Cherries are tiny stone fruits that come in different colors and flavors. Cherries can be categorized into two, which are sweet cherries (Prunus avium) and sour cherries (Prunus cerasus). Cherries belong to the family Rosaceae and are closely related to other fruits such as strawberry, apples, pear, apricots, quince, plum, blackberry, loquat, almond, red raspberry, and the like. Can rats eat cherries? Is it safe for them to consume? These are the questions to consider before deciding on whether to feed your rat cherries or not. The fact that rats can consume the majority of human foods makes them one of the best pets to keep. Both humans and rats have a lot in common regarding diets so sharing meals with rats is an interesting and fun thing to do. However, there are certain distinctions between what rats and humans can consume as not all human foods are safe for rats to eat. As a result of this, it is essential to determine the safety of foods before including them in your rat’s diet.
A thoroughly cleaned cherry can be given to rats as an occasional treat and it is not harmful to them. Even though cherries contain a substantial amount of sugar, it also contains a lot of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for your rat’s overall immune system. However, cherries should be cleaned thoroughly to eliminate any pesticides and it is also important to get rid of the stone before feeding.
Can Rats Eat Cherries?
Yes, rats can eat cherries. Cherries are non-toxic for rats to eat as an occasional treat. However, cherries should not make up a significant amount of your rat's regular diet as a result of their high sugar content. Cherries should also be fed to rats in small amounts to reduce the risk of obesity. Alternatively, cherries contain several healthy nutrients and vitamins that are beneficial for rats' overall immune systems. Additionally, the cherry pits should be removed before feeding them to your rat as they contain cyanide, a strong toxin that is poisonous to rats.
Benefits of Cherries for Rats
Cherries consist of about 18% of the daily required vitamin C intake. The presence of vitamin C is necessary for the formation of collagen, a protein that gives the eyes structure. Several studies found that vitamin C may stop the development of cataracts and slow down the loss of vision. Also, the presence of vitamin A in cherries which contains beta-carotene is essential for clear vision and healthy eyes.
Reduces Inflammation in Rats
Cherries may provide several health benefits as a result of their high plant compound content. All cherries contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances, though the kind and quantity might differ depending on the variety. Cherries are particularly rich in polyphenols, a broad group of plant compounds that can help prevent cellular damage, minimize inflammation and enhance overall health.
Decreases Blood Pressure
Cherries provide several nutrients that may help decrease blood pressure, including polyphenols and potassium. Polyphenols are a kind of antioxidant that can fight against oxidative damage. An extensive observational study from 2018 found that consuming more polyphenols may decrease blood pressure.
Enhances Bone Health
Pre-clinical research has found that sour cherries are a good source of phenolic chemicals and anthocyanins, and can alleviate age-related bone loss. Cherries also contain potassium and calcium, all of which are essential for enhancing bone health.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Consuming cherries in moderation will not increase blood sugar because they contain a compound called anthocyanins. These substances enhance the production of insulin and help regulate blood sugar levels. Cherries have a very low glycemic index even though they contain a high sugar content. They've been found to regulate blood sugar for diabetic rats and can be mixed with nuts, grains, and seeds to further decrease the glycemic spike related to consuming sugar.
Boosts Heart Health
Researchers think that cherries contain a substantial number of benefits to heart health as a result of the number of anthocyanins. Studies suggest that cherries may help reduce cholesterol and triglycerides, including a decrease in inflammation and reduction of belly fat. Sweet cherries contain potassium, a mineral that is important for boosting heart health. It is required to enable a normal heartbeat and help to get rid of excess sodium, regulating blood pressure.
Improves Digestive Health
Cherries are also a source of fiber, which helps to improve digestive health by feeding good gut bacteria and encouraging regular bowel movements.
Boosts Brain Health
The presence of anthocyanins in cherries is believed to improve cognitive function, prevent memory loss, and support Alzheimer's disease. Cherries also contain polyphenols, which boost communication between the brain and the body and assist in the effective processing of generating information.
Supports Natural Sleep
Sour/tart cherries can support natural sleep by boosting the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone. A gland in the brain naturally produces melatonin, which is also provided as a supplement and helps rats’ body’s sleep-wake cycle.
Drawbacks of Cherries for Rats
Even though cherries contain several healthy nutrients and vitamins, there are still some drawbacks that should be noted:
There is a large pit in the middle of cherries, which is why they are known as stone fruits. Rats can easily crack the fruit’s stone if it is not removed because they have such strong teeth. Rats should never be fed this stone because it is exceedingly dangerous for them as it contains cyanide in it, which can be fatal. Cyanide is a poisonous substance that is used to kill rats so cherry pits should be removed before serving it to rats.
Cherries should not be rats' primary source of food or even an important part of their regular diet. Yes, rats can eat cherries, but rats are omnivorous and can eat almost anything. However, rats cannot digest fruits properly. Therefore, they should not be given too much of it as it will only make them sick. Additionally, cherries have high sugar content, and rats do not require a diet high in sugar. Rats will seek out sugar as it is a simple source of energy but that does not mean it is healthy for them. Feeding them too much sugar can easily lead to obesity and tooth decay, all of which have several side effects. It is important to be extremely cautious and to feed them slowly when offering cherries to rats for the first time. In this manner, their digestive system can easily adjust to the new food in their diet.
Cherries are non-toxic for rats to eat and provide several health benefits. However, because of their high sugar content, they should only be given in moderation and as a rare treat. One cherry per rat once in a while is good, and before offering them cherries, don't forget to get rid of the pit because it contains cyanide and is poisonous when chewed.