Don’t you just love berry season? Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries – they are all incredibly tasty and generally considered healthy. You’ve probably wondered if you can feed your mischief berries, too.
Can rats eat raspberries? If so, how many should you give them?
Raspberries are perfectly safe for rats to eat. In fact, they offer a great deal of health benefits and should absolutely be on the menu for your mischief. Like other berries, raspberries have a relatively low sugar content, compared to other fruit.
For tips on how to offer raspberries to your pet rats, and how many you can feed them, have a look at this article we’ve compiled for you.
Can You Feed Your Pet Rat Raspberries?
Are Raspberries Safe for Rats?
Raspberries are not only tasty, but also very healthy. Compared to other fruit, they are quite low in calories and in sugar, averaging at about 12 grams of carbs per 100 grams1.
Their protein and fat contents are negligible, but that’s the norm for fruit. The micronutrients are where it’s really at – here we will find all the health benefits that raspberries have to offer.
First and foremost, raspberries are an amazing source of vitamin C1.
This vitamin is involved in the healthy functioning of the immune system, as well as skin and connective tissue health2,3.2,3.
They are also a good source of fiber. Dietary fiber is crucial for gut health and its consumption has been linked to decreased rates of gastrointestinal cancer and obesity, as well as improved gut flora and digestion4-6.
Like other berries, raspberries contain a ton of antioxidants, such as ellagic acid, quercetin, and ascorbic acid (vitamin C)7.
Antioxidants reverse the cellular damage that is caused by so-called reactive oxygen species (ROS). This way, antioxidants slow or reverse chronic disease processes, reduce the incidence of many different types of cancer, and generally boost cardiovascular and cognitive health4,8-11.
In fact, red raspberry extracts have been shown to destroy colon, prostate, breast and oral cancer cells in a test-tube study12. Another study performed on rats showed that rats receiving red raspberry extract were less likely to develop arthritis – and if they did, they had fewer symptoms than the control group13.
Since they are low in sugar, raspberries make a good choice of fruit for overweight rats. A mice study was even able to show that mice that consumed raspberries alongside a high-fat diet did not gain as much weight as those that were not offered any berries14.
All in all, raspberries are a great food for rats and should absolutely be part of a varied, fresh produce diet.
How Many Raspberries Can a Rat Eat?
If raspberries are so healthy, can you just give your rats as many as they want?
Not really – while lower in sugar than most fruit, raspberries are still a fruit and should only be the “dessert”, not the main course for your rats. It’s important to serve berries alongside different vegetables.
One or two raspberries per rat is probably a good number to aim for.
You may offer raspberries daily, but rats love variety and will appreciate it if you switch up the fruit you offer. Too many raspberries could also potentially cause diarrhea, so be on the lookout for that.
Make sure to wash your raspberries well before feeding them to your pet rats.
Like other berries, raspberries tend to have pesticide residues on them15. If it’s an option for you, buying organic is the way to go. Otherwise, soak the raspberries in a soda and water solution or rinse them multiple times in water before offering them to your mischief.
Frozen berries make a great treat for rats on hot summer days! They are basically ratty popsicles.
If the weather does not allow for cold foods, just thaw the raspberries before you feed them.
Can Rats Eat Dried Raspberries?
In theory, dried raspberries are fine for rats to eat. However, dried fruit is much higher in calories and is therefore not a good alternative to the fresh berries.
Also, many dried raspberries contain added sugars. I would advise to eat the dried raspberries yourself and only feed your rats the fresh fruit.
What Fruits Can Rats Eat?
There are many different fruits that are suitable for rats. Good choices are strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, apple, pear, apricot, peach, cantaloupe, melon and watermelon. Generally, fruit is high in sugar and should therefore be offered in moderation.
Focus more on fresh vegetables and only offer a tiny bit of fruit on the side.
Be careful to remove pits and stones before feeding any fruit, as they tend to be toxic.
If you have bucks in your mischief, you may want to avoid citrus fruit and mango, as these contain a protein that can cause kidney damage in male rats.
To Sum Up
Rats love raspberries, and for good reason! They are very healthy and lower in calories than other fruit.
You may offer your rats one to two raspberries each every day, or switch it up with other fruit, of course. Frozen raspberries are fine, whereas dried berries should better not be offered.
1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central – Raspberries, raw. 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/167755/nutrients.
2. Abdullah M, Jamil RT, Attia FN. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid). StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. Copyright © 2022, StatPearls Publishing LLC., 2022.
3. Sorice A, Guerriero E, Capone F, et al. Ascorbic acid: its role in immune system and chronic inflammation diseases. Mini Rev Med Chem 2014;14:444-452. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24766384/.
4. Slavin JL, Lloyd B. Health benefits of fruits and vegetables. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md) 2012;3:506-516. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22797986.
5. Anderson JW, Baird P, Davis Jr RH, et al. Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutrition Reviews 2009;67:188-205. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00189.x.
6. Slavin J. Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients 2013;5:1417-1435. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23609775
7. Skrovankova S, Sumczynski D, Mlcek J, et al. Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidant Activity in Different Types of Berries. Int J Mol Sci 2015;16:24673-24706. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26501271/.
8. Liguori I, Russo G, Curcio F, et al. Oxidative stress, aging, and diseases. Clin Interv Aging 2018;13:757-772. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29731617/.
9. Neha K, Haider MR, Pathak A, et al. Medicinal prospects of antioxidants: A review. Eur J Med Chem 2019;178:687-704. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31228811/.
10. Stewart LK, Soileau JL, Ribnicky D, et al. Quercetin transiently increases energy expenditure but persistently decreases circulating markers of inflammation in C57BL/6J mice fed a high-fat diet. Metabolism 2008;57:S39-46. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18555853/.
11. Murakami A, Ashida H, Terao J. Multitargeted cancer prevention by quercetin. Cancer Lett 2008;269:315-325. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18467024/.
12. Seeram NP, Adams LS, Zhang Y, et al. Blackberry, black raspberry, blueberry, cranberry, red raspberry, and strawberry extracts inhibit growth and stimulate apoptosis of human cancer cells in vitro. J Agric Food Chem 2006;54:9329-9339. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17147415/.
13. Jean-Gilles D, Li L, Ma H, et al. Anti-inflammatory effects of polyphenolic-enriched red raspberry extract in an antigen-induced arthritis rat model. J Agric Food Chem 2012;60:5755-5762. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22111586/.
14. Heyman L, Axling U, Blanco N, et al. Evaluation of Beneficial Metabolic Effects of Berries in High-Fat Fed C57BL/6J Mice. J Nutr Metab 2014;2014:403041. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24669315/.
15. Łozowicka B, Kaczyński P, Jankowska M, et al. Pesticide residues in raspberries (Rubus idaeus L.) and dietary risk assessment. Food Addit Contam Part B Surveill 2012;5:165-171. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24779781/.
Nina has a degree from the Veterinary School in Zurich, with a special focus on microbiological research. Nina has a passion for sports, nutrition and the outdoors and she loves all pets, but rats have a special place in her heart. When she’s not working or reading and writing about all things related to pet health, she loves to travel and surf.
As a small animal veterinarian, Nina is your go-to expert on pet health and nutrition.