THE APPETIZING DINNER FIT FOR A RAT
Jordan Walker loves furry animals like pet rats. He devotes most of his time writing about animals in general at Coops And Cages and in pet blogs like this one. In here, he will be discussing about rat blocks in comparison to human food diet.
Rats are the bomb! Who says that Lassie is the only one who successfully made it to the big screen? If animals could be made into spies, rats would be more fitting for the role. Equipped with a sense of smell that can pinpoint the exact location of the best goodies in the house coupled with the stealth abilities of reconnaissance aircrafts, these are considered James Bond character materials. Babe the pig may have impressed viewers with its herding abilities but the Ratatouille showed how rats have a sense of taste when it comes to food and a voracious appetite at that. In here, the main rat character, Remy, was drawn into cooking food worthy of a prestigious restaurant. In comparison to the book Who Moved My Cheese written by Spencer Johnson, the main characters that included two rats only fed on cheese. In real life, there is also what is called rat blocks for pet rodents. Which of these are considered the best food for rats?
What Are Rat Blocks?
Rat blocks are just like cat or dog kibbles, only that these are pre-mixed according to rats’ nutritional needs. These are also called lab blocks because this is the common food staple of rats kept in laboratories. Why blocks? As its name implies, these usually take the shape of uniform small blocks. Consider rat blocks as feeds for chickens and birds. Unlike cats and dogs though, rats are only popular in laboratory research. That may be the reason why there is not much news circulating about rat blocks. However, manufacturing processes used in commercial rat pet food is similar to other types of dry pet foods, which are not considered generally safe.
How Dry Pet Foods are Made
Dry pet foods such as lab blocks are made through high heat baking. Although baking is thought to be a better option than frying, this may not be true when the food being cooked contains starch. This may be found in carbohydrate foods such as corn, an ingredient commonly used in most commercial pet foods. Baking starch in very high heat over boiling point creates a reaction that produces acrylamides, the same carcinogen that also present in cigarette smoke. Carcinogens such as acrylamides are one of the reasons why processed foods are not popular with medical health experts. Aside from the cooking process itself, there is also the question regarding the safety of the raw ingredients being used. For example, grains may have been exposed to harmful contaminants such as fungus, bacteria, and pesticides depending on how these were harvested or stored.
Taste at Par with Experts
For those who are wondering how foods are graded according to a rat’s view, they may be tasting these just like humans do. Now this might explain why unwelcome rats love to sneak into the goody basket every time homeowners are not around. Through evolution, these have come to survive feeding on a wide variety of food diets. Considered as omnivores, rats could eat the things that humans are willing to eat. In short, they too have been endowed with expensive taste and this is what makes rat blocks a poor choice for pet rats. Although claimed to be loaded with essential nutrients, their taste leaves nothing left to be desired even for the very tiny rat. There are some that do come in loose mixes. These are rat blocks that contain several colored or have different shapes, each of which is made up of a particular ingredient. Yes, these have the added benefit of a balanced meal. But rats would only usually end up eating their preferred ingredient, leaving the least favorite untouched.
Human Food Alternatives
Many rat pet owners are now coming up with their own rat pet food recipes. Why? Pets munch on these without any form of resistance. Just like if people were given a choice between being able to eat in a high class restaurant or just eat popcorn for dinner, expect that most would choose the former. This is what human foods offer that rat blocks can’t. Human foods are an assortment of everything that satisfies sweet, sour, bitter, meaty and spicy cravings.
What types of foods can be added to a rat’s diet? Excess food are often given to pets such as rats. The rule of thumb is, what’s considered unhealthy for humans is also considered unhealthy for pets. For rats, it is okay to give them some table scraps provided that these can be classified as healthy options. For example, meat should be lean, fruits should not be spoiled, and pits are removed from fruits. Aside from this, one may also need to consider some of the foods that are specifically not recommended for rat consumption. Such foods would include the likes of cabbage, green potatoes, carbonated drinks and chocolates.
Rat Blocks vs. Human Food
From a rat’s standpoint, human food will always be the better option. From an expert’s point of view, lab blocks may be the only way that pet rats will get their needed dose of daily nutrients. But judging how processed foods are frowned upon for human consumption, then this may not be doing pet rats anything good. As mentioned earlier, rat pet food are just like cat and dog kibbles. So far, these have been very popular until recent product recalls were imposed due to food contamination. Aside from these, there are claims that their nutritional values will never compare to natural foods such as those consumed by people.
In the wild, rats are just ordinary rodents trying to survive in the world. They eat human scraps found in garbage bins, sometimes even living a not-so-decent life, stealing food from someone else. For the lucky few that are being raised by human companions, rate care would include pet owners taking into consideration what will be included in their diet. The picky eaters will most probably get a red strawberry while the can-eat-anything rats might be served with rat blocks.
Author: Jordan Walker
Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages as well as a couple of other pet related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @CoopsAndCages