Rats are opportunistic eaters that can benefit from eating plant-based foods, as well as meat – they’re omnivores. However, while there are many different kinds of foods that rats can safely eat, that does not mean that you can feed them whatever you want. There are particular food items that are quite dangerous or simply not good for rats to consume.
If you’re here, you’re probably wondering whether or not it’s safe to feed some fish to your rat. Whether that’s tuna, salmon, herring, or cod, there are many types of fish and today I’m going to discuss them all.
Rats can definitely eat fish, but it should by no means be a large part of their diet. They can benefit from eating small amounts of fish, but giving them too much is not a good idea. I recommend cooking the fish prior to feeding to ensure that there are no parasites or bacteria present that can harm your furry friend.
But that’s not all you need to know. There are many different kinds of fish, and while rats can eat pretty much all of them, they’re not all equally healthy and rats can not eat them all in the same quantities. So, keep reading, and before you know it, you’ll be an expert on feeding fish to your pet rat.
Is fish good for rats?
Fish is quite high in several essential nutrients and is a much healthier option than meat. First of all, it’s lower in calories and fat, meaning that it’s less likely for your rat to become overweight.
On top of that, fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3’s have a number of health benefits. In one study, it was shown that rats that had more Omega 3’s in their diet were better able to cope with stress (both mentally and physically). In addition, omega-3 fatty acids can help to prevent numerous diseases.
For these reasons, rats can definitely benefit from having some fish in their diet. Omega-3’s are hard to find in nature – only fish, nuts, and some beans are a good source of this nutrient and out of those, fish are the richest in omega-3’s.
Is fish toxic to rats?
No, fish is not toxic to rats, and eating it will not harm your rat. There are some fish species that you have to be more careful with though and those are the large kinds like tuna and swordfish.
The reason why you should exercise caution when feeding tuna or swordfish to your rat is not that the fish itself is dangerous – the fish is totally safe – but because of the mercury levels.
These large fish feed on many smaller fishes. These smaller fishes are contaminated with small amounts of mercury, which accumulates in the larger fish to potentially unsafe levels. If you give your rat too much tuna or swordfish it can lead to mercury poisoning.
Can rats eat fish skins?
Fish skins are fine to leave on since they’re not toxic to rats and they’re exceptionally rich in omega-3s. Rats are smart enough to decide for themselves whether or not they like the skin. If they do not like it, they will simply eat around it. If they do like it, they will eat it.
Make sure that if you do decide to leave the skin on that you account for the skin as part of the portion size. Fish skins have quite a high fat content, so keep that in mind so you don’t accidentally overfeed your rat.
What kinds of fish can rats eat?
Now that you know that you can safely feed some delicious fish to your rat, you might be wondering which kinds of fish they can and can not eat. That’s a great question. Let’s take a closer look at the most popular kinds of fish and discuss whether or not they are good for rats to eat.
Can rats eat salmon?
Rats can absolutely eat salmon, in fact, it’s one of the healthiest kinds of fish that you can give them because it’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Salmon is extremely rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, contains a good amount of protein, and is an excellent source of B vitamins. Also, Salmon is low in mercury and calories.
Can rats eat tuna?
Yes, rats can eat tuna, but in moderation. I’ve discussed the problem with tuna in the section above – it can contain too much mercury. However, this is only really a problem if you feed your rat too much tuna. A small amount will not harm your rat.
Also, some tunas are higher in mercury than others. For instance, the albacore contains almost 3 times as much mercury as the skipjack tuna, so if you’re going to feed tuna to your rat, it’s best to go with smaller kinds, such as the skipjack.
Can rats eat herring?
Yes, rats can safely eat herring. Just like salmon, it’s rich in nutrients while being low in mercury. As far as fish goes, herring is a great treat for your rat.
Can rats eat cod?
Your rat will be happy to hear this – he can safely eat cod! Cod is a great fish to occasionally give to your pet rat because it’s high in vitamin A and D, and of course omega-3 fatty acids. On top of that, cod can reduce inflammation and help prevent disease.
Can rats eat shrimp?
Absolutely. Rats can eat shrimp without any issue. Because shrimp is so small, there’s not much to worry about when it comes to mercury levels. In addition, shrimp is quite low in calories, while being high in nutrients. It’s a good source of protein, Selenium, Vitamin B12, Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc, and Niacin. Also, it’s a great source of omega-6 and omega-3’s while also containing astaxanthin antioxidants.
You can choose to either peel the shrimp first to get rid of the shell, or you can give it to your ratties with the shell included. Feeding it with the shell included gives them a fun little challenge to get into the shrimp to obtain the delicious meat inside.
Other fish that rats can eat
- Black cod/Sablefish
- Bombay duck
- Butter fish
- John Dory
- Mahi Mahi
- Orange roughy (in moderation)
- Patagonian toothfish
- Sea bass
- Swordfish (in moderation)
- Tilefish (in very small quantities, very high in mercury)
Can rats eat fish eggs?
Most fish eggs are safe for rats to eat. For instance, rats can eat the following fish eggs:
- Ikura (salmon eggs)
- Kazunoko (herring eggs)
- Lumpfish roe
- Masago (capelin eggs)
- Shad roe
- Tobiko (flying-fish eggs)
Can rats eat mollusks?
The following mollusks are fine for rats to eat:
Frequently asked questions
Can rats eat fried fish?
Rats can technically eat fried fish, but it’s not recommended. Fried fish, especially deep-fried fish, is much higher in calories and fat than regular fish and as a result, it’s much easier to overfeed your rat when you feed it to them.
Can rats eat fish fingers/fish sticks
Yes, rats can eat fish fingers, but only in very small amounts. The breading adds a lot of calories to the fish and therefore it should only be given in very small amounts.
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