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Pet Rats/Rats and Protein (specific question)


Hello there, and thank you for being willing to answer questions. I have two wonderful pet rats (females) named Trixie Belle and Trillium.  They are about 8 months old.  I am vegan, so I feed them vegan, and make them healthful meals each day, with lots of variety.  I have read many Rat sites and now feed them Green Mush for breakfast, and lots of grains and rice, veggies, cooked tofu, a bit of fruit, cereal, etc.  They're super healthy.  But I am puzzled by the number of sites which caution against too much protein, yet insist that meat and oysters and good foods for rats.  This seems counter to the caution against too much protein.  I ask because I occasionally give my rats peanuts, yet peanuts are listed in many places as being bad because of the protein. I'm hard-pressed to think that peanuts are somehow worse than meat!

My rats have flat out turned down the fancy rat blocks (Mazuri and Oxbow) and so I've given up. They want real food, and they get it!

I would so appreciate your thoughts on this issue.

Also, I am going away for a few days, but have a rat sitter who will come twice a day. I can't expect her to cook for the rats, as I do, so would welcome any suggestions for what easy options would sustain them for a few days.

Thanks so much!


Hi Alyce,
Rats need a certain amount of protein, just not too much. Rats are omnivores, not vegans, and in the wild they kill and eat any small animals they can. However, they only need about 14-18% protein in their diet. The reason my homemade rat diet recipe listed on my website at includes oysters or beef liver is not for the protein but for the copper they contain. Have you seen my diet?  Roasted peanuts are fine for rats as long as they aren't allergic to them. You can't believe everything you see on the internet.

It is not critical what your rat sitter gives them for a few days.

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Debbie Ducommun


I can answer any questions about pet rats, but you will probably be able find answers to simple questions more quickly on my website at If you have a life-threatening emergency you can try calling me at 530-899-0605. I am not usually on the computer on the weekend.


I have been "The Rat Lady" since 1985 and am recognized as one of the world's experts on pet rats. I have 3 published books and already answer lots of questions about rats daily.

President of Rat Assistance & Teaching Society

I am a monthly columnist for Pet Business magazine, and my writing has appeared in other magazines. I have 3 published books.

BA in Animal Behavior

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