My rats have rat food and raw veg. etc, however, are there any foods that I would throw away that would be good for rats? Waste-not-want-not, as my Nan used to say!


  • Citrus peel or seeds
  • Meat bones
  • Stale bread
  • Tea
  • Meat fat

Or organic, non-food stuff?

  • Plant leaves
  • Bark & Twig
  • Berries

2 Answers 2


Rats can eat most things. Read this Rat diet, especially the forbidden foods section.

Citrus peel or seeds - Peel never. Seeds definitely not for male rats, can cause cancer. As a side note, never feed apple pips, they contain small amounts of cyanide.

Meat bones - a big fat yes, they'll love you for it

Stale bread - yes, but not mouldy

Tea - mine steal tea all the time, though make sure it isn't too sugary or milky. Meat fat - waaay too fatty for them, though they will gladly eat it.

Plant leaves - I wouldn't recommend it, they'd be more likely to build a nest from them. Bark & Twig - yes, but only if properly cleaned and driedas these can bring in microscopic parasites. Berries - nope, not unless they're human-safe ie blackberries etc.

  • As for the small amounts of cyanide, I read once that this is because the apple seeds attract cyanide. They also attract whatever cyanide is in your body and take it all out with the waste. While looking for a source for that tidbit, I found this article that says the cyanide is found only after the amygdalin is metabolized, which happens only in cancer cells. The result is that cancer is killed by the cyanide, but the normal cells are unaffected.
    – zondo
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 5:08

As stated in the answer above, rats are omnivores and will eat almost anything.

I'd personally stay away from foodstuffs that are going off or mouldy. If I wouldn't eat it, I wouldn't give it to my rat.

Avoid giving rats pizza. The bread in pizza tends to be quite doughy and can get stuck in their throat.

Giving rats bark and twigs isn't a good idea, especially with pine and cedar wood as they contain phenols which can be bad for your rats health.

Left overs can make a great treat for rats though. Whenever I make a salad there are always a few bits of veg left over and the rats just gobble them up.

Remember rats need a healthy balanced diet the same as humans do. So why it might be perfectly acceptable to give them a few leftover french fries, you might not want to give fatty or high calorie scraps to your rats every day.

  • (I am not a rat person) I'm surprised that pine and cedar are not recommended, because I know they are common materials for small mammals in pet stores.
    – Zaralynda
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 18:40
  • @Zaralynda see the answer 1 & answer 2 for more info on pine and cedar bedding. Many of the things sold at pet stores are not appropriate for the animals they are targeting the owners of. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 19:16
  • Additionally, anything with mould on, or anything that looks like it might start growing mould soon, is highly toxic for rats; their little bodies can't stand it, and they have no vomit mechanism to get rid of the toxins.
    – Piper
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 23:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.