Rats can eat almost anything they see no matter if the food is healthy for them or not, but what about mealworms? Can rats eat mealworms? Are mealworms safe for rats? If so, what are the health benefits of mealworms to rats?
Mealworms are the ‘baby’ forms of the adult black beetle. There are over 350,000 different kinds of beetles, more than any other animal on the planet. The mealworm is regarded as the beetle’s ‘larva’ and its body is dark yellow with brown stripes running the length of it.
Near the front of its body, it has six small legs and two tiny antennae. It possesses a hard body for digging that is known as an “exoskeleton’’.
Mealworms can be a problem for humans. They can be found in barns, cabinets, basements, cellars or anywhere there is stored grains (like cornmeal), as they prefer cold, dark environments. They consume vegetables and fruits that are rich in water as a source of hydration. They also enjoy eating rotting materials, including plants and animals. Nevertheless, they don't eat anything alive for food.
Many other animals, including some humans, eat mealworms. Mealworms are sometimes fried in a pan and consumed whole as a snack.
They are fat-free, high in protein and rich in nutrients. Birds, rodents (rats and the likes), lizards, spiders and a few other beetles can consume mealworms.
Can Rats Eat Mealworms?
Yes, rats can eat mealworms. Fresh mealworms are a good treat that rats enjoy. Mealworms are a good source of protein and other healthy nutrients. However, mealworms should be given to rats in moderation. Consuming too many mealworms can lead to obesity and other health issues. So, before feeding mealworms to the pet rat on a regular basis, you must speak with a veterinarian.
Can Rats Eat Dried Mealworms?
Yes, rats can eat dried mealworms. Even though many people enjoy giving their pet rats mealworms, they might not be sure if dried mealworms are an acceptable substitute. However, there are a few things to consider before giving dried mealworms to the pet rat as a treat even though they will gobble them up when given.
Since dried mealworms contain more calories than fresh or frozen worms, they should only be consumed in moderation. In addition, younger rats may have trouble digesting the tough exoskeletons of dried mealworms.
Therefore, it is often advisable to include fresh or frozen mealworms in a rat’s diet. However, if you want to give dried mealworms to your rats, make sure to do it occasionally and watch them carefully to make sure they can digest them.
Alternative Treats to Feed a Pet Rat
Rats gain from consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables and other fresh foods, which is good news because it is enjoyable to share food with your pet rat.
However, keep in mind that a rat’s serving is little (like a teaspoon or a half-inch cube), so avoid giving pet rats a lot of fruits or vegetables at each meal to prevent diarrhea.
Below is a list of alternative treats you may wish to try, bearing in mind that feeding rats a variety of foods is a good way to ensure that they get the finest nutrition and health possible:
- Cooked beans (including soybeans)
- Cooked liver
- Lean meats (cooked)
- Whole wheat pasta
- Vegetables (carrot, cauliflower, celery, kale, bok choy, broccoli, lettuce, etc.)
- Potatoes (cooked)
- Sweet potatoes (cooked)
- Dog biscuits
- Fruits (bananas, plums, pears, cherries, grapes, apples, melons strawberries and all other berries, avocado)
- Brown rice
- Cereals (unsalted and unsweetened)
- Special treats (in moderation): Whole nuts (hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds), sunflower seeds.
Best Foods to Feed a Pet Rat
It is simple to feed a pet rat but there are some important things to remember. The majority of a pet rat’s meal should consist of a specially designed rat diet, but you should also include many fresh foods.
Some rat nutritionists often advise many homemade meals that you can prepare as an alternative to prepackaged foods, but you must follow these instructions and ensure that rats receive a variety of fresh nutrients.
Without any additional nutrients, a diet can become nutritionally unbalanced and cause issues to rats (even though some lower quality manufactured rat diets are also poor in nutrition).
The simplest and most effective way to give the rat a balanced diet is by combining a good rat block with some fresh treats as nutritional supplements.
When you are buying food for your pet rats, look for a diet that has been created especially for rats, which would be a pellet or a huge block-type pellet diet (even though there are some issues with pellets) since they have been regarded as the best foods for rats. If your rat consumes the entirety of the loose seed mixture, which many rats do not, then these diets can be quite well-balanced. On the other hand, a rat won't be able to pick and choose whatever sections of the food they want to consume if you feed them a block or pelted food. Your rat can always have access to these rat blocks. Remember that the happiness and health of your pets depends on how well you feed them and what you feed them.
Harmful Foods to Avoid Feeding Rats
There are some toxic foods that are dangerous to rats and should be avoided. Some of these foods are:
- Dried corn
- Uncooked beans (contains poisonous substances)
- Raw Brussel sprouts
- Poppy seeds
- Raw cabbage
- Raw sweet potato
- Green bananas
- Chlorinated water/fluoridated water (use filtered water instead0
- Citrus fruits (can cause kidney damage)
- Avocado skin and pit
- Apple seeds (contains a poisonous substance called cyanide)
- Blue cheese
- Mango (excess consumption can cause kidney damage because of a substance called d-limonene)
- Sticky foods (peanut butter)
- Wild insects
- Raw peanuts
Rats can eat mealworms. However, they should do so in moderation because mealworms are high in protein. Also, it is necessary to make sure that rats consume domestic mealworms or store-bought ones rather than wild mealworms to avoid pesticides and other issues.