Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Pet rats > Can Rats Eat Apples? What You Need to Know

Can Rats Eat Apples? What You Need to Know

A rat’s diet is dictated by its environment, with wild rats living off seeds, fruits, and vegetables, while city rats eat the waste we throw away. And if you have an infestation at home, rats may consume human food from our pantries and pet food from our cupboards.

As omnivores, these medium-sized rodents can eat a huge variety of food, but when kept in captivity, they benefit from a well-rounded diet that is designed to meet their specific dietary and nutritional requirements.

Rats can eat apples in moderation. In fact, the flesh of apples is considered a decent source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, while containing low levels of fat and calories. However, they contain a lot of sugar so should be fed sparingly. What’s more, while rats can also eat apple skin, it should be free from pesticides and other chemicals.

Most importantly, make sure the seeds are removed before feeding because they contain cyanide, which can prove fatal to rats.


Are Apples Good for Rats?

An apple contains around 0.2 grams of fat and approximately 50 calories. They also contain over 2 grams of fiber, which is good for a rat’s digestive system and helps prevent gastrointestinal problems including constipation and diarrhea.

Potassium, which is beneficial for good muscle development, is also found in apples, along with a decent amount of vitamin C. Rats produce vitamin C themselves, but a bit of apple may supplement the levels that they naturally produce.

Overall, apples are beneficial to your rat’s health, but you do need to be cautious when feeding this fruit. Despite being low in calories, they are high in natural sugar.

apples on a wooden table
Image Credit: pasja1000, Pixabay

How Much to Feed

The high sugar count quantity means that you should not feed too much of this fruit. The apple does not need preparing, other than to remove the seeds and to wash the skin, and you should cut the apple up to make it easier for your pet rodent to get into the fleshy and healthy part of the food. You can feed a slice every couple of days, and if you do feed a diet that is high in fruit, monitor your rat for signs of weight gain and obesity, and ensure that their stools do not become too loose. Although fiber is good for rats, too much can cause diarrhea.

Rats Eat Apple
Image Credit: Grace800, Shutterstock

What About Skin and Seeds?

The skin is considered to be the healthiest part of the apple because it is more nutritionally dense than the fruit itself. However, if you do not buy organic apples, you will need to wash the skin thoroughly before feeding. This will remove any chemical and potentially toxic residue on the outside and make it safe for consumption. You can leave the skin on the apple when slicing it, giving a good combination of textures and making it a decent source of vitamin C and fiber.

The seeds of the apple should never be fed to your rat. They contain cyanide, and while the amount would not be considered dangerous to humans, it could cause cyanide poisoning in rats.


Other Foods to Feed Your Rat

A varied diet is good for your rat. It ensures that they get a wider variety of the vitamins and minerals that they need and it also prevents them from getting bored with their daily food. The following are considered safe to feed rats:

  • Bread – While this food makes a tasty treat, you should either lightly toast it or soak it in water or milk. This will help prevent the bread from causing an obstruction or choking hazard.
  • Chicken – Meat not only makes an important addition to your rat’s diet, but most of them love it. Chicken is considered the healthiest and most beneficial meat, although small amounts of turkey and even beef are considered safe.
  • Cereals – Do check the ingredient list and avoid those that are high in sugar. If you can find a natural cereal that is free from additives, you can safely feed these to your rat, who will benefit from the addition of cereal and grain to their regular treats.
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs – Rich in protein, a hard-boiled egg is another food that can be fed in moderation and that will give your pet rodent vitamins and minerals that they rarely get from other sources. They are an especially beneficial treat for pregnant rats because they need the extra fat and protein.
  • Soy – Soy-based products are high in protein and they have been shown to have anti-carcinogenic properties, so they can help prevent your rat from getting certain cancers. Products include soy milk and yogurt, but when feeding any prepared foods, you must ensure that they do not have added sugars and other artificial additives.
Rat Eat Corn seed_Gorgev_Shutterstock
Image by: Gorgev, Shutterstock

Rats as Pets

Rats are a popular type of pet. They are friendly and enjoy being handled, while also being rugged and sturdy enough that they are not easily injured when being picked up. Not only will a rat come to the cage to greet its owner, but some people have had success training rats to respond to their names.

Like all pets, however, we must meet all of their daily requirements. As well as providing a good cage with adequate room and enough space, this means ensuring that the rat is fed a suitable and healthy diet that will help it develop while staying healthy.


Can Rats Eat Apples?

Rats are omnivores and scavengers. They have a wide diet and are versatile eaters, but this does not mean that they can eat anything and stay healthy and safe. Apples are considered beneficial and are safe to feed in moderation. You can even feed the rind, which is considered even more nutritionally beneficial than the fleshy part of the fruit, but you must ensure that you have washed any chemicals off the outside and you should never feed the pips, which contain cyanide.

See also:

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets