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Can Rats Eat Potatoes? What You Need to Know!
When you think of rats, it’s hard not to picture Templeton from Charlotte’s Web dashing through the fair eating every piece of garbage he comes across and exulting in the pleasure of it all. While rats might not break out in song and dance in excitement over food, they do enjoy eating a wide variety of foods.
And their omnivorous nature does mean they can eat and digest many different foods. Potatoes are on the list of foods rats can eat safely. Not only can rats eat potatoes but they are also quite healthy.
Keep reading to learn more about rats and potatoes, as well as some other foods your rat can and cannot eat.
What Parts of the Potato Are Safe for Rats to Eat?
Rats aren’t picky and will happily eat any parts of a potato you feed them. They can eat the flesh and skin safely. One thing to keep in mind is how you’ll be preparing the potatoes. If you are feeding them to your rats raw, you’ll want to peel them to rid the potatoes of any pesticides or other harmful agents that might be on the skin. As long as you clean the potatoes very carefully and then cook them, you can feed them to your rats unpeeled.
You shouldn’t give your rats green potatoes as these can be toxic. The eyes of the potatoes can also be harmful. Finally, if potatoes are starting to go bad or rot, you don’t want to feed them to your rat.
How Should You Prepare Potatoes for Rats?
Rats can eat white potatoes that are either raw or cooked. If you’re feeding your rats sweet potatoes, however, you should cook them. Raw sweet potatoes can be toxic to rats.
- Related Read: Can Cats Eat Sweet Potato? What You Need to Know
When you cook sweet or white potatoes for your rats, they should be steamed or boiled. You shouldn’t fry them in oils or add seasoning, salt, or other flavorings. These things are unhealthy for rats. Because of this, avoid feeding your rats processed potato-based foods such as potato chips, French fries, or tater tots.
Are Potatoes Beneficial for Rats?
Yes, there are health benefits to feeding your rats potatoes. Potatoes are low in fat and sugar. Rats don’t need high levels of either in their diets, so potatoes are a good way to give your rats the nutrients they need without those they don’t
Potatoes are high in carbohydrates, fiber, and have high water content to help keep your rat hydrated. They have considerable levels of essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and B6. Potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus are also found in potatoes.
What Other Fresh Produce Can You Feed Rats?
The majority of your rat’s diet should come from pellets specifically made for rats. Fruit and vegetables should be given to your rat regularly as well. While potatoes are certainly a healthy choice, your rat needs a varied diet to stay healthy. Giving your pet rat different foods can also act as an enrichment activity, especially when you hide it and allow them to sniff it out. Some favorite vegetable and fruit treats include:
What Foods Should You Never Feed Rats?
There are some foods you should never feed rats. These include:
Some of the foods on this list may seem surprising. After all, rats love cheese! However, the mold in blue cheese is toxic to rats. Citrus fruits are a no because they contain compounds that can cause cancer in male rats, although they’re thought to be safe for females.
Sticky foods such as peanut butter or mashed potatoes can be difficult for rats to swallow. Canned vegetables are high in sodium which makes them an unhealthy choice for rats.
A good rule of thumb is to not feed your rats processed foods or anything you wouldn’t eat yourself. Rotten food can make rats sick just like people. Green or unripe foods can be toxic to rats and people typically don’t enjoy these either.
The good news is it’s perfectly fine to feed your pet rats potatoes. They benefit from a variety of fresh fruits and veggies as well. It’s important to make sure you always check to make sure it’s safe to feed your rats new foods, though, to prevent stomach problems or worse.
Featured Image Credit: Andrey Zhorov, Shutterstock
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.