As more people start to keep rats as pets due to so many photographs and videos going viral on social media, we have noticed a correlating increase in the number of people reaching out and asking various questions about keeping rats as pets recently and how to offer them the best possible care.
Due to rats loving to forage for food whenever they are out of their tank it is very common that we will see people asking questions about the random things that rats will eat and if it is safe for them.
One of the more common questions that we have seen people asking about recently is if rats eat grasshoppers and if it is safe to let your pet rat eat grasshoppers or not.
Although this is sometimes down to people keeping other pets that will eat grasshoppers and crickets it is also due to people letting their rat outdoors on a rat walking leash and it finding a grasshopper and eating it.
We have seen a number of worried rat owners reaching out due to their pet rat randomly finding a grasshopper while out of its cage and eating it so we wanted to publish our own article going over the topic.
Our hope is that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible who have a pet rat better understand the role of grasshoppers in a rats diet.
Do Rats Eat Grasshoppers?
Rats are omnivores and they are able to eat both plant-based and animal-based food sources without issue meaning that they are able to eat grasshoppers and other insects.
Various insects like grasshoppers can make up a surprisingly large amount of a wild rat’s diet as they will often eat any potential food source that they are able to find.
Many people new to keeping pet rats commonly think that they will only eat plant-based foods but this is far from correct.
As we covered in our article on rats eating worms, it is totally normal for rats to eat insects with grasshoppers and crickets being included in that with your rat’s digestive system being able to easily digest the grasshoppers without issue.
If you go let your pet rat out of its cage to play in your yard or garden then it can be very common for the rat to forage for food and find grasshoppers and other insects with it eating them before you get a chance to stop it.
For the most part, this is safe but we have seen some people worried about pesticides on wild grasshoppers causing problems but the majority of modern pesticides will deal with the grasshopper they are sprayed on very quickly so it is unlikely that it will be able to make its way from the spray area to your garden or yard.
Nutritional Benefits Of Eating Grasshoppers For Rats!
Grasshoppers are an excellent source of protein for your pet rat while also containing a number of other vitamins and minerals too.
For the most part, grasshoppers are way too high in protein to be used as a core part of your pet rats diet though and they should only be used as a one-off treat or snack every now and then.
Thankfully the majority of modern high-quality rat foods on the market offer a much better nutritional profile than they did a few years back so it is not as common for a pet rat to be as nutritionally deficient as they used to be.
With there being so many excellent rat treat food options on the market right now you are also able to top up your rat’s diet with more nutritionally complete treat foods than grasshoppers too.
This means that it is usually not a good idea to give your pet rat grasshoppers and crickets designed for use with reptiles or other pets as a treat food as there are usually better options available.
If your rat does end up finding a wild cricket or grasshopper while it is out of its cage for playtime and your rat eats it then we wouldn’t worry about it.
Should You Feed Your Pet Rat Grasshoppers?
Due to grasshoppers being so high in protein while being low in fat and carbohydrates, they are generally considered to be way too high in protein to be used as a dietary staple for your pet rat.
Most people recommend that the bulk of a rats diet is around 16% protein where as grasshoppers are over 90% protein so they really do warp your rat’s macronutrient intakes when fed in large amounts.
A single grasshopper or two every now and then won’t be enough to cause any problems though and the crunch of grasshoppers can add a new texture to your grasshopper’s diet to help keep it interesting.
Although rat treats are a much better, more nutritionally complete treat for your pet rat, you can use crickets or grasshoppers as an occasional treat every now and then.
We would never recommend that you try to use grasshoppers as a primary food source for your pet rats though.
They are just too high in protein, too low in carbohydrates and fats, and don’t contain anywhere near as many vitamins and minerals as other insects and bugs that rats are able to eat.
That brings our article going over if rats eat grasshoppers or not to an end. We hope that we have been able to help any of our readers who are either thinking of adding grasshoppers to their rats diet or who were worried because they have seen their pet rat eat a grasshopper. Although they shouldn’t be used as a primary food source for your pet rats, grasshoppers are fine for use as an occasional treat and shouldn’t cause any problems in your pet rat.