Can rats have watermelon?
While many people view rats as pests, others keep them as pets and don’t want to feed them anything that will hurt them. The good news is that they love watermelon, and it’s good for them too!
But how does watermelon fit into their overall diet, and how often should you give it to them? We break down everything that you need to know here.
Watermelons are okay, but just the right amount
Humans love watermelons. Especially on those hot summer days. And believe it or not, our furry little friends share our taste for melons. Pet rats are known to adore watermelons. Not only do they taste good, but they’re also rich in minerals & water.
And while it’s okay to give a bite or two of watermelons to your pet rat now and then, you should be careful not to overindulge them. Your rats will eat all the watermelon that you give them. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be good for them.
Hence, it isn’t a good idea to give too much watermelon to your pet rat. He/she will beg for more, and you will feel the urge to cave in to that adorable little face.
However, you need to be the responsible owner here and set limitations on your rat’s behalf. A small slice or two as an occasional treat will not harm them and could be beneficial. Just don’t go around splitting a watermelon halfway with your pet rats.
Which part of the melon is safe to eat?
A watermelon typically consists of three different parts. The red flesh is the part that we love and enjoy. The black seeds in the middle are typically avoided, whereas the thick greenish parts forming the crust of the watermelon are called the rind. So, which of these parts are okay to give your pet rats?
The flesh is naturally good to go. As we mentioned in the previous section, as long as it’s shared in moderation, the flesh is okay for your pet rat and is what he/she will enjoy the most.
The seeds may strike you as something that should be avoided. Apple seeds, for instance, are infamously toxic to animals, especially small ones like rats. But watermelon seeds are safe, and you don’t necessarily have to remove them from the flesh of the melon when handing a slice over to your rat.
The same is true for the outer rings of the watermelon. Unlike other fruits, the outer surface of the watermelon is safe to eat for your furry little friends. Don’t be surprised if they seem to enjoy the chewy texture of it more than the flesh.
Benefits of Watermelon for Rats
For starters, rats love watermelon. Watermelon is sweet, and there’s little doubt that rats have a sweet tooth. But considering that rats eat just about everything, the simple fact that they’ll eat it doesn’t mean much.
But watermelon is a good choice for rats. For starters, it’s a low-calorie option with vitamins A and C and plenty of potassium. All these nutrients promote a healthy digestive and immune system, making watermelons a great snack choice.
Fruits to Avoid Feeding Rats
While you might think that any fruit is a good choice for your pet rat, that’s simply not the case. Fruits that you should avoid include:
There’s debate about whether mango, citrus fruits, and papaya are bad for your rat, as there have been a few studies that link these fruits to various cancers in rats. We recommend playing it safe and avoiding these foods entirely.
Apple seeds contain arsenic. While the tiny amount of arsenic in apple seeds isn’t harmful to humans, it can be fatal in the much smaller rat.
Finally, green bananas are difficult for your rat to digest, which can lead to various stomach ailments and overall illnesses.
Other Foods to Avoid
Just because your rat will eat everything that you put in front of them doesn’t mean they should eat everything. The following foods can all have detrimental effects on your rat that range from digestion problems to death.
If you feed your rat a cube of blue cheese, it’s a death sentence. The mold that’s in blue cheese is toxic for rats.
Between the high sugar content and the caffeine in chocolate, there’s no reason to give your rat any. They’ll enjoy the taste, but that moment of enjoyment isn’t worth the long-term health complications that it can cause.
Green Potato Skins and Eyes
Both the green skin and eyes of potatoes contain a toxin that can kill your rats. Regular potatoes are fine, but it might still be a good idea to avoid them entirely, so you don’t accidentally make a mistake.
Licorice is a toxic food for your rat. While feeding licorice to your rat isn’t a common idea anyway, make sure they don’t get the opportunity to chow down on this treat.
Just because they’re a rat doesn’t mean they should act as your garbage disposal system. You can get sick if you eat moldy food, and so can your rat. Only give them fresh fruits and vegetables, not the leftovers that you couldn’t eat.