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Home » Blog » What Do Rats Eat?

What Do Rats Eat?

What Do Rats Eat

Ah, rats – those furry companions of alleyways and urban corners. But there's more to these whiskered wanderers than meets the eye. Beyond their reputation as city-dwelling critters, rats are intriguing members of the animal kingdom, belonging to the rodent kingdom, the family Muridae and the genus Rattus. The commonly encountered brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) and its sleek cousin, the black rat (Rattus rattus), are part of this diverse family, as you see, at Critter Stop we love to study everything about our rodent friends. 

Rats, often unfairly cast in a negative light, are surprisingly intelligent and social beings. Their adaptability to various environments and their complex behaviors make them fascinating subjects for exploration. Let's peel back the layers and delve into the essence of what defines these omnivorous creatures.

What Do Rats Eat?

Embark on this culinary journey through a rat's stomach preferences, where we explore what makes their taste buds tingle and how we can implement effective pest control measures, catch rats, and address rodent infestations. As rat removal experts, we had to learn a lot about the habits of these animals. Rats are omnivores, which means they like to eat quite a variety of foods. Rats like to eat most things but what foods attract mice?

Plant Matter

Grains: Rats tend to have a penchant for grains, making them avid fans of items like rice, oats, and wheat. These little food enthusiasts can turn a humble grain into a delightful feast.

Fruits and Vegetables: From the sweetness of fruits to the crunch of vegetables, rats enjoy a colorful palette. Apples, carrots, and leafy greens often find their way into a rat's gastronomic adventures.


Insects: If you thought rats and other foods that mice eat shy away from the protein-packed world of insects, think again. Bugs of various sizes are a delectable treat for these omnivorous adventurers.

Small Birds and Mammals: Rats, the opportunistic diners, may include small birds and mammals in their diet. A gourmet selection for the rodent connoisseur.


Cheese: The love affair between rats peanut butter and cheese is no secret. From cheddar to mozzarella, rats savor the richness of dairy delights.

Yogurt: Rats also find sugar and joy in the creamy goodness of yogurt. A dollop of sugar on this dairy goodness adds variety to their diet.

Nuts and Seeds

Rats and mice have a penchant for nuts fruit and seeds, relishing the taste and crunchiness. Whether it's sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or almonds fruit, these little creatures appreciate the nutty goodness.

Grains and Cereals

In addition to basic grains like rice and oats, rats and mice also enjoy a variety of grains and cereals. They might munch on cereals like bran flakes or whole grain bread, adding diversity to their diet.

White Rat Eating
Rats have quite a diverse diet.

Leftovers and Scraps

Rats are known for their adaptability and may scavenge for various food and water sources, sourcing from leftovers and kitchen scraps. While they have preferences for certain foods, they can make use of a wide range of human food discards, turning them into a buffet of sorts for wild animals.

Bark and Plant Material

In the wild, rats may nibble on fruit, bark and various plant materials. While this might not be as common for pet rats to consume, it's a reminder of their natural, omnivorous diet.


Rats are known to enjoy eggs, whether cooked or raw. The main content of eggs is protein, wich provides small animals and rodents with a good source of energy, and rats may relish the opportunity to feast on this versatile food.

Dog and Cat Food

Rats may also consume dog or cat food, especially if it's accessible to them finding food elsewhere. However, it's essential to make sure to note that such foods should not be a primary diet for rats, as they have specific nutritional needs that may not be fully met by pet food.

It's important to ensure that pet rats receive a balanced and nutritious diet to maintain their health body weight, and well-being. Providing a variety of foods from different categories allows them to enjoy a well-rounded and satisfying diet.

How Much Do Rats Eat?

Rats, with their small yet intricate dietary habits, exhibit fascinating patterns in the size and frequency of their meals. When we have provided our rat removal services in Dallas-Fort Worth, we have found that rats typically eat about 15-25 grams (around ½ to 1 ounce) of food per day. Delve into the intricacies of their appetites as we explore the factors influencing the size of a rat's meal and the intriguing dynamics of their eating frequency.

Size of Meal

Ever wondered about the appetite of these tiny gourmands? The size of a rat's meal can be influenced by various factors besides other food, including:

  • Age and Size: Young rats and smaller breeds generally eat less than their larger counterparts. As they grow and get fat, their appetite tends to increase.
  • Health Condition: Rats that are ill or recovering may have a reduced appetite. On the other hand, pregnant, or nursing females might have an increased need for food.
  • Activity Level: Active and playful rats may require more calories than less active ones. Providing enough food to match their energy expenditure is crucial for their well-being.
  • Diet Composition: The type of food provided can impact the size of a rat's meal. High-quality, nutrient-dense foods might satisfy their hunger more effectively.
  • Environmental Factors: The rat's living conditions and the availability of food can also play a role. Rats with constant access to food may eat smaller amounts more frequently.

Frequency of Eating

Do rats adhere to a strict dining schedule, really like to eat or are they more inclined towards spontaneous snacking? Understanding the eating habits of these culinary adventurers involves considering:

  • Natural Instincts: Rats are known for their nibbling behavior. In the wild, they forage for food throughout the day and night, leading to frequent but smaller meals.
  • Domestic Routine: Pet rats might adapt to the feeding schedule established by their owners. However, they may still prefer to eat smaller portions multiple times a day.
  • Availability of Food: If food is consistently available, rats might engage in more frequent snacking. This behavior is reflective of their opportunistic and adaptive nature.
  • Social Dynamics: In a group of rats, social interactions can influence eating patterns. Dominant rats might control access to food, affecting how often others can eat.

Understanding the nuanced relationship between the size and frequency of meals is essential for providing optimal care and nutrition for pet rats. Adjusting their diet based on individual needs and observing their behavior can help maintain their health and happiness.

Do Rats Need Variety in Their Diet?

Rats, much like humans, benefit from a diverse and dynamic diet. Let's delve into the importance of variety attracts rats in their food choices and the potential issues associated with a monotonous culinary routine.

Benefits of Variety

Just like us, rats thrive on variety. Discover the advantages that come with a diverse and dynamic diet for our rodent friends. Here are some key benefits:

  • Nutritional Balance: Different foods offer a variety of nutrients. A diverse diet helps ensure that rats receive all the essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients they need for optimal health.
  • Psychological Stimulation: Introducing new flavors and textures provides mental stimulation for rats. It keeps them engaged and prevents boredom, contributing to their overall well-being.
  • Prevents Selective Eating: Rats, like many animals, might become selective eaters if presented with the same food repeatedly. Offering a variety reduces the likelihood of selective eating and encourages a well-rounded diet.
  • Digestive Health: Various foods can contribute to a healthy digestive system. For example, the fiber in vegetables supports proper digestion, and a mix of textures promotes dental health.
  • Preference Variability: Rats may have individual taste preferences. Providing variety accommodates these preferences, ensuring that each rat has the opportunity to enjoy a satisfying meal.
Rat Eating
Rats tend to be curious when it comes to food.

Potential Problems of Eating the Same Foods

Is there a downside to monotony in a rat's diet? Let's explore the potential pitfalls of sticking to the same culinary routine:

  • Nutrient Deficiency: Rats may miss out on essential nutrients if their diet lacks variety. This can lead to health issues over time.
  • Boredom and Stress: Eating the same foods repetitively can lead to boredom and stress for rats. This may manifest in behavioral issues and a decline in overall well-being.
  • Selective Eating: Rats might become picky eaters if exposed to a limited range of foods. This can make it challenging to provide a balanced diet.
  • Digestive Issues: A diet lacking in diversity may contribute to digestive problems. For instance, a diet too high in certain grains might lead to digestive imbalances.
  • Reduced Lifespan and Reproductive Issues: In extreme cases of nutrient deficiency, rats may experience a shortened lifespan and reproductive problems.

Providing a varied diet is a key component of responsible rat care. It not only promotes their physical health but also contributes to their mental well-being. Observing individual preferences and adjusting their diet accordingly ensures that pet rats lead happy and healthy lives.

Rat Culinary Inquiries

Q1: What's on the Wild Menu for Rats, and Does Urban Living Change Their Tastes?
A: In the wild, rats enjoy a buffet of grains, fruits, veggies, and proteins like insects. In cities where humans eat more, they adapt, munching on human food and garbage scraps.

Q2: What Tempts Rats in Your Home Pantry, and How to Keep Them Away?
A: Rats are culinary adventurers, nibbling on grains, cereals, plants and even pet food. Foil their plans by sealing food, and plants, closing entry points, electronic traps, and maintaining cleanliness.

Q3: What's the Attic Delight for Rats, and Why Do They Find It So Irresistible?
A: Attic-loving rats love to feast on stored items, insulation, and wiring. Seal entries, declutter, and remove attractions to make your attic less gourmet.

Q4: What’s on the Garden Menu for Rats, and How Can You Safeguard Your Harvest?
A: Rats may fancy veggies, fruits, and seeds. Protect your garden banquet with raised beds, secure fencing, and a tidy space to discourage rodent foraging.

Q5: What Vegetables Tickles a Rat’s Palate, and Any Veggies on Their 'Do Not Eat' List?
A: Rats love to eat pretty savor various veggies, and meat, but some strong-smelling ones might not make the cut. Offer a balanced diet, avoiding high-risk foods like onions and garlic.

Q6: What do rats eat in your house?
A: In your house, rats typically eat a variety of things. They are attracted to food scraps, especially grains, fruits, and proteins. Rats also chew on non-food items like wires, wood, and cloth. They often forage in garbage bins, pantries, and anywhere they can find accessible food sources.

Q7: What do rats eat in attic?
A: In attics, rats often feed on stored food items, such as grains, seeds, or pet food. They might also chew on insulation, paper, or wood, not for food, but to create nesting materials. Rats can also gnaw on electrical wires, posing a fire risk. They may venture outside the attic to forage for food and then return for shelter.

Q8: What do rats eat in the garden?
A: In the garden, rats typically eat a variety of plants, sweet fruits, and vegetables, such as tomatoes, corn, and berries. They are also known to consume seeds, beans, nuts, and tree bark. In addition, they might eat insects or small garden pests. Rats can also dig up and eat bulbs and root vegetables like carrots and potato. Rats basically will love all the food available in your yard, using it like an open feeder for rodents.

Q9: What vegetables do rats eat?
A: Rats are not picky eaters and will consume a wide range of vegetables. They particularly enjoy eating leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and beets, as well as broccoli, peas, and corn. They are also fond of fruits and can often be found eating tomatoes, which they particularly favor.

Black rat
Yeah, it's not a Hollywood lie, rats really love Cheese. 

Interesting Facts About Rats

Super Smellers:

Rats and mice have an exceptional sense of smell, making them adept at sniffing out food and potential dangers. Their olfactory abilities contribute to their survival instincts and foraging skills.

Social Creatures:

Rats are highly social animals and thrive in the company of fellow other rats like themselves. Loneliness can adversely affect their well-being. Establishing a bond with their human caretakers is also crucial for their mental health.

Constant Chewers:

Rats have teeth that grow continuously. Chewing on food and objects helps keep their teeth at a healthy length. Providing items to gnaw on, such as wooden blocks or cardboard, is essential for dental care.

Night Owls:

Rats are nocturnal, meaning they are most active during the night. If you hear sounds in the walls at night, it might just be a rat on a midnight snack mission. This behavior is an adaptation to avoid predators and thrive in their natural environment.

Highly Intelligent:

Rats are known for their intelligence. They can learn tricks, solve puzzles, and even understand their names. This cognitive ability makes them fascinating and interactive pets.

Fast Learners:

Rats are quick learners. They can be trained to respond to commands and perform various tasks. This trait, combined with their intelligence, makes them trainable and enjoyable companions.

Efficient Groomers:

Rats are meticulous groomers. They spend a significant amount of time cleaning themselves and their fellow rats, demonstrating a strong sense of hygiene within their social groups.

Adaptable to Environments:

Rats are highly adaptable. They can thrive in a variety of environments, from urban areas to agricultural settings. This adaptability has contributed to their widespread distribution across the globe.

Excellent Climbers:

Rats are skilled climbers. Their strong limbs and flexible bodies allow them to navigate various terrains, making most animals that eat them adept at reaching food sources and finding secure shelter.

Short Gestation Period:

Rats have a short gestation period. Female rats typically have a gestation period of about 21 to 23 days, contributing to their ability to reproduce rapidly.

Understanding these intriguing aspects of rat behavior and physiology enhances our appreciation for these intelligent and adaptable creatures. Providing an enriched environment that caters to their social, mental, and physical needs is essential for the well-being of pet rats.

Effective Pest Control Measures

While understanding the culinary inclinations of rats is intriguing, the presence of these resourceful rodents may pose challenges, especially when it comes to pest control. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to get rid of rats or manage a potential rodent infestation, implementing effective pest control measures is paramount.


As we wrap up our exploration, let's summarize the culinary journey of rats, from grains to gourmet treats. Rats, being omnivores, thrive on a varied diet that includes grains, fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, nuts, and seeds.

Their culinary preferences encompass a broad spectrum, showcasing their adaptability and opportunistic nature. By understanding their dietary needs, we can provide pet rats with nutritionally balanced and enjoyable meals.

Importance of Variety in Diet

Understanding the significance of offering a diverse menu is key to ensuring the health and happiness of our rodent companions. Variety isn't just the spice of life; it's the essence of a rat's well-balanced diet.

A diverse array of foods not only provides essential nutrients but also stimulates their senses, prevents boredom, and contributes to their overall well-being. Just as a varied diet is crucial, so is recognizing the individuality of each rat's preferences.

Cheers to happy and healthy dining for our furry friends! May their meals be as delightful and diverse as their personalities.

If you start feeling your house is becoming day by day in a rat restaurant, please call us! When these rodents find a secure and good source of food, they can stay forever there. At Critter Stop we are your best option to deal with this problem, we have provided hundreds of rat extermination services, so we are professionals in what we do. Call us now at (214) 234-2616 and start solving this problem today!

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Lee Gorman
Lee Gorman
13:50 21 Nov 22
I’d give a 10 star review if I could! We had a great experience with Critter Stop. Everyone I dealt was friendly, professional, and reassuring. Phillip was very helpful and knowledgeable about the work he was doing. He walked me around the entire house to make sure I saw and understood the services he provided. He was also really nice and answered all my questions — he is exactly the type of person that should be interacting with customers.I love the fact that they will come back for up to 1 year after installation if any problems occur — this shows me they stand behind their work.The owner was great too, he personally came to my house and walked me through their offering. I recommend critter stop to anyone and everyone!
Susan Casey
Susan Casey
14:53 15 Nov 22
Critter Stop is a fantastic business! Everyone involved is extremely professional and very easy to communicate with. Chisam, the owner, did a great job of explaining the process to get the squirrels out of my attic during the initial free estimate. The exclusion crew who did all of the initial work was fabulous. The crew consisted of Phillip, Nick and Corey who arrived promptly when they said they would. They are happy, positive employees. Everyone is very polite and patient in explaining their work and answering questions. They came back several times to check the traps and finish it off with the fogging. Lester was very good about following up to schedule each trap check with me, and the office staff who took care of the billing was very efficient. Critter Stop is a well run company with honest, trustworthy employees! Thank you to all of you who worked hard to make my attic critter free and for the peace of mind that you guarantee your work. Great to know I can call them if for some reason a squirrel figures out a way to get back in!
Karen Eckholdt
Karen Eckholdt
14:54 22 Sep 22
Critter Stop has made this project easy and extremely professional from start to finish! They are very detailed and competent from start to finish and know so much about their business. They made a problem easy for us and at a reasonable cost. We would be happy to recommend this company and their owners and staff to anyone.
Aaron Echols
Aaron Echols
13:51 03 Aug 22
The guys at Critter Stop responded quickly, were very friendly, and gave us an honest estimate of what we might need. They explained why some items on other quotes were or were not necessary. They communicated well to get us scheduled, and did the work well and quickly. Great service at a fair and competitive price.
Jacob Scribner
Jacob Scribner
19:23 27 Jul 22
Brandon and his other coworker Gavin came to install insulation in my attic. I am very grateful for the hard work and professionalism. My house feels a lot better with the insulation installed. 5 star review. Cory Leach was also very nice and helpful. He came to my house to do another job and was very attentive and professional. Thank you Corey and thank you Critter Stop for helping me.The owner very polite and helpful, I’m glad I found this company to help me.
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