix as it may result in an imbalance diet.
Although it is totally fine to let your pet rats feed on pellets that are filled with nutrients, can you imagine how boring it would be if they eat the same thing the entire year? So, if ever you think about giving them commercialized pellets, you can add something more interesting yet healthy, such as fresh food treats, as mentioned above.
Rats have four, long, sharp front teeth that are made for gnawing. Since these are open-rooted, these could grow throughout their existence.
To keep their teeth in good condition, it is advised that you offer them with hard treats once a week. These may include dog biscuits or twigs from fruit-bearing trees.
Rats must always have access to fresh water. And the easiest way to do so is to attach a gravity bottle to their cage. As much as possible, you need to change the water every day and at least clean the bottle once a week.
Other than that, rats prefer to have a bowl of water in their habitat. This is because they would love to soak and wash themselves in water from time to time, especially on a hot summer day.
But there is a downside to this. You need to clean the cage every now and then or else, you might find all the contents spilled over the rat cage.
Other Important Facts to Consider
If you are wondering what the ideal feeding time for rats is, we say it is when they are up and awake. But when is that specifically? Rats are nocturnal creatures, which means they are very much active at night. During this time, they are said to be very active and playful.
In addition, your pets must at least enjoy a tablespoon of fruits and vegetables in a day. By giving food in small quantities, you will be able to save food and reduce waste. At the same time, it’ll also decrease the time needed to clean all the mess in your rat’s enclosure.
At the end of the day, you need to understand that rats aren’t like any other creatures. Even if they like to eat meat, there are possibilities that they will feed on junk food, especially when given the chance. Thus, if you really want them to live a healthy and long life, as a responsible pet owner, you have to choose their diet carefully.