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Can Rats Eat Mangoes? What You Need To Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Rats, especially pet rats, can be picky eaters. This is partially because, unlike humans, they are physically incapable of vomiting. This means that, unlike humans and common pets such as cats and dogs, when rats consume a toxin, they have no way of getting rid of it. This means they tend to be selective about what they eat, nibbling a little bit at a time before deciding that the food is safe to tuck into.

If you have a pet rat, it might take some time before you find a treat your rat really loves. If you’ve been experimenting with giving your rat different foods, you might be wondering which foods are safe for these rodents to eat. You should know that in small portions, mangoes can be a perfectly fine treat for your pet rat. In this article, we will discuss rat nutritional needs in greater depth, how much mango rats should eat, and foods to try—or avoid—feeding your pet.divider-mouse

What Do Rats Eat?

Rat eating pumpkin seed_Grace800_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Grace800, Shutterstock

Rats are opportunistic omnivores, which means that their diets tend to be comprised of whatever foods are available to them. Rats also live in many different climates and habitats, so as you might expect, an Australian rat has a very different diet than that of rats living in Norway. Pet rats tend to eat a diet that consists primarily of pelleted food. Foods that are specifically formulated for rats offer the best nutritional value to a domesticated rat since it is unlikely that a rat living in a cage would be able to get the same breadth and variety in its diet that a wild rat would.

In addition to pellets, it is perfectly fine and even encouraged to offer your rat treats from time to time. Try to feed your rat a variety of treats so that it can get the most nutritional benefit. Some of the best treats are fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and carbohydrates such as pasta. Later we will list some of the best treats you can give your rat.

How Much Mango Should Rats Eat?

As stated, mangoes can definitely play a healthy role in your rat’s diet. However, they should most be considered a treat to be offered on occasion, not on a regular basis. Rats are very small animals, so they don’t need to eat very much. When you consider that treats should only make up about 10% of your rat’s diet, it’s important to understand that that is a very small amount—perhaps 1-2 teaspoons. Mangoes are rich in fiber, which can be beneficial for your rat, but too much will give your rat an upset stomach and likely result in diarrhea.

D-Limonene and Male Rats

If you have a male rat, it is important to consider the fact that mangoes and citrus fruits contain a compound called d-limonene. D-limonene has been shown to cause tumors in the kidneys of male rats. As a result, some sources recommend avoiding citrus fruits altogether if you have male rats. However, it’s important to note that rats who developed tumors as a result of this chemical did so after consuming it in fairly high doses. A small amount of mango on occasion is likely harmless, but it is ultimately up to you to decide what is safe to feed your pet.

Other Great Snack Foods For Rats

Rats Eat Pumpkin close up_Torook_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Torook, Shutterstock

Unfortunately, rats have a pretty bad reputation for eating whatever food they can get their hands on—even garbage. However, there is some truth to this reputation, as there are many different foods that rats enjoy and that can make wonderful treats.

Some great rat treats include:
  • Apples or applesauce
  • Bananas
  • Berries (blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all great options)
  • Broccoli or cauliflower
  • Cereal (low-sugar varieties, such as plain Cheerios or oats)
  • Chicken (keep the bones as a chew toy!)
  • Crackers
  • Eggs (hard-boiled)
  • Melon
  • Pasta (dry or cooked)
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Squash (cooked)

As with mangoes, the foods listed here are meant to be occasional treats, not your rat’s main meal.

Foods To Avoid

While mango and other fruits are perfectly fine for your rat to eat in moderate amounts, there are certain foods you should avoid giving to your rat.

Foods to avoid include:
  • Avocado skins
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Green potato skins or potatoes with eyes
  • Large quantities of citrus or mango, which contain d-limonene in males
  • Onion
  • Raw beans
  • Raw sweet potatoes

Despite their reputation, rats can’t eat just any food, or at least they shouldn’t; in fact, there are plenty of foods that are harmful. Always do your research before introducing a new food for your rat to try.divider-mouse

Final Thoughts

Overall, mango is safe and even nutritionally beneficial for rats. However, if you have a male rat and are concerned about the d-limonene in mangoes and other citrus, you’re in luck; there are many, many other treat options that you can explore! If you do opt to give your rat mangoes, make sure to keep the serving size small to avoid any problems with digestion.

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Feature Image Credit: jarleeknes, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.