Top 5 Foods Rats Like to Eat in the House
Like most animals, rats like to eat. Surprisingly, as small as they are, they sure eat a lot. In fact, the little critters devour about a third of their body weight each day! That’s not even including the amount of food they hoard up in their nests for their litters. Rats are master scavengers, but they’re cautious too! They’re extremely wary about trying new foods and will actually sample their options first before fully indulging. They do this to ensure that the food is digestible and safe for their bodies. This is often why you see evidence around the home of gnawing, but the food is hardly ever fully eaten. Despite how cautious they are, rats are willing to try just about anything and have been known to consume everything from grains, nuts and berries, to even the meat of other animals—rarely even feasting on their own kind.
Rats have a keen sense of smell and won’t hesitate to break into your home if it means they’ll get to eat up some tasty meals. Leaving foods unattended or poorly stored within your house is just asking for trouble. We’ve put together a list of some of the favorite foods rats like to eat. We hope to give you better insight on how to deter rats from these foods while properly securing your home to keep these pesky critters from breaking and entering in the first place!
What Do Rats Like to Eat?
As previously stated, rats will eat just about anything. This basically means that no food is unattractive to rats. If they smell it, they will come! There are many types of rat species, some of which are herbivores, others frugivorous (fruit eaters), while others are simply carnivorous, delving in any kind of meat they can find, sometimes even if it means hunting for it. However, the two main types of rats we see across the U.S are Norway rats and roof rats (Also known as the black rat). Norway rats are the larger of the two and more commonly found scurrying throughout the house. Roof rats are smaller, more adept climbers that prefer to live in attics and trees. Here’s what these rats love to eat.
1. Fruits and vegetables
- Although both rats enjoy grains, roof rats generally prefer to eat vegetation and foods typically found in high places, which is often fruit and seeds from trees and bushes. Roof rats are more agile than Norway rats and will sneak into your attics via tree branches and vines where they will begin scavenging the kitchen counters and cabinets at night for whatever they can find. You may have a roof rat infestation if you often notice holes in your fruits and veggies. Storing your produce in the fridge instead of on the counter is the best way to ensure roof rats stay away from it.
2. Cereals and nuts
- Keep in mind that rats are excellent gnawers. Nuts and cereals stored in plastic bags and cardboard boxes might appear neatly tucked away to you, but they’re definitely not safe from rats. They’ll easily chew through the packaging and obtain all the food they desire, which is why it’s best to store these types of foods in airtight containers. This way, the nuts and cereals are more difficult to sniff out, and they’re protected from the rats’ biting and scratching.
- Bird feeders are another common roof rat attraction. The feeders are usually placed up high, in trees or hanging up somewhere on the porch, where they become easily accessible to not only birds, but rats as well. Bird feeders are not always necessary to feed birds, as the fliers are usually extremely adept at finding food. They will, however, attract unwanted rats, and once a rat finds a food source, it’s here to stay! If you’ve had a rat problem in the past, or are looking to avoid an infestation altogether, then you may want to reconsider hanging a bird feeder. Although, if you love birds and still desire to, then try hanging it as far away from your house as possible.
- Norway rats typically desire foods richer in protein and carbohydrates and are no strangers to eating meats and bread. Humans have created a habit of leaving bread on the counter. It may be wrapped or stored in plastic, but a hungry rat will sniff it out and chew right through the simple barrier. You’ll notice holes in the plastic, crumbs and droppings within the wrapper or around the counter. Although it might be difficult to store in an airtight container, bread can be easily placed within the fridge. This is a much better alternative to leaving it on the counter as it keeps it fresher, lasting longer, and best of all, it’s no longer subject to the furry pests!
5. Pet food
- Rats will enjoy your dog or cat’s food just as much as your pet does! Norway rats especially love eating the scraps left over from your animal, and there’s all sorts of nutrients in pet food that’ll keep the rats coming back for more. For this reason, it’s recommended to feed your dog or cat indoors, or at least pick up the leftovers that they may have missed. Never leave your pet’s food out for them to come and go as they please as this is just an open invitation for rats to come have a snack.
The Best Way to Keep Rats Away from Your Food
Prevention is the most important step when dealing with rats. Even if they are tempted by the warm shelter and free food residing within your house, they should never be allowed entry. Properly rodent proofing your home will ensure that these pesky critters stay outside where they belong.
Close entry points
- Rats can fit their bodies through anything the size of a quarter. Check around easily accessible areas like piping and ventilation to be sure there are no holes, and if there are, fill them up using wire mesh and caulking.
Trim back trees and brush
- To keep those roof rats away from your attic, make sure tree branches are at least 8 feet away from your residence. All vines and tall shrubbery should also be examined.
- Rats love a messy environment. It gives them plenty of places to hide and feel secure. Clean spaces sometimes deter rats even if they do gain entry because they feel exposed. Rats are always looking for a safe place to build their nests, so a clean house is less likely to provide what they’re looking for.
If You Have an Infestation
You can trap them using some of their favorite foods. It’s a common misconception that rats love cheese, since they’re actually deterred by its pungent smell. That’s not to say they won’t eat it if nothing else is available, but peanut butter is a much better option. We already know rats love seeds and nuts and have a keen sense of smell, so mixing peanut butter with seeds or even dog food will become the perfect bait. Also, the stickiness from the peanut butter makes the treat harder to steal, so the rats are more likely to linger and get caught in the trap of your choice.
However, if you prefer not to get your hands dirty, you can always leave the trapping to the professionals. The awesome team at Green Rat Control will take care of any rats rummaging around on your property. We specialize in cleaning attics as well, using products that are 100% safe for the environment. As for rodent proofing? We got you covered.
Are You Ready to Get Your Free Estimate?