Can Rats Eat Potatoes? [Or French Fries & Chips?]

Can rats eat potatoes? One of the reasons why rats are such successful creatures in nature is because of the large range of foods they can eat and digest. They’re omnivorous, meaning they can eat both meat and plant-based foods. There’s hardly anything these rodents won’t eat if they can get their tiny paws on it!

But just because rats are such generalist eaters doesn’t mean that you can just feed them anything you want. It’s always critical to do research first to find out if the food you’re about to give them is good for them. Today it’s going to be all about rats & potatoes. I’ll go over everything you need to know to finally answer the question: can rats eat potatoes?

The quick answer is this: Yes, rats can eat potatoes and they’re quite healthy for them. They’re low in fat and high in minerals and vitamins. Regular potatoes can be fed raw, but sweet potatoes must be cooked in order to be safe for them to eat.

Is anything in potatoes bad for rats?

If there’s one thing rats and potatoes have in common is that they’re both extremely common. Rats are the most common rodents and potatoes are among the most common vegetables. Potatoes are root vegetables that are grown all over the world. They’re a staple in most people’s diet and since they’re so common in most households it happens quite often that people will want to give some of it to their pet rat.

Potatoes are root vegetables that are native to the Americas. They’re a large part of people’s diet and are used in many different kinds of foods. Let’s take a look at what exactly is in these root vegetables so we can decide if it’s safe for our little rat friends to eat.

100 grams of potatoes contains the following nutrients

  • 87 calories
  • 77% water
  • 1.9 grams of protein
  • 20.1 grams of carbs
  • 0.9 grams of sugar
  • 1.8 grams of fiber
  • 0.1 grams of fat

As you can see, they’re very high in carbs while being very low in fat. This is good news because rats only need a very small amount of fat in their diet (source).

Potatoes are also rich in potassium, which is beneficial for the heart, and vitamin C which is good for their immune system.

Overall, there’s nothing in them that’s harmful to rats and a lot of things that are good for them!

Risks

There are a few things you have to keep in mind before you give potatoes to your rat. The first thing is that you shouldn’t give them potatoes that have turned green. Potatoes that have turned green contain solanine which is one of the plant’s natural defense mechanisms. Solanine can cause digestive issues, which is naturally something you’ll want to avoid.

Secondly, you should not feed your rat the “eyes” of the potato. These are the little sprouts from which new potatoes can grow.

Rats & Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are very nutritious, but there’s something you need to know before you feed it to your rat.

Sweet potatoes are different from regular ones. They can NOT be fed raw to rats because they contain substances that are toxic to rats. It’s especially important that you do not feed these to rats because they do not have a gag reflex. This means that they can not vomit to expel harmful foods from their stomach (source).

Luckily, when you cook them these dangers are no longer present and they become safe to eat for rats.

Cooked or raw potatoes for rats?

Now that you know that potatoes are pretty good for rats to eat you might be curious how to best serve it to them. They can eat them either raw or cooked. However, you should know that if you cook or boil them they will lose out on some of their vitamin C.

If you want to maximize the nutrition your rat gets from the potato it’s best to serve it to him raw.

As I’ve said, if you’re planning on feeding sweet potatoes to your rat, make absolutely sure they’re cooked first.

Should you remove the peel of the potato?

Since potatoes are best served raw to rats you’ll want to know if you should remove the peel. I would recommend you to skin them. The reason why I suggest you do this is because of pesticides used in the commercial farming of potatoes. If you remove the skin you won’t have to worry about them.

The peel indeed contains most of the fiber in a potato, but the meat contains a lot of other nutrients that are good for your rat so, in my opinion, it’s worth the trade-off.

Alternatives

If your rat doesn’t seem to be interested in a particular food, don’t sweat it. Rats are not very picky eaters and can eat a lot of different things. You can substitute potatoes for many other vegetables such as:

  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Aubergine
  • Kale
  • Pineapple
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Cabbage

You can find a complete list of vegetables that rats can eat here. It will also teach you what foods are poisonous to rats, so you know what to avoid.

 

Related questions

Many foods are made from potatoes. And while rats can eat potatoes, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they can also eat every food that’s made from them. Let’s take a look at the most common ones.

Can rats eat french fries?

A small amount of french fries won’t hurt your rat. Of course, it’s not necessarily healthy for them, just like it isn’t for humans, but that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy it. A lot of rat owners feed their rat a french fry from time to time and they’re completely fine. Don’t give it to them too often or too much of and they’ll be fine.

Can rats eat mashed potatoes?

You’ve got to be careful when feeding mashed potato to your rat because it can cause choking if it gets stuck in their throat. If you want to feed mashed potatoes to your rat you should add some water to it so it’s not so sticky.

Can rats eat potato chips?

There’s a study where they fed potato chips to rats to see how it affected their brain. Since they fed the potato chips to the rats it means that they can eat chips. However, just like with french fries it’s not the healthiest food for them because of the salt and fat. If you’re giving chips to your rat only give them a very small amount of it.

Can rats eat tater tots/hash browns?

Tater Tots and Hash browns are both safe to eat for rats. They’re not healthy by any means because they contain a large amount of fat and calories, but giving them to your rat on a special occasion is not a big deal and won’t harm them.

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