Rats are not particularly fussy eaters. So much so that we have to really think about what we feed them. Is it appropriate, healthy or even beneficial. Cucumber is one such food that you may be tempted in providing. But should you do so? Here is what you need to know!
So, can rats eat cucumber? Rats can eat cucumber (including the flesh, skin, and seeds) but should only do so in moderation. Cucumber is not sufficiently nutrient-dense and due to the high water content, can cause issues with bloating and diarrhea if overconsumed.
While you are unlikely to see a mischief of rats eating cucumber in the wild, as pets it’s a different story altogether.
Besides, they are entirely reliant on what we feed them.
And although it is true rats do best on a diet of fruit, vegetables, and pellets; there is certainly too much of a good thing.
And cucumber, like most other foods, can cause problems, in excess.
Thats the key word here.
Of course there are a lot of other foods to be particularly mindful, some even being toxic.
Thankfully that is not the case for the humble cucumber. Technically a fruit, but used as a vegetable.
Let us now take a closer look at this widely-cultivated creeping vine plant and its place in a rats diet.
Why it can be included, how much can be fed, and how to do so safely.
Are Cucumbers Good For Rats?
Cucumber is good for rats if consumed in appropriate amounts and frequencies. It’s very low in calories, carbohydrates, and fats, while also containing some important vitamins and minerals that can serve the health of a rat.
And obesity is a common problem in these rodents. Particularly those that are given too many treats.
Cucumber, therefore, is a very suitable substitute for high-fat and sugary treats.
Let us take a closer look at the nutritional profile:
Nutritional Content of Cucumber
|Vitamin K||16.4 µg|
|Vitamin C||2.8 mg|
As you can see, from 100g of raw cucumber, 95 of that is water.
Or in other words, 95% is water.
That’s a lot.
So you can soon see why consuming too much of this in excess could cause a problem.
But at the same time, it can even be a useful aid to keep a rat sufficiently hydrated.
And then onto the specific vitamins and minerals themselves.
Perhaps the one to note is Vitamin K; which appears to be most abundant in cucumber, and is more challenging to get than from other food sources.
But there are also b vitamins, vitamin C and minerals including potassium, magnesium phosphorous and copper too!
Quite a lot considering it’s essentially a watery tube!
Do Rats Like Cucumber?
Most rats will enjoy eating cucumber. Although not all rats will, and some will leave it altogether if provided.
Then there are other rats that may even eat only a small amount and those that will only eat the specific parts.
And its fine either way.
It all comes down to this.
Rats have preferences.
Being a good rat owner is all about identifying these preferences.
Finding out what your rat enjoys, and does not.
Its all about tailoring their diet around foods they seem to enjoy most – within reason and so long as it does not have an adverse health effect, such as weight gain of course.
Cucumber, like many other fruits and vegetables, are something you simply need to offer.
You then, will find out!
How Much Cucumber Should You Feed A Rat?
Cucumber should be fed in moderation, although a small amount can be offered each day. Rats can eat all of the cucumber, including the skin, seeds, and flesh.
More specifically, cucumber should only make up around 5-10% of total daily caloric intake. Besides, any more than this and it may begin to displace other foods (the high water content can fill them up).
Remember, rats do best on a diet of variety; so should be given plenty of other safe fruits and vegetables.
So, in terms of serving sizes – a quarter to a fifth of a full-length cucumber is a good place to start.
And here is why it should not be exclusively fed or over-relied upon:
- Cucumber is not sufficiently energy-dense, it does not contain enough energy or calories to sustain a rat. While they need to be managed, fats, carbohydrates, and protein are required for these rodents to truly thrive.
- Rats need variety to provide them with a full suite of vitamins and minerals,
- Cucumber can cause bloat or diarrhea if too much is consumed at any one time.
Cucumbers do not provide enough.
Enough of anything, besides water, for that matter.
A rat simply needs other nutrients in order to thrive.
This is why you will often see lists of rat-safe fruits and vegetables. It why it is advised to offer a range of them, in order to provide as much nutrition as possible.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Rats are omnivores after all – meaning that they naturally eat a combination of plants and meat in the wild.
And, any responsible owner should try to replicate the diet of wild rats as best they can, as close as possible at the very least.
This is precisely why pelleted feed exists, and why this should always be a staple in the diet.
Its formulated to meet the nutritional needs of rats. It has them covered.
This means it provides everything a rat needs; from all the vitamins and minerals to the macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats).
And these are all appropriately balanced.
How To Feed Cucumber To Rats
Feeding cucumber is relatively simple, so long as you consider some important caveats.
For one, cucumber should always be sourced raw.
It should never be pickled, or from a jar that has it stored in other preservatives.
Instead, it is best to seek out organic cucumber, as and where possible.
Equally, the cucumber you look to serve should be fresh; not decomposing, nor should it have any discoloration or become overly soft.
It also advised that the cucumber is at room temperature, and not too cold for your rat.
Consider, the water inside the cucumber can get very cold if left in the refrigerator too close to serving.
Nevertheless, here is how you can go about offering this green hydrating fruit to your rat.
Begin by washing the cucumber thoroughly.
This is particularly important if the cucumber is not sourced organic, although it is still important to ensure that any dirt or debris is removed.
At this point you have a few of options:
- Cut the cucumber up into slices
- Cut off one quarter or one third,
- Remove the outer skin (if you know that your rat does not have a liking for it)
Once the cucumber is ready, then you can look to serve.
Again you have a few options here:
- Place it in the cage,
- Hand feed the cucumber,
- Offer the cucumber by hand,
- Make a treasure hunt!
The last option is the most fun, without doubt. And it also is a great way to replicate their natural foraging behaviours.
In the wild, rats spend a lot of time searching for food.
So you can use cucumbers to your advantage here, keeping your rat active and stimulated at the same time.
All you need to do is scatter small pieces of cucumber around the cage.
They’ll need to sniff to find it.
Better yet is to hide pieces of cucumber in paper bags or cardboard tubes and boxes.
You can do this with other treats, fruits and vegetables too.
Rats love this!
Trying to work out how to get their food comes entirely naturally to them.
Then there are always interactive toys that work very well too.
This particular treat-dispensing toy from Amazon is great for these reasons.
Whether you use it for cucumber, fruits, or even their pellets.
Just be sure to keep feeding time interesting!
Rats can eat cucumbers, and generally really enjoy doing so.
But just remember, less is more with this particular food.
Its best served up along with other fruits and vegetables that your rat enjoys.
But it is safe, and it is something that you should look to introduce.
Give it a try and see how your rat responds.
Can Rats Eat Cucumber Skin?
Rats can eat cucumber skin, although it is advised to only offer the skin if the cucumber is organic or washed thoroughly prior to serving. At the same time, not all rats will eat the skin if provided.
Can Rats Eat Cucumber Seeds?
Rats can eat cucumber seeds and they pose no risk to a rat. Not all rats will eat the seeds if provided.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.