Peanuts are leguminous plants that are mostly related with beans, soys, and lentils. Most people think that peanuts are nuts, but peanuts are not really related with nuts, they are legumes.
Can Rats Eat Peanuts?
Yes, rats can eat peanuts but it should not be regular. Rats should ONLY have one or two peanuts in a sitting. However, there are a number of issues to consider before feeding peanuts to rats. Peanuts have antinutrients and may be contaminated with aflatoxin. Nevertheless, even though the occasional peanuts won’t kill rats, there are healthier foods available for rats.
Are Peanuts Safe for Rats?
No, peanuts generally are not safe for rats. In fact, peanuts are one of the
foodstuffs that are toxic to rats and should definitely be kept away from them. Don't fret, it doesn't cause an instant death. However, regular consumption can result in serious nutritional problems. The reasons are because It has been discovered that peanuts can destroy the vitamin A, digestive enzymes, and enzymes that keep the rats' body in good shape.
When the digestive enzymes that are supposed to break down food nutrients, especially proteins and starch that make us the majority of rats' diets are destroyed, food cannot be broken down and vitamins cannot be extracted from them.
Peanut consumption can also cause lumping of the red blood cells and this can cause various severe issues. You should not feed peanuts to your rats. But if at all you want to feed your pet rats with peanuts, it should be rationalized and also in moderation with at most one or two peanuts in a sitting.
Peanuts also contain neurotoxins. These neurotoxins can cause paralysis to rats because their body system cannot process them efficiently. This then results in muscle spasms, seizures, and even death. Additionally, Peanuts don't grow on trees like other nuts. They grow from the ground as other leguminous plants like beans and peas, which makes them susceptible to fungi.
Nutritional Value of Peanuts to Rats
Peanuts contain a considerable amount of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and other healthy nutrients. They reduce the risk of heart diseases because of these nutrients. They are very high in fats, consisting of both mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids and can be used in making peanuts
oil. They are a good source of proteins whose contents range from 22-30% of the total calories.
The most abundant proteins in peanuts are arachin and conarachin, which can cause allergic reactions. Even though peanut allergy is one of the most common allergies that affect humans, rats are not really affected by it but they can suffer from other food allergies. Carbohydrates in peanuts are in little amounts. Additionally, peanuts contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Vitamins and minerals such as copper, which promote heart health, vitamin E (an antioxidant), Thiamine/vitamin b1( helps to produce energy needed for the functioning of the heart, muscles, and nervous system), phosphorus (for growth and maintenance of body tissues), magnesium (promote heart health). Antioxidants in peanuts, such as phytic acids, vitamins E, are embedded in its skin and they help to reduce inflammation.
Health Benefits of Peanuts to Rats
Peanuts Promote Heart Health
Peanuts contain heart healthy nutrients such magnesium, niacin, copper, oleic acid, and antioxidants like resveratrol. Peanuts promote growth and maintenance of tissues owing to the presence of phosphorus.
Side Effects of Peanuts
Peanut consumption has not been associated with many side effects aside from allergic reactions. However, the good news is that peanut allergies don't affect rats even though they may be allergic to other foodstuffs.
Peanut contamination can occur
This is closely related with a species of mold called Aspergillus flavus. Aspergillus flavus can contaminate peanuts with a toxin called aflatoxin. This causes signs of jaundice and loss of appetite in humans. In rats, it results in liver failure, liver cancer, brain cell damage, and brain cancer. Aflatoxin contaminated peanuts are usually caused by the storage method of the peanuts.
Mostly when the peanuts are stored in warm and humid conditions. Moreover, disease conditions caused by aflatoxins occur in humans if the contaminated peanuts are consumed in large quantities. Sadly the reverse is the case in rats. Aflatoxin contaminated peanuts can breed disease conditions when rats consume them even in smaller quantities.
This is why it is crucial to either avoid peanuts and peanut products altogether or limit them strictly.
Raw peanuts are more susceptible to a high proportion of aflatoxin compared to oven-roasted peanuts because the heat would have killed any foreign organisms during roasting. This makes the oven-roasted peanuts the best option for rats if at all you insist on feeding them with peanuts. Note that it has to be in small amounts and at most, once or twice per week.
Additionally, it is important to choose the oven-roasted peanuts that don't contain any form of additives such as sugar, salt, or spice because too much of them in rats' diet poses a threat.
Peanut products like peanut butter can also be contaminated with aflatoxin so it is best to avoid it completely.
Peanuts Contain Anti-nutrients.
Antinutrients are substances that prevent the absorption of nutrients by the small intestine during digestion and also reduce the nutritional value of food. Example of the antinutrients in peanuts is phytic acid. Though it is an antioxidant that is found in all edible seeds like legumes, nuts, and grains, it reduces the absorption of iron and zinc thus lowering their nutritional value.
Most antinutrients are present in raw peanuts just like some other members of the legume family. Therefore it is best to not feed peanuts to very young or very old rats. Peanuts contain high amounts of fats and this can lead to obesity or diabetes. Fortunately, nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios are safe choices for your pet rats if at all you want to opt for alternatives to peanuts. In addition, their diets can also contain pumpkin seeds, soybeans, unsalted cashews, and sunflower seeds.
Rats are omnivores. So, they can eat various types of foods such as meat, fish, vegetables, and fruits. Nuts comprises just one of their many foods. All nuts that are edible for humans are also safe for rats
to consume. Just as we've explained above, peanuts are not nuts but legumes. They contain neurotoxins, antinutrients, and can also be contaminated by molds which makes them not a totally good option for rats. If you want to feed your pet rats with peanuts, they should be the unseasoned oven-roasted type in very little amounts.