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What Do Rats Eat

Rats are small to medium sized animals that are part of the rodent family. They live almost everywhere in the world. There are 2 species of rat that are part of the genus Rattus but many other animals also bare the name “rat”. These 2 species are the black rat (Rattus rattus) and the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus). They are larger than mice and can be black, brown, white or a mixture of these colors. Male rats are called bucks and female rats are called does or dams depending on whether they have had babies. Baby rats are known as kittens or pups. A group of rats in called a pack or a mischief.

What Do Rats Eat In The Wild?
Rats are omnivores and will in most cases eat just about anything. They are scavengers and will often collect and horde any food substances that they find. While rats have been known to eat things such as kitchen scraps, soap, feces, milk and candy they prefer to eat grain, livestock feed and meats. A rat can eat one third of its own body weight in a day. They also need to have 1 to 2 ounces of water every day for survival. While both black and brown rats have a very similar diet there are some differences. Brown rats are more partial to meats and fresh grain and show favoritism towards foods such as eggs, pasta, cheese and corn. Black rats on the other hand prefer to eat fresh vegetables, fruits and grains and avoid eating meat unless necessary.

What Do Rats Eat In Captivity?
When kept as pets or in wildlife facilities rats are given a more balanced diet. They are often fed “lab blocks” which contain the grains, mineral and vitamins necessary to keep them healthy. This is supplemented with a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. Only small amounts of these are given as they can cause the rat digestion issues. Rat mix should not contain seeds or nuts as this causes the rat skin irritation. Rats kept as pets are also often given treats such as yogurt, peanut butter, cookies and doughnuts but these should only be given sparingly or they could contribute to poor health.

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