Can Rats Eat Nuts or are they Toxic? [Walnuts, Peanuts, Pecans, Almonds & More]

Have you ever sat on the couch, snacking on some nuts, and wondered if it’s safe to share some of them with your pet rat? You’re not alone! Today, I’m going to give you an in-depth answer to the question: “can rats eat nuts?” I will discuss the different kinds of nuts that they can eat, precautions that you should take, and much more.

Rats are omnivores, which means that they can eat a large variety of different kinds of food. However, while rats can benefit from a large variety of different kinds of food, that doesn’t mean that you can feed them anything you like. Some foods can be very dangerous to your pet rat and finding out which foods are good, and which are not, is an important step to ensure that your rat is able to thrive. After all, a happy and healthy rat starts with giving them the correct diet.

can rats eat nuts

If you’re in a hurry, and want a quick answer, here you go: Rats can safely eat nuts, and in small quantities, it can be a healthy snack. However, it should definitely not be a large part of their diet. Nuts contain a lot of fat and are very high in calories. Feeding your rat too many nuts can lead to rapid weight gain. As long as you follow the precautions I mention in this post, nuts are a safe and healthy treat for your pet rat!

So, that was the short of it. But run off just yet! There are some precautions and important information that you have to be aware of before you start.

Can pet rats eat nuts and is it good for them?

In the wild, rats eat almost anything they can get their little paws on, even if it’s not necessarily good for them. Especially foods that are high in calories and fat are much beloved among wild rats because it gives them the energy they need to survive. However, in captivity, we can be a little bit more selective with the foods we give our pets. That way, we can ensure that our pet rat lives longer and that they are healthier and happier.

As I’ve briefly mentioned in the short answer above, the answer to the question of whether rats can eats nuts is a definite yes. But is it actually healthy for them to do so? Luckily, the answer to that question is also yes, as long as it’s consumed in small quantities.

The reason why nuts are good for rats to eat is that nuts are very rich in healthy fats such as omega-3s and omega-6s. Studies have shown that omega-3s are good for your rat’s brain and that it helps them deal with stress better. Omega-6s are good for their heart. On top of that, nuts are a good source of minerals and vitamins, such as magnesium and Vitamin E, which according to research can prolong the median lifespan of rats by up to 40%!

However, while rats can definitely benefit from eating nuts, it’s not something they can eat every day because of how many calories they contain. Walnuts for instance contain 523 calories per cup (80 grams), which is a huge amount for a small animal like a rat and this can lead to rapid weight gain which can result in a wide range of problems, completely negating the health benefits of nuts for your rats. Therefore, you have to make sure that you feed it to them in very small quantities.

What kind of nuts can rats eat?

Can rats eat peanuts?

Technically speaking, peanuts aren’t nuts but legumes. Nevertheless, many people consider them to be nuts so I figured I’d cover them in this article for completeness’s sake.

Rats can eat peanuts and it can be a good treat for them. Peanuts are rich in antioxidants and are a good source of vitamins and minerals like Biotin, Niacin, Copper, Manganese, Vitamin E, Magnesium, and Thiamine. On top of that, they’re an excellent source of protein, with 22% to 30% of the total calories in peanuts coming from protein.

Also, it can be very fun to give your rat a peanut that’s still in the shell. Your pet rat will enjoy opening the shell and getting the delicious peanut out of it!

So, peanuts are a fun, delicious, and healthy treat that rats can eat. However, while peanuts are not nuts, one characteristic that they do share with nuts is that they are high in calories. 3.5 ounces of peanuts contains 567 calories, which means that you have to be careful not to overfeed your rat. 1 peanut per rat is plenty!

Can rats eat peanut butter?

Now that you know that rats can eat peanuts you might also be curious whether or not they can eat peanut butter. The answer to this question is yes, rats can eat peanut butter but you do have to be careful. If you’re going to give peanut butter to your rat make sure that you do not feed them a whole chunk of it, because that’s just way too much for them and if you feed it to them that way it can get stuck in their throat.

Instead, spread a little bit of it on a very small piece of bread or your finger and let your rat lick it off.

Can rats eat almonds?

can rats eat almonds?

Yes, rats can eat almonds. Almonds are rich in many different vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, B, copper, calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and manganese. On top of that, they’re a good source of fiber, protein, and antioxidants. All of this means that almonds are a healthy treat for your rat to consume. Do keep in mind that almonds, just like other nuts, are high in calories and fat, so make sure that you feed it to them in small quantities. I suggest feeding no more than half a nut per rat.

Can rats eat walnuts?

can rats eat walnuts

Rats can safely eat walnuts it’s a healthy treat for them as long as you feed it in moderation. Out of all the nuts in this last, walnuts might be the healthiest option because they’re the richest in omega-3s. Walnuts are a great source of many different nutrients that your rat can benefit from. They contain a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids, biotin, manganese, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, and antioxidants. However, they also contain a lot of fat and calories, so you have to make sure to feed in moderation – about a quarter of a nut per rat should be more than enough.

A fun way to feed walnuts to your rat is to give them the nut in the shell. Walnuts have a notoriously hard shell which can be a fun challenge for your rat to open. It’s also a great way for them to grind down their teeth!

Can rats eat pistachios?

can rats eat pistachios

Rats can definitely eat pistachios! Just like other nuts, pistachios are rich in healthy fats, fiber, and important vitamins and minerals. Do keep in mind that like other nuts on this list, pistachios contain a lot of calories. Feed no more than 1 pistachio per rat. Also, you have to make sure that you only feed them the unsalted variety – salt is not good for rats!

Can rats eat cashews?

can rats eat cashews

Yes, rats can safely eat cashews. Cashews are an excellent source of antioxidants, copper, manganese, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin K, Thiamine, Selenium, Iron, Zinc, and Magnesium. However, while cashews contain a lot of nutrients, you do have to be a little careful if you have an older rat or one with kidney issues because they are relatively high in phosphorus. If you have a healthy, young rat a good portion size is about a third to half a nut per rat.

Also, be cautious to not feed them salted cashews.

Other nuts that rats can eat

Luckily, rats can eat almost any kind of nut. For reference, here is a list of other nuts that are safe for rats to eat:

  • Chestnuts
  • Brazil Nuts (1/5 of a nut per rat)
  • Pine Nuts (1 per rat)
  • Macadamia Nuts (a quarter of a nut per rat)
  • Pecans (around a quarter of a nut per rat)
  • Hazelnuts (1 per rat)

Can rats eat nuts in shells?

Yes, you can give your rats the nut with the shell included. Rats are very clever rodents with strong teeth and are easily capable of figuring out how to get through the shell to the delicious nut. They won’t eat the shell itself, but it’s a fun way to feed them the nuts. Rats love to chew and gnaw on things, and the shell of a nut is an excellent way for them to do so!

Do rats like nuts?

Absolutely! Rats are big fans of foods that are rich in fat and calories, and nuts definitely are. Because of that, most rats go absolutely nuts when you give them some nuts! However, while it’s great that most rats are nut-lovers, this can also pose a problem. You might be tempted to feed your rat too many nuts if you see how much they enjoy them. Hold firm, and do not overfeed them, no matter how much they like this particular food. If you do overfeed them, they will gain weight rapidly and you will negate all the health benefits that this delicious food has to offer to your rat.

There are also some rats that for some reason do not like nuts. If that’s the case, there’s no need to worry. You can simply substitute nuts for some other treat.

Alternative treats:

  1. Fish (another great source of omega-3s)
  2. Spinach
  3. Raisins
  4. Peas
  5. Cucumber

For more ideas, check out my rat nutrition guide. It gives you an in-depth overview of all the foods that are safe and not safe for rats to eat. Also, it’ll tell you more about the ideal rat diet.

ThePetFaq Team