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The rat who isn’t facing starvation does have culinary preferences, however. And some foods can be dangerous, and even deadly, to rats.
Rats are omnivores which means they can eat meat and vegetables alike. Unlike many mammals, rats do need some animal protein, fats and carbohydrates in their diets.
Rats are also opportunistic eaters which means they will consume whatever is available. However, they do have favourite foods.
In the wild, rats tend to eat:
When such foodstuffs are in scarce supply, the wild rat will eat what they can, which means they sometimes suffer nutritional problems and go hungry.
Rats don’t hunt for meat but they will scavenge it and consume carcasses they can find as well as dead or dying small birds (and their eggs), young rabbits and fish.
In urban environments, rats will rifle through rubbish to find a meal and eat scraps of meat, human food and pet food.
When making their home in a garden, rats will chomp through compost heaps and cultivated fruit and vegetables.
Rats will eat their own faeces – up to 40% – as a source of nutrition and the gut flora required to maintain a healthy digestive system. This is known as coprophagy and is because rats do not fully absorb the nutrients from the food they eat.
Some scientists and pet control experts believe that rats will happily feed on dog poo. However, the poop jury remains out and others suggest the average rat would prefer to consume most other foodstuffs well before they sniff out dog faeces, that even includes their own young.
Rats do not have a gag reflex, so if they do consume something poisonous, the game may well be up.
Obviously, food is essential for rats to stay alive. Depriving a rat population of a nutrition source is one way to minimise their prevalence. This isn’t always possible of course but keeping fresh food and discarded food secure will deter rats.
And if you do have a rat problem, and want to get rid of them, baiting traps with their favourite foods is a good way to control rodent populations.
If you have, or suspect you have a rat problem, give Pest.co.uk a call on 0800 234 3140 (all quotes are free, and we cover the whole of the UK)
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