0800 234 3140Call 24h - Nationwide Pest Control
  • Nationwide Service
  • Qualified Technicians
  • Commercial & Domestic
  • Rapid Call Out
  • Preventative Visits
  • Free Quotes & Advice

What do rats eat?

Black RatWhen they’re very hungry, rats will pretty much eat anything they can get their paws on.

The rat who isn’t facing starvation does have culinary preferences, however. And some foods can be dangerous, and even deadly, to rats.

What do rats like to eat?

Rats are omnivores which means they can eat meat and vegetables alike. Unlike many mammals, rats do need some animal protein, fats and carbohydrates in their diets.

Rats are also opportunistic eaters which means they will consume whatever is available. However, they do have favourite foods.

Little Brown Rat On White Background. Pest ControlWhat do wild rats eat?

In the wild, rats tend to eat:

  • fruit
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • vegetables

When such foodstuffs are in scarce supply, the wild rat will eat what they can, which means they sometimes suffer nutritional problems and go hungry.

Rats don’t hunt for meat but they will scavenge it and consume carcasses they can find as well as dead or dying small birds (and their eggs), young rabbits and fish.

In urban environments, rats will rifle through rubbish to find a meal and eat scraps of meat, human food and pet food.

When making their home in a garden, rats will chomp through compost heaps and cultivated fruit and vegetables.

Do rats eat their own faeces and dog poo?

Rats will eat their own faeces – up to 40% – as a source of nutrition and the gut flora required to maintain a healthy digestive system. This is known as coprophagy and is because rats do not fully absorb the nutrients from the food they eat.

Some scientists and pet control experts believe that rats will happily feed on dog poo. However, the poop jury remains out and others suggest the average rat would prefer to consume most other foodstuffs well before they sniff out dog faeces, that even includes their own young.

What foods are harmful to rats?

Blue cheese on a white background.Despite their tendency to eat whatever they can get hold of, wild rats are cautious and when they can will stick to food they know is safe.

  • Blue cheese is known to be toxic to rats as is liquorice and poppy seeds.
  • Citrus fruits are harmful to male rats, triggering kidney problems, but not females.
  • Green bananas, raw artichokes, rhubarb, spinach, onions and peanuts can cause digestive problems in rats.

Rats do not have a gag reflex, so if they do consume something poisonous, the game may well be up.

What do rats like to eat to catch them?

Obviously, food is essential for rats to stay alive. Depriving a rat population of a nutrition source is one way to minimise their prevalence. This isn’t always possible of course but keeping fresh food and discarded food secure will deter rats.

And if you do have a rat problem, and want to get rid of them, baiting traps with their favourite foods is a good way to control rodent populations.

If you have, or suspect you have a rat problem, give Pest.co.uk a call on 0800 234 3140 (all quotes are free, and we cover the whole of the UK)

Read more FAQ

Talk to us about Pest Control

Call us on 0800 234 3140 - or complete our Free Quote Form below.

Learn about our Pest Control Services

Free Quote

Get your Free Quote for Air Conditioning Installation, Service or Repair

  • Commercial or Domestic
  • Lines open 24 hours a day 7 days a week
  • Nationwide Pest Control
  • Technicians work 24 hours a day
  • Help & Advice on 0800 234 3140