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Do Rats Eat Paper?

We have seen a number of people reaching out recently asking if rats eat paper or not with the people reaching out being a mixture of people who keep pet rats as well as people who are having problems with wild rats raiding their paper stores.

With the spike in people reaching out about rats eating paper, we have decided to publish this dedicated article going over the topic.

Our hope is that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible be it people reading this because their pet rat appears to be eating paper or due to you having problems with wild rats raiding your paper stores.

There are a number of different variables that you have to factor in when it comes to rats and paper as they may appear to be eating the paper when in actual fact, they are shredding it for the health of their teeth, for fun or to build a nest.

If you are having problems with wild rats raiding the paper stores then it is usually a good idea to get the problem dealt with as soon as possible as there is a good chance they are actually nesting.

Rats can quickly multiply and a small problem can end up being a serious problem in a matter of months.

Do Rats Eat Paper?

Some rats do eat paper but it is usually paper that has oil from some type of food on it rather than normal raw paper. When you see a rat chewing on plain paper, they are almost always using it as a chew toy or shredding it for a nest.

Sometimes rats simply get bored and will shred any paper near them as a way to entertain themselves too and this may appear as if the rat is attempting to eat the paper.

If you keep your pet rat in a cage that is too small for its size then chewing paper to shred it up may be a way for it to let out its frustrations rather than it actually trying to eat the paper.

Most of the time, if the rat is a pet, you can usually get some form of rat chew toy and your rat will quickly switch to chewing that rather than paper.

If the rats are wild then there is a small chance that they are actually eating paper due to being starving but due to how much rubbish humans generate, there is usually excess food available in most areas where there is paper and rats will take food over paper any day.

Is It Okay For Rats To Eat Paper?

Although paper offers minimal nutritional benefit to a rat if any at all, it usually poses no real thread to them when consumed in small amounts.

The more paper the rat eats the higher the risk of impaction in the intestinal path becomes but for the most part, there shouldn’t be much of an issue.

As we touched on earlier, much of the paper that food comes wrapped in ends up with a large amount of juice, fat, and grease on it.

Think the paper wrapper for the burger from your local fast food joint. This is why some people will see wild rats “eating paper” but they are only really interested in the fat that is on the paper.

Rats are more intelligent than most people initially realize and rats are clever enough to realize that there is minimal benefit in eating plain paper.

This is why it is so rare for a rat to actually consume the paper that it shreds and the actual reason that the rat is chewing paper up is nothing to do with the rat actually wanting to eat it.

Why Do Rats Shred Paper?

Rats rarely shred paper to eat it, the majority of the time they are trying to find something to chew or trying to create something suitable to build a nest with. If the rat is frustrated then it may also shred paper to relieve its frustrations too but this is usually rare.

As we mentioned earlier in the article, one of the best things that you are able to do for a frustrated rat or a rat that just wants to chew on paper is to get an actual rat chew toy.

If you suspect that your pet rat is trying shred the paper to build a nest and it is your pet rat then giving it a suitable material to nest with is probably the best route to take.

The best thing about a pet rat trying to build a nest is that they will usually use any material that they have available.

Rats can be surprisingly resourceful when they get down to it and they are able to nest with everything from paper and cardboard to straw or hemp bedding so you have plenty of options available to you.


That brings our article going over if rats eat paper or not to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand that most rats will only eat paper in very rare situations or if it has soaked up a large amount of fat from other food sources. Most of the time when you see a rat chewing paper, the rat is not trying to eat the paper and it is simply shredding it for some other purpose.