Rats and mice are very adorable little pets that we love sharing our lives with. Their little hands are super cute when they pick up yummy food and start nibblng away. Have you ever stopped to wonder if we can lengthen our friend’s lives with some foods, and shorten it with others? Because we certainly can!
Our rodent friends are omnivorous. This means they eat both vegetables as well as meat. Their diet should effectively model the human food pyramid.
They should mostly eat carbohydrates, vegetables, fruit, meat, nuts and low-fat dairy products. Unfortunately, many pre-mix diets sold in pet shops are too high in fat for our friends to eat and be healthy. Luckily for us these days there are good quality pelleted foods available that meet nutritional needs. We recommend offering pellets as 20% of the diet, and fresh foods as the remaining 20%. Check out our Rats and Mice page for more information on diet.
The quality of the food going into such a small body is also very important. For optimal health, always choose high quality food items, and buy organic food to protect your friend from preservatives and pesticides. Obesity is a large problem in our rodent friends, and can shorten their lifespan. Maintaining a healthy weight helps them to lead a long and healthy life.
- Carbohydrates – 80% of the diet should be provided as high quality pellets, which contain adequate levels of carbohydrates and nutrients present. Brown rice, wholemeal pasta and oats can be offered as extra treats occasionally.
- Vegetables – broccoli, broccolini, bok choy, capsicum, corn, zucchini, cucumber, herbs, beans, snow peas, peas, carrots, beetroot and celery
- Fruit – apple, banana, melons, citrus, tomato, stone fruits, pears
- Dairy – low fat yoghurt and cheese
- Protein – Meats can be offered in small amounts but particular attention needs to be paid to food hygiene, other protein sources include insects, unsalted, raw nuts, flax seeds, beans, lentils, chickpeas, butter beans and kidney beans
- Treats – nuts, seeds, fruits and low-fat dairy products
Avoid treats high in fat and sugar such as fast foods, ice cream and lollies.
TOXIC foods to always avoid:
Food can also be great for enriching the lives of our rodent friends! Hiding food around their enclosures, in lots of different places can give them many things to explore and do each day! Taking time to train your little rat or mouse friend to do this can be a rewarding way to increase your bond with them while keeping their brains occupied!