If you’ve ever brought home corn, you might have wondered if you can share some of it with your rat. It’s a very normal question to have. After all, there are very few things that rats can not eat, and sharing food with your rat is a ton of fun. However, you always have to be careful, just because rats aren’t very picky eaters doesn’t mean that everything they will eat is also good for them.
In this post, I’m going to go over everything you need to know about feeding corn to your pet rat.
If you need a quick answer, I got you: Giving your rat corn on the cob occasionally is fine, but dried corn should be avoided. The reason why dried corn is not good is that there’s a chance a relatively high chance that there are fungal contaminants in it. On top of that, it’s quite high in nitrates and amines, which is not great for your rat.
Can rats eat corn safely?
Dried corn should not be given to your rat. The reason being that there’s a possibility that there are toxic fungi in it. These fungi, called Aflatoxin and fumonisin, are known carcinogens for rats. They cause liver, kidney, and colon cancer in your pet rat. The reason why dried corn is safe for humans, but not for rats, is that rats are about 10,000 times more sensitive to the mycotoxins these fungi produce.
This is obviously something you want to avoid. Not all dried corn contains these fungi, but there’s unfortunately not a foolproof way to detect these fungi. Therefore, it’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid dried corn completely.
Mixed food containing corn
If you’ve ever bought mixed food for your rat, there’s a pretty high chance that you’ve noticed it might contain corn. First of all, mixes are not recommended to feed your rat at all for 2 reasons.
First of all, they’re usually manufactured for other animals, not specifically for rats. This means that they do not contain everything your rat needs.
Secondly, rats are very intelligent, and can easily pick their favorite items out of these mixes and discard the rest. This leads to an unbalanced diet.
These mixes are just not ideal nutrition-wise. It’s much better to go with pellets because those are optimized to contain the ideal nutrients that your rat needs to thrive. Also, when you feed them pellets they can’t pick out the foods they like the most, since they have to eat the whole pellet. This results in much better nutrition for your rat.
So, in short, mixes are not recommended in general, whether they contain corn or not. But if they do contain it, avoid it completely.
Corn on the cob
Rats can eat corn on the cob just fine. It doesn’t contain the same fungi that the dried variant does. In the wild, they’re known to eat it fresh without any adverse effects. They shouldn’t eat it too frequently, but giving them some corn on the cob (either raw or boiled) is not an issue.
If you have a lot of rats (think 7+) you can give them a whole cob and they’ll split it between them. However, if you have a smaller number of rats it’s best to cut the cob into smaller pieces and only give them one of these pieces. Otherwise, they might gorge themselves on it which can cause indigestion if they eat too much.
Ideally, your rat should eat a mixture of many different kinds of fruits and vegetables so letting them eat too much corn is not recommended.
So, now that you know that dried corn should be avoided, you might be curious what other fruits and veggies your rat can have. Luckily, there are dozens of great options. I will give you a list of ideas:
If you’re interested, I’ve written a complete rat nutrition guide that’ll go over all the foods your rat can, and can not eat. It teaches you what you should not feed your rat and the ideal diet that your rat should have. I highly recommend checking it out if you want to learn more about feeding your rat.
Every rat is different and has their own likes and dislikes, so it might take some trial and error to find out their favorite foods. Finding out what they like to eat is a very fun bonding experience and a great way to bring you closer to your pet.
Can rats eat popcorn?
Yes! Rats can eat popcorn just fine as long as it’s unsalted and unbuttered. It should just be plain popcorn without any added flavors. Many rats absolutely love it, and it’s a great treat to give them. It’s low in calories and doesn’t contain anything that’ll harm them.