What Rodents Eat

A rat is a common rodent.
A rat is a common rodent. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A rodent is a mammal that posses two continuously growing incisors in the upper and lower jaws. These are kept short by gnawing. Some rodent species are considered pests because they spread disease and eat seeds gathered by people, while others are kept as pets. Each rodent has a different diet.


Most mice are omnivores - they will eat both meat and plant matter - while some like the grasshopper mouse are almost exclusively carnivores. The general house mouse is omnivorous and enjoys a wide variety of foods, particularly cereals. They also eat insects, fruit, seeds, bread, cheese and often show preference for foods high in fat and protein, like nuts and dried meats. However, some food like mustard seeds, coffee beans and chocolate can be poisonous to mice if too much is consumed.

A mouse taking cheese from a mousetrap.
A mouse taking cheese from a mousetrap. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)


Arguably the most despised rodent is the rat. There are two main types, the brown or Norwegian rat and the black or roof rat, and they both eat just about anything. The brown rat prefers high-quality food such as meat, while the black rat would choose vegetables and fruits over fish or meat, given a choice. While they both consume grain and livestock feed, they can also eat poultry, eggs, nuts, snails, other rodents, leather, candy, fur, soap, cookies, peanut butter, sweet potatoes and, unlike mice, chocolate candy.

Rats eat a variety of food.
Rats eat a variety of food. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)


A rodent often seen during daylight, unlike mice or rats are squirrels. Their diet consists mainly of nuts and seeds such as sunflower seeds, acorns, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts and other kinds of tree nuts and seeds. Squirrels will also eat fruits and vegetables when available like corn, apricots, oranges, apples, avocados, beans and even tomatoes. Although most squirrels are herbivores, some, like the gray squirrel, will eat bird eggs and insects. On occasion squirrels will also eat smaller twigs and roots when food is scarce.

A squirrel eats a variety of nuts.
A squirrel eats a variety of nuts. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Guinea Pigs

A popular household pet is the guinea pig. They eat timothy hay, pellets and fresh vegetables such as asparagus, brussels sprouts, beet greens, broccoli and cabbage. Guinea pigs always need food in their stomachs to avoid gastric bloat, which can be life-threatening, so timothy hay and pellets should always be available.

A guinea pig is a common pet.
A guinea pig is a common pet. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

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