Can rats eat tomatoes, or are they best avoided? Good nutrition is one of the most important aspects to learn more about if you want your pet rat to thrive and be happy. After all, good health starts with a good diet, and rats can not be happy if they’re not healthy.
It’s true, rats can eat almost anything. However, not everything is equally good for them to eat. Some foods that you’d think would be fine for your rat to eat can actually cause huge problems. Knowing which foods to avoid is therefore very important.
So, where do tomatoes fall into all of this? Are they a safe snack to give to your rat, or can they cause issues? To answer this question, I’m going to go over everything you need to know about feeding this delicious fruit (yes, it’s a fruit, not a vegetable) to your rat.
If you need a quick answer, here it is: Rats can definitely eat tomatoes. They’re a refreshing and healthy treat for them to consume. Cherry tomatoes are a great choice due to their small size. However, you should always make sure to properly wash the fruit before giving it to your rat to remove any pesticides that might be present on the skin.
Can rats safely eat tomatoes?
Many people believe that tomatoes are a vegetable, but they are in fact a fruit, even though culinarily they’re often treated as a vegetable. To avoid confusion, I’m going to refer to tomatoes as fruits from now on.
Luckily, there’s nothing in this fruit that’s dangerous to our furry friend’s health. In fact, it’s the opposite. They are quite rich in several key nutrients that your pet rat can benefit from. Let’s take a closer look.
The first thing I always like to take a look at is what exactly is in a particular food item. That way, we can determine if it might be too high in sugar, fats, or other things that rats should not have too much of. With that being said, a small tomato of about 100 grams contains the following:
- 95% water
- 18 calories
- 0.9 grams of protein
- 3.9 grams of carbs
- 2.6 grams of sugar
- 1.2 grams of fiber
- 0.2 grams of fat
Okay, so now we know what’s in a tomato and we can see that it’s low in fat, sugar, and calories, which is excellent news. Also, it’s a good source of fiber which will help your rat’s digestion.
One thing to note though is that it’s quite high in water, which means that we should be careful not to overfeed our rat on it. Rats are known to get diarrhea if you give them too much food that has high water content.
But that’s not all, these fruits of course also contain micronutrients (vitamins & minerals).
These fruits are a great source of Vitamin C. Rats are capable of metabolizing this vitamin on their own, but they do benefit strongly from getting more of it in their diet. This vitamin functions as an antioxidant, meaning it helps to prevent damage to the cells by free radicals.
Vitamin K is also present in this fruit. Vitamin K is great for helping your rat’s blood clot properly.
Tomatoes are also a good source of the mineral potassium. Potassium is an electrolyte that helps their nervous system work normally, regulate fluid, and regulate muscle contractions.
So, now we know that our rats can safely eat tomatoes and they’re actually beneficial for them to eat. That’s all well and good, but there are some precautions that you need to take before feeding.
First off, make sure that you properly wash the fruit before feeding. This has to be done in order to remove pesticides. Soaking the fruit in a mixture of baking soda and water is recommended to remove pesticides, but if you do not have baking soda, just washing it with cold water will also suffice.
Secondly, make sure that you do not overfeed. I’ve briefly touched on this before, but tomatoes are quite high in water. If you give them too much of it, they can get diarrhea. If this is the first time your rat is eating it, keep an eye on them to make sure everything goes down well.
What about the seeds?
The seeds are fine to leave inside the fruit. They’re too small to be much of a danger, and unlike other seeds, they do not contain toxic compounds such as cyanide. There’s no need to painstakingly remove all the seeds one by one. Your rat won’t care.
How many tomatoes can my rat eat?
Rats are small creatures, so they shouldn’t eat that much of any particular fruit or vegetable. A good rule of thumb is that their diet should be made up of 80% commercial pellets and 20% fresh fruits and vegetables.
Make sure that you give them a diverse range of fruits and veggies. That way, they will benefit the most from all the different nutrients the different kinds of fruits and veggies have to offer.
On the whole, I suggest that if you’re going to give tomato to your rat, you give him only a small amount. About a quarter of a slice should be plenty. It might be easier to go with cherry tomatoes since they’re smaller. If you have those, you can simply cut them in half and give them half of it.
Do rats like tomatoes?
In the wild, rats often eat this fruit and absolutely love them. In captivity, the same applies. Most rats will gladly eat a piece of tomato if you give it to them. If they’ve never had it, they might be a little bit hesitant at first. This is because rats do not have a gag reflex so they have to be careful with what they eat. Once they warm up to it, it’s very likely that your rat will be a big fan of this red, juicy fruit.
Nevertheless, it’s also a possibility that your rat will not want to eat it. Rats have their own unique tastes and what one loves, the other might not care for at all. If your rat doesn’t seem to be interested in eating this particular food, don’t stress about it.
They can eat so many different kinds of food that it’s not worth worrying about making them eat a particular food. Instead, try feeding them some other fruits and veggies to see what they do like.
Can rats eat tomato sauce?
Whether or not rats can eat tomato sauce depends on the ingredients. If it’s store-bought, it can be very high in salt, sugar, and preservatives. This is not good for your rat to eat and should be avoided.
However, if it’s homemade without salt, sugar, and other additives it’s fine for your rat to have. After all, in that case, it’s simply tomatoes that are mushed together into a sauce.
Alternative fruits and veggies you can give your rat
If your rat doesn’t like tomatoes, you might wonder what you can give him instead. Luckily, there are many, many, different options available. To help you get started, I’ll give you a quick list of ideas.
For a complete overview of what foods are harmful to your rat, I recommend that you check out my rat nutrition guide. It’s a long article, but it goes over all the most popular foods that your rat can, and can not eat. On top of that, it gives you some suggestions for the ideal diet.
I hope you found this guide useful and that it answered all your questions. If you’re still hungry for more and feel like I’ve missed something, do not hesitate to leave a comment with your question