Can Rats Eat Popcorn?

Can Rats Eat Popcorn?

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When it comes to food, there are some snacks that are widely loved like popcorn. The popcorn’s tempting aroma and crunchy texture make it a widely known treat among humans. However, what about rats? Can rats eat rats? Is popcorn safe for rats? 

In this article, we will discuss the benefits and risks of feeding popcorn to pet rats, answer the question – can rats eat popcorn? And provide healthy alternative treats to feed pet rats.

Popcorn is produced by heating up kernels with a hard outer layer and a starch-filled inside. The snack is a nutritious light treat when it is not packed with a lot of other ingredients. 

Popcorn is also well-known because it is quick and easy to make at home.

Can Rats Eat Popcorn?

Yes, rats can eat popcorn in moderation. They are omnivorous animals and can eat varieties of foods, including seeds, vegetables, proteins, fruits and grains like popcorn. However, rats should only eat the popcorn that is unsalted, sugar-free and does not contain any butter or seasoning. Rats should eat popcorn as an occasional treat. Rats should be given a balanced and nutrient-filled diet that meets their nutritional requirements.



Is Popcorn Safe for Rats?

Popcorn is safe for rats because it is a whole grain. Popcorn can make a great addition to the many treats that rats can eat. 

Popcorn is a whole grain that provides healthy nutrients like fiber, vitamins B and E, minerals such as zinc, magnesium and phosphorus, and small amounts of fat and protein. 

Moreso, popcorn has low calories than many other treats, making it a tempting choice for humans concerned about their weight.

However, there are many concerns to keep in mind before, giving popcorn to pet rats as a treat: 


Even though popcorn is not toxic to rats, it is important to serve it in moderation. Rats have a sensitive digestive tract and too much of any new food can lead to a stomach upset or other gastrointestinal conditions. 

Popcorn can be a nutritious addition to the pet rat’s diet as an occasional treat. However, popcorn should not take the place of their regular, balanced diet of high-quality commercial rat blocks or pellets with fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Plain Popcorn Without Salt and Butter

Before giving popcorn to pet rats, make sure it is plain and without butter or salt. Many popcorns sold in stores are seasoned with butter, salt or other flavorings that may be harmful to rats. 

Salt can be harmful to rats’ health because they have low tolerance to salt. Additionally, the high-fat content in popcorns coated with butter is not good for the rat’s sensitive digestive system and may lead to obesity or other health conditions.

Nevertheless, popcorn can be a good and entertaining treat for pet rats. Rats are intelligent and social animals and they love exploring new things. 

You can offer popcorn to rats in creative ways like hiding it in toys or scattering it in their play area to ensure mental stimulation and provide a means of entertainment. 

Dangers of Feeding Popcorn to Pet Rats

Microwave Popcorn

Microwave popcorn often has additional preservatives, artificial flavors and chemicals that can be harmful to a rat’s health. 

The microwave bags can also cause choking if they are not disposed off properly. Therefore, it is best to stay away from microwave popcorns and avoid giving the to rats. 

Risk of Choking

Rats are small animals and the popcorn kernel can be too large or hard for them to eat, which may lead to choking or dental problems if rats attempt to swallow a whole or slightly eaten popcorn kernel. 

Therefore, before giving popcorn to pet rats, ensure to break the popcorn into smaller pieces.

Allergic Reactions or Digestive Problems

It is important to monitor pet rats closely for any signs of allergic reactions or digestive problems, just like with any new food you introduce to their diet. 

If you discover any abnormal reaction, diarrhea or lethargy after giving popcorn to rats, it is better to stop giving it to them and consult a professional veterinarian. 

Product of Corn

Popcorn, as a product of corn, can pose concerns related to contaminations caused by aflatoxin. Aflatoxins are toxins created by some kinds of fungi and are present in crops, including corn. 

These toxins can be harmful to rats and may cause liver damage or other health problems. 

Therefore, it is better to limit the number of corn-based foods, including popcorn that you give your pet rats. 

Alternative Treats to Feed Pet Rats

Even though rats can enjoy small pieces of plain and unsalted popcorn as an occasional treat, there are other healthier treats that they can eat.

Grains (Cooked)

Rats can eat other grains aside popcorn like cooked pasta, rice and oats. However, these grains should be plain without any added salt, sauces or seasonings. 


Rats can eat grapes. They are a favorite among pet rats because of their sweet taste and small size, which makes them easy to eat. Nevertheless, ensure to cut the grapes into smaller pieces to avoid choking.


Rats can also eat cherries, but just like other fruits with seeds and pits, make sure to remove the pits before giving them to pet rats.


Rats can eat many kinds of melon. Melons like cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew are safe for rats in small amounts. These fruits are a good choice for hydration during warmer months.


Peaches are a healthy treat for rats. They provide a juicy and flavorful treat choice. Rats can nibble on peaches in moderation. However, remember to remove the seeds and cut them into smaller pieces to make it easy for them to eat.

Bottom Line

Rats can eat popcorn. However, there are healthier and more nutritious treats you can give to pet rats. Nevertheless, if you want to give popcorn to pet rats, make sure it does not contain any additives like salt, butter or any other seasoning and artificial flavors that can be harmful to a rat’s health or cause weight gain. 

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