It may come as a surprise to hear that some people feed popcorn to their pet rats. Whether you are new to owning rats or are simply curious about what they can eat, you may be wondering if popcorn is safe to feed rats.

Rats can eat air-popped popcorn. They should not eat popcorn from a microwave bag or buttery popcorn due to their excess salt and fat content. Plain popcorn in the bag is also a good choice for your rats. Most rats enjoy popcorn as a treat. 

If you have pet rats, you may be looking for a good treat to feed them. This article will explain how often to feed your rat popcorn, what rats can and cannot eat, and how to feed your pet rat safely. 

How Do You Serve Popcorn to Rats?

Serve popcorn to rats as unsalted, unbuttered, plain popped kernels in small pieces. While all animals need a varied, healthy diet, popcorn is an acceptable treat for rats. Too much of any food type will negatively affect rats, so use popcorn in moderation. 

The best way to cook popcorn for rats is to use an air-pop machine that makes the popcorn without butter or salt. Taste the popcorn before feeding it to your rats to ensure it is plain.

Can Popcorn Be Dangerous to Rats?

Popcorn is sometimes dangerous to rats. As with people, too much fat and salt are not healthy. Rats can get sick from excessive salt and fat in popcorn. 

Rats eat almost any food and gain weight quickly if you don’t carefully monitor what they eat. Because they live in a cage, it is hard for rats to exercise. As a result, you must pay attention to the foods you feed them. 

Look for popcorn that you feed your rats to have a white color. Yellow popcorn usually has butter, which is high in fat and unsuitable for rats. 

Should You Feed Your Rats Large or Small Pieces of Popcorn?

You should feed a rat the small, fluffy, white part of the popcorn. Pull the hull away from the bloom of the popcorn and throw it away. You can feed your rats small pieces of the white part of the popcorn. 

After popping the corn in an air-popper, you should pull the hard hulls and shells away from the popcorn pieces. Throw these pieces away since the rigid hulls are not suitable for your rats. 

Take the white parts of the popcorn and break them into very small pieces, so your rats do not choke on the popcorn. 

TIP: Easiest way to feed your rat popcorn is to buy hulless popcorn so you don’t have to worry about pulling out the hulls

Can You Make Feeding Popcorn Fun for Rats?

You can make feeding popcorn to your rat fun and interactive. Hide the popcorn in toilet paper cardboard rolls, so they have to work to find the goodies. 

Rats are very food-motivated, so you can use food to teach them tricks with the popcorn. You can purchase this Feeding toy from Amazon. This product is similar to a Kong toy for dogs, which serves as a puzzle that the dog must solve to access the treat. This toy is a unique way to add enrichment to your rats’ life, and can be purchased at a reasonable price.

Sprinkling the popcorn around their cage instead of placing them in the feeding bowl is another great way to encourage your rats to be active as they search for goodies. This method works incredibly well when your rat is in a multi-level cage. Remember that treats are not for everyday consumption, as rats can quickly become obese when overfed. 

What Do Rats Eat?

Rats eat a wide variety of foods. They are omnivores, which means they eat food from both plant and animal sources. Ideally, rats need a healthy, balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. 

Rats need the following food and liquid nourishment. 

  • Fruits that rats can eat include apples, pears, bananas, melons, oranges, blueberries, and strawberries. 
  • Vegetables that rats can eat include bok choy, carrots, celery, broccoli, parsley, and corn (in small amounts).
  • Cooked meats and eggs
  • Cooked beans and sweet potatoes
  • Rat pellets have the proper combination of nutrients, protein, and fat.
  • Rats can eat small amounts of bread, pasta, rice, and cereals. 
  • They can occasionally have seed and nut mixes. However, seeds and nuts are fatty and should be served in moderation. 
  • Rats need plenty of water since they are avid drinkers. Check their water frequently during the day to ensure they have an adequate amount for drinking. 

What Should Rats Not Eat?

Rats should not eat foods high in fat or salt, sticky foods like peanut butter, and food that could cause them to choke. Some processed and raw foods pose a hazard to rats. 

Processed Foods Are Dangerous for Rats

Processed foods include additives like salt, sugar, and other substances to taste better. Some processed foods have processed grains, fats, preservatives, and sugars. 

Don’t feed rats candy, dried fruits, or peanut butter. The stickiness of these foods can cause choking. Licorice is poisonous to rats, so avoid feeding this particular candy to rats. 

Feed Your Rat Unprocessed Foods

Unprocessed foods have minimal to no processing. They are still in the same form as when picked from the ground or tree. Unprocessed foods are also called whole foods. 

Whole foods that can be dangerous to rats include the following:

  • Green bananas and mangoes
  • Raw sweet potatoes
  • Dry beans 
  • Rhubarb and avocados
  • Raw brussels sprouts and red cabbage
  • Raw artichokes 

Rats are intelligent and will benefit from a variety of foods. This variety will keep them stimulated and enrich their environment. 


Rats love popcorn and can eat it as a treat. Be sure to choose air-popped popcorn with no salt or butter since these additives are not healthy for your rat. You should remove the fluffy, white parts of the popped corn from the rigid hulls. Rats cannot eat the hulls and could choke. 

Additional Information On Animals Eating Popcorn

Are you curious about what animals can eat popcorn? Click here for an animal overview or click on an animal below to find out specific details:

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