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Pet Rats - Food and Plants to Avoid!

Foods and Plants to Avoid

As a rule, rats will eat just about anything that smells interesting. It's tempting to feed them "human food" like softdrink, chocolate, and fatty foods, but this can damage their health. Rats can't burp, so fizzy drinks should NEVER be given to them. Sticky foods such as peanut butter or lollies can cause rats to choke. Citrus fruits are thought to contribute to causing cancer in male rats, so it's probably best to avoid them.

Pet rat eating snack - part of a rat's food and diet

Rats can suffer similar health problems to humans if they are given too much fatty food, so limit fat in their diets as much as possible. Sunflower seeds, nuts, and meats are all quite high in fat. They can be given occasionally, but not too often. Also, too much fat and protein can cause skin problems. As a general rule, the bulk of a rat's diet should be 8% protein or less. High-protein foods should be given occasionally, not every day.

As the summer approaches, have you considered getting some plants for your room or for your yard? Well, not all the vegetation / plants are safe for the rats if it is consumed.  I have created a list of the plants that the rats should avoid coming in contact with, or should only be given with caution.

Some toxic plants for rats

  • Almonds (kernel in the pit contains cyanide)
  • Amaryllis bulb
  • Anthurium 
  • Apricot (kernel in the pit contains cyanide)
  • Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale) VERY POISONOUS
  • Avocado (leaves, seeds, stem, skin)
  • Azalea (entire rhododendron family)
  • Begonia
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Bittersweet
  • Bleeding heart
  • Boxwood
  • Bracken fern
  • Buckeye
  • Buttercup (Ranunculus)
  • Caffeine
  • Caladium
  • Calla lily
  • Castor bean (can be fatal if chewed)
  • Cedar
  • Cherry (kernel in the pit contains cyanide) 
  • Chinese sacred or heavenly bamboo,  contains cyanide
  • Choke cherry, unripe berries (contains cyanide)
  • Chrysanthemum (a natural source of pyrethrins)
  • Clematis
  • Crocus bulb
  • Croton (Codiaeum sp.)
  • Cyclamen bulb
  • Delphinium, larkspur, monkshood
  • Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia, causes severe mouth swelling)
  • Elderberry, unripe berries (contains cyanide)
  • English ivy (All Hedera species of ivy)
  • Fig (Ficus) General allergan, dermatitis
  • Four-o'clocks (Mirabilis)
  • Foxglove (Digitalis, can be fatal)
  • Garlic (raw or spoiled)
  • Golden pothos
  • Hyacinth bulbs
  • Hydrangea contains cyanide
  • Holly berries
  • Iris corms
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit
  • Jimson weed
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lantana (liver failure)
  • Lily (bulbs of most species)
  • Lily-of-the-valley (can be fatal)
  • Lupine species
  • Lycoris
  • Marijuana or hemp (Cannabis, can be fatal)
  • Milkweed
  • Mistletoe berries
  • Morning glory  (Seeds toxic)
  • Mountain laurel
  • Narcissus, daffodil (Narcissus) 
  • Oak (remove bark for use as a perch) 
  • Oleander, very poisonous, can be fatal
  • Onions  (raw or spoiled)
  • Peach (kernel in the pit contains cyanide)
  • Pencil cactus/plant  (Euphorbia sp.)  dermatitis
  • Philodendron (all species) 
  • Pine
  • Poinsettia (many hybrids, avoid them all)  dermatitis
  • Potato (leaves and stem)
  • Pothos (Golden)
  • Red Spider lily (Lycoris)
  • Rubber plant
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Rosary Pea (Arbus sp.) (Can be fatal if chewed)
  • Sago Palm
  • Scheffelera (umbrella plant)
  • Shamrock (Oxalis sp.)
  • Spurge (Euphorbia sp.)
  • Tomatoes (leaves and stem)
  • Tulip
  • Yew (yew product)

Forbidden food

Bleu cheese, Licorice, Raw dry beans or peanuts, raw sweet potato, raw red cabbage and brussel sprouts, raw artichokes, green bananas, green potato skin and eyes, wild insects, rhubarb, orange juice (for male rats only). Raw bean & potato & red cabbage must be cooked well before giving them.

Food that should be given with caution

Dried corn (often sold as entire cobs in pet and feed stores), cucumber, radishes, spinach, collards and turnip greens, beets, almonds, swiss chard.

Food with higher concentration of pesticides

Strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, cherries, peaches, cantaloupe grown in Mexico, celery, apples, apricots, green beans, grapes grown in Chile, and cucumbers.

The produce with the least pesticides

Avocados, corn, onions, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, grapes grown in the US, bananas, plums, watermelon, and broccoli. last updated 1 Oct, 2017


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