What is a rat's natural diet? Despite the common thinking, rats, even though invading mostly unsanitary places, have a very sophisticated and "clean" nutritive needs. Their strong natural immune system protects them from contracting any illness, but rats choose mostly natural, fresh and nutritive food. Rats feed depending on the capacity of their environment to produce food. This means that rats might raid dumpsters, farms, sewage pipes and even households.
The types of rat most common in United States are Black Rat (more rare), and the most common Brown (Norwegian rat). Both types have similar nutritive needs, but feed accordingly to environment they live in. In general, rats are omnivores, which means they will eat almost anything. Their diet may vary depending on the location they are inhabiting.
Most rats prefer consuming meat, dairy-based products and vegetables. They tend to avoid fruit and food containing sugar. When it comes to consuming vegetables, Black rat tends to raid fields and frequently eats corn and wheat. This food is also present in the diet of the Brown rat, though this type, as being more widely spread (the species inhabits both America and Europe), doesn’t tend to have a predominant eating preference. Black rat is known for invading farmer’s estates all over the west coast of United States, hunting for birds, and often poultry. When invading households Black rats tend to damage field and kill poultry, as well as smaller farm animals. Brown rat will often hunt as well, and it is known to hunt birds, smaller animals and even fish.
In urban areas, both species of rat will most likely provide themselves with food from garbage sources, like household trash cans and dump yards. They will, however, choose fresh and good-quality food remains. They will most often opt-in to eat dairy products, vegetables, meat and wheat’s. In diet of both of these species, and rats in general, food containing sugar will cause obesity. In the wild, rats will hunt for their own food, and are capable to subdue pray a lot larger than their natural size. They will also eat any other food they can get a hold of.
However, if they are inhabited near people, they will tend to feed on remains of human food. Still, rats will choose good-quality and fresh pieces to snack. The amount of nutrients that rats need on a daily basis is considered to be larger than other animals people keep as pets, so the owners are advised not to feed their rats with cat, dog or hamster good, because it will not be as nutritive as to fulfill the needs of a rat.
What is a rat’s natural diet? (both Black Rat and Norway Rat)
If we're talking about “wild” rats - the Norway rat and Black rat, both of which can be found in the United
States, then their natural diet will consist of pretty much anything we’re dumb enough to leave out for them.
If there are scraps and leftovers in the garbage bag placed outside your home, they'll tear right into it to
get to the goodies inside. They’ll eat crumbs that you leave on the kitchen floor, and even food that you might
leave out for your family pets. In short, these rats, both species, are scavengers, and they WILL eat everything
and anything that gets in their way, meat and plant based products similarly.
Both the Black rat and the Norway rat are omnivores, eating both plant and meat foods. Neither species are particularly
fussed when it comes to food - they’ll eat everything and anything as long as it provides them with some nutritional value.
They’ll eat the foods that you turn your nose up at, and in some cases, rats have even been known to eat the fees of humans,
cats, dogs, etc. that have made their way into the sewer system. There is even some nutritional value to that when you're
Black rats, however, tend to be a bigger threat to agricultural areas than the Norway rat, preferring the plant based foods that
grow there. Fungi, leaves, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and more besides. They’ll turn to insects if they need to, and if food has
been left out for the farmyard animals - cows, chickens, pigs, etc. - they will gladly eat through that too.
The Norway rat, or the brown rat, is the one that you will commonly encounter in your home, and these are a threat all over, not just
in largely agricultural areas. In recent studies, rats have shown to have a particular preference for such tasty treats as cooked corn,
raw carrots, eggs, particularly, scrambled, and even a human favorite - mac and cheese!
For more rat information, visit our rat removal tips page
, or for more specific how-to instructions, read the how to get rid of rats
page with 6 step-by-step instructions.
If you have a problem with rats above your ceiling in your house, read my rats in the attic
guide. The most important part of rat control is sealing shut entry holes into the building, but after
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