Rats are notorious for their ability to eat almost anything. They can benefit from eating a wide range of different foods ranging from meat to vegetables. However, while rats are very versatile eaters, there are some foods that are best avoided because they can make your rat very sick. Knowing which foods they can safely eat and which ones to avoid is crucial. After all, having a happy and healthy rat starts with feeding them the right foods.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at apples and how they fit into our pet rat‘s diet. Can rats eat apples? And if so, what are the things we need to be careful about? Should we remove the skins? All these questions and more will be answered today.
If you’re in need of a quick answer, here it is: Rats can definitely eat apples. It contains good amounts of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium which makes it a good nutritious snack for your pet rat, but there are some precautions you must take before you feed some apple to your rat. The most important precaution is that you remove all the seeds because those contain cyanide which is toxic to rats.
But keep reading, it might be tempting to go and feed your rat some juicy apples right now, but there’s some more important information you should know. Let’s get into it.
Can rats eat apples and is it good for them?
You’re probably familiar with the saying: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But does the same apply to rats? We know now that rats can indeed eat apples, but is it actually healthy for them to do so, and should it be a regular part of their diet?
To find out, we’re going to take a closer look at what an apple contains, and how these nutrients can be of benefit to our pet rat.
According to healthline, a medium-sized apple contains the following macronutrients:
- 52 calories
- 86% water
- 0.3 grams of protein
- 13.8 grams of carbs
- 10.4 grams of sugar
- 2.4 grams of fiber
- 0.2 grams of fat
As we can see, apples are low in fat and calories while being high in sugar and fiber. The fact that apples are low in fat and calories is good because rats do not need all that much fat in their diet. Also, the relatively high amount of fiber is good for your rat’s digestion. However, since this fruit does contain a pretty high amount of sugar you have to be careful not to overfeed your rat. It’s fine as an occasional treat, but do not overdo it.
Apples also contain the important mineral potassium which studies have shown is important for muscle-development in rats. Further, apples contain a good amount of Vitamin C. Even though rats are capable of synthesizing their own vitamin C (unlike humans, which can only get it from the foods they eat) they do still benefit from getting it in their diet.
So, we can conclude that apples are indeed a healthy addition to your rat’s diet and that they can benefit from eating them. However, you do have to be careful not to overdo it. The best results are achieved by feeding it to them as an occasional treat rather than making it a staple of their daily diet.
Can rats eat apple skins?
Yes, rats can eat the peels of apples just fine. The skins are not dangerous for rats to eat and are actually the most nutritious part of the fruit. However, you do have to be careful that you wash the skins properly before feeding them to your rat. Especially if you have non-organic apples, there are often pesticides present on the skins. These pesticides are harmful to your rat.
A study by the University of Massachusetts has shown that the most effective way to get rid of pesticides is by soaking them in a mixture of baking soda and water for a few minutes and rinsing it with cold water after. In this study, the scientists used roughly 2 teaspoons of baking soda dissolved in 4 cups of water and soaked the apples for 15 minutes followed by a tap water rinse and it got rid of most of the pesticides.
Can rats eat apple seeds?
Rats can absolutely not eat apple seeds. The seeds contain cyanide, which is poisonous to rats. Therefore, you have to make absolutely sure that you remove the seeds before you feed the fruit to your rat. An overdose of cyanide can lead to brain damage and even death in rats, so be very careful.
Do rats like apples?
Most rats do like apples, but you have to keep in mind that no two rats are the same. Just like humans, rats can have their own likes and dislikes when it comes to food. While most rats absolutely love this fruit, it’s very possible that your particular rat is not very interested in it. Since rats can safely eat apples the best way to find out if your rat is interested in eating it is by offering them a small piece of it. If they like it, they will eat it. If they don’t like it, they’ll ignore it.
If your rat doesn’t like apples, don’t worry, there are plenty of other foods that rats can eat as a treat. Just make sure to remove the fruit from the cage to ensure that it doesn’t start rotting.
So, your rat doesn’t like apples. Luckily, due to how many different kinds of food rats can eat, it’s not a problem at all. Here are some alternatives that you can give to your rat as a treat.
- Some kinds of lettuce
- Small amounts of bread
- Small amounts of cheese
Keep in mind, this list is not complete but is just meant to give you some ideas. If you want a complete list of what rats can eat, check out my post on rat nutrition. It gives you an overview of all the most popular foods that rats can safely eat, which foods to avoid, and an explanation of the ideal rat diet. I highly recommend you to check it out.
So, to recap, rats can eat apples and it can be a healthy treat. As long as you keep these 3 important factors why you need to be careful into consideration there is nothing to worry about:
- Do not overfeed your rat. Apples contain a relatively high amount of sugar, so make sure that you do feed it to them sparingly. It should by no means be a large part of their diet but rather an occasional treat.
- Rinse the skins. The skins of apples often contain pesticides. It’s important that you wash them properly to avoid that your rat ingests these.
- Remove the seeds. Apple seeds contain cyanide which is very bad for rats. Always double-check to make sure that you have removed the seeds before feeding.
Good luck feeding your rat, I’m sure he’ll love this juicy new treat!