Can Rats Eat Cherries? [Is it Part of a Balanced Diet?]

Can rats eat cherries? Is it good for them? These are some questions that you might have, and for good reason. No matter what pet you have, it’s natural to have a lot of questions about optimal nutrition for them. After all, you want your rat to be as healthy and happy as possible!

In my opinion, one of the best parts of having a rat as a pet is the fact that they can eat most things that humans can eat. There’s a huge overlap between our diets, which makes sharing food with them a very fun and engaging activity.

However, there are differences between the foods humans and rats can eat. For that reason, it’s always of vital importance to ensure that whenever you add something new to your rat’s diet, you check first to see if it’s safe for them to consume.

In today’s guide, I’m going to go over everything you need to know about rats eating cherries.

If you’re in need of a quick answer, here you go: Rats can eat cherries. It should not be a large part of their diet, but on occasion, you can give them a cherry without any issues. It contains a lot of vitamins and minerals but also a lot of sugar, which means you shouldn’t give it to them too often. Make sure to wash it properly to remove any pesticides and remove the stone before feeding.

Are cherries good for rats?

picture of a cherry

The Prunus avium or what it’s most commonly known as, the sweet cherry, is a stone fruit. It’s been part of our diet for thousands of years, but how does its nutritional profile affect rats? Let’s take a look.

The first thing I’m going to take a look at is what exactly is in this fruit. By doing so, we can see if there’s anything in there that’s harmful to our rats.

According to the USDA, 100 grams of cherries contains the following (source):

  • 82 grams of water
  • 63 calories
  • 1 gram of protein
  • 16 grams of carbs
  • 2 grams of fiber
  • 12.8 grams of sugar

But that’s not all, it also contains the following minerals and vitamins:

  • Vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • B vitamins
  • Magnesium

When we take a look at what’s in these fruits we can see that there’s nothing in there that’s dangerous for rats. Cherries mainly consist of water (82%) and sugar and contain a lot of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

The high amount of vitamin C in these fruits is good for your rat’s immune system and the potassium benefits their heart. Overall, the cherry is a healthy fruit for rats to eat!

Risks

Okay, so now we know that cherries are safe for rats to eat. However, that doesn’t mean that you can just go ahead and dump a truckload of this fruit in their cage. There are some risk factors that you need to be aware of.

Let’s go over them one by one.

Overfeeding

Cherries should not make up the majority, or even a large part of your rat’s diet. They can eat it, yes, but when you’re talking about rats that applies to almost everything. They’re very generalist eaters.

However, rats are not the best at digesting fruits. Therefore, you shouldn’t feed them too much of it or it will upset their stomach.

On top of that, these fruits are quite rich in sugar. Rats do not need all that much sugar in their diet. In the wild, they will seek out sugar (much like humans do), since it’s such an easy source of energy. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily good for them. Too much sugar can cause tooth decay and obesity in your rat, which causes all sorts of other issues.

When you first start giving them cherries, you should be especially careful and start with small amounts. That way your rat’s digestive system can get used to this new food in their diet.

The pit

I’m sure you’ve eaten a cherry before, but if you haven’t you should know that there’s a large pit in the center. That’s why they’re called stone fruits.

Rats have very strong teeth and can easily break through the stone of the fruit if you do not remove them.

This pit is very dangerous for rats and should never be given to them. It contains cyanide which can be lethal. Cyanide is used as a rat poison, so definitely make sure to never feed your rat the pit of the cherry.

pitted
Always make sure to remove the pit before feeding!

Staining

If you’ve decided to feed your rat a cherry and notice that his stool is red afterward and freak out! This is a very natural reaction, but ultimately unnecessary. It is simply the juice staining it, nothing to worry about.

The juice will stain their mouth and paws as well, but since rats groom themselves very frequently they will get rid of this in no time. It kind of looks funny, they look very bloodthirsty after eating one of these fruits!

Make sure to wash it properly

The sad reality is that most of the fruits we buy in our supermarket are treated with pesticides. These pesticides are not something you’ll want your rat to eat, so you should ensure that whenever you give your rat a cherry you wash it properly.

How many cherries can rats have?

Rats are small creatures, so even a single cherry is already a very big meal for them. I recommend you give them no more than 1 if you’re feeding it to them.

Always make sure to cut it open before feeding so you can remove the pit!

Do rats like to eat cherries?

Most rats will like cherries, but as with most foods, it all depends on your rat. Some like it, some do not. If yours does not like it, do not worry. There are plenty of other foods that you can give them as a treat such as potatoes or rice or cheese.

If you need some ideas for other vegetables you can feed your rat, consider these:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Grapes
  • Nectarines
  • Pomegranates
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Papaya

Also, to learn more about what fruits rats can eat, check out this rat nutrition guide, it features a complete list of all the fruits that they can eat. It will teach you a lot about the ideal rat diet, including what rats can not eat and what is poisonous to them. I highly recommend checking it out.

Related questions

After reading this you might have some additional questions about foods related to cherries and whether rats can eat them. Let’s take a look at the most common ones.

Can rats eat cherry jam?

They can eat it if it’s organic or home-made jam, but if it’s from the supermarket they shouldn’t. They are loaded with sugars.

Even if the jam is organic or home-made, make sure to only give them a VERY small amount of it.

Can rats have cherry juice?

I wouldn’t give this to them. It’s very high in sugar and doesn’t really benefit them. Best to stick to water and give them a raw cherry instead.

 

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