Keeping track of your pet rat weight can be very important. Especially if it’s the first time you’re owning pet rats and are still learning about them. Since they’re very small though, it can be hard to track.
On average, a healthy male adult rat weights between 0.88 and 1.5 pounds (400g to 700g), while an adult female rat weighs between 0.44 and 1.1 pounds (200g to 500g). This also depends on the body size and breed of the rat.
Again this can be hard to track, but given the right food, treats, and exercise, your pet rat will most definitely keep a good and healthy weight.
In this post, I’ll talk about what kind of food you should give your ratties as well as what to avoid. Not only that, but some exercise tips and even the average pet rat weight at different ages!
Keeping Your Pet Rat On A Healthy Weight
Keeping your pet rat on a healthy diet is very important! The first and probably most important advice I have is to actually buy food that is made specifically for pet rats. This is very important because depending on the rodent, they have different diets.
For example, a hamster does not eat the same as a pet rat. It’s very common for people to buy hamster or gerbil food for pet rats, thinking that it’s all the same. In fact, hamster food is much more caloric than pet rat food.
The seeds in these foods are way too fat for a pet rat to consume daily. I actually talk about this in much more detail in this blog post about giving your pet rat hamster or gerbil food, including the brands of food I recommend for your rodent friend.
But very simply put, look for pellet food that says it’s for pet rats. This way you’re sure that this food is proper for them and will deliver the right amount of nutrients for them. The pellets are very useful because they’re all the same and your pet rat will eat every single ingredient on them.
The problem with food that has pellets and other seeds mixed in it is that pet rats can be picky and end up eating only some of the pellets and seeds. This means that they’ll end up missing on some important nutrients and vitamins.
Other than the pellets, it’s also very important to give your rodent friends fresh fruit and vegetables. Not only this makes their meals much more interesting, but it’s also very healthy for them.
Even though they might like their usual food, pet rats get tired of the same thing very fast. Prepare some of their favorite treats and offer it to them every other meal. Some favorites of my girls are apples, broccoli, carrots, grapes, and peas!
Lastly, be sure your pet rats have space and toys to exercise. As I said, pet rats get bored very easily. So it’s important to have different toys that pique their interest. This way you’re sure they’ll exercise and have fun during their most active times. Wheels, balancing ropes, ladders, among others are always good.
Average Baby Rat Weight
Newborn pet rats are really, really small. They are born without fur, their ears and eyes are both closed and weight only about 6 to 8 grams. They’re roughly the size of a coin even!
They grow very fast though! In about one week, they can put on 10 more grams and look completely different, including showing some subtle fur and pigment to it!
At two weeks, a baby pet rat will weight about 30 to 35 grams, depending on their sex. Male rats are usually bigger and heavier than females. Although while growing it’s very natural to see females becoming bigger before the males.
It’s also at this time that their eyes open and they’re ready to explore the cage and maybe even your own hands! They start being more active, energetic and curious. They not only have their full fur coat on, but they also fit very well in your hand!
As for food, there isn’t much for you to worry about. They’ll drink their mother’s milk and at about 18 weeks, they’ll start eating different types of food, while still drinking the milk.
At two weeks, a baby pet rat will weight about 30 to 35 grams, depending on their sex.
At this point, if you have a big litter it’s important to start adding some extra food. This way there’s enough for the adults and the babies to start trying and nibbling on the new food.
Around six weeks of age, pet rats are very well developed, they might weight around 150 grams or more and don’t need to be with their mother anymore. They’re independent ratties now! It’s also very important to separate females from males at this point to avoid pregnancies!
Finally, a pet rat becomes a full adult at around 6 months and their weight varies between 450-650 for males and 350-450 grams for females.
These are the general healthy weights for your pet rats. When sick, pet rats will lose weight very quickly so it’s important to pay attention to them.
In just about a day or two, they can lose about 50 or more grams which is a lot! But we’re going to talk about some ways to reinforce their diet.
Foods To Help Rats Gain Weight
If you’re noticing that your pet rat is losing weight very quickly, the most important thing to do is take them to the vet! When pet rats suddenly lose weight, chances are they’re sick.
It might be something that will pass quickly with the right treatment but it might also be something more complicated.
This usually is accompanied by other signs. Such as lack of activity, your pet rat not wanting to come close to you or even looking like it’s protecting or hiding their body from you. Pet rats are prey animals, so their first instinct is to hide their weaknesses.
If that’s the case, it’s even more important to bring your pet rat to the vet, so they can advise you in what you should do and the right treatment.
On the other hand, if you notice that your pet rat is just having difficulty putting on weight, you can try to feed them high protein food. Things like eggs and avocado! I would say to avoid cheese though.
Even though you can give them tiny little pieces of it, it’s advisable to avoid it. Cheese is actually very fat and not very healthy for pet rats and it should be avoided.
There’s also extra vitamins or supplements that you can give your rodent friends, so again I highly recommend bringing your pet rat to the veterinary and see what they think you should do.
A veterinary will most likely know better how to care and what measures to take if your pet rat is underweight and that way you’re 100% sure you’re taking the right steps!
Is Your Pet Rat Gaining Too Much Weight?
Pet rats will eat anything. Really. Is it reachable and looks like it can be eaten? Then they will. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to ensure that their cage and even playground are clean.
We never know when they can reach and get to something they shouldn’t eat. My girls definitely try to get into cookie or potato chip packages if we leave them on the sofa. They’re also very smart, so even if a container or package is closed, they’ll find a way to open it.
The most common reason for a pet rat to become overweight is because they’re eating too much fatty food and/or are not active enough.
This might include also getting too much “human food” which can be a big problem. Be sure to read my article on Can Pet Rats Eat Human Food? (Safe And Dangerous Food List!) so you don’t make any mistakes on your little pet rat’s diet.
If you have more than 2 pet rats, it might also be common for one “steal” food from the others. Some rats just like to eat more than others and this is very common in a lot of species actually.
This is why it’s handy to have more than one bowl of food through the cage, that way, there will be different places for your pet rats to go and feed on.
Give Them The Right Treats
Take also care with the treats you give to them. Like I said, even though pet rats will eat everything, this doesn’t mean that it’s good for them.
For example, you should avoid giving fat and sugary foods. Things like fast food, seasoned food, sweets, and cookies are a big no-no for pet rats.
It’s delicious yes, but it has almost no nutritional value for our rodent friends. Stick to fresh fruit and veggies, which they’ll love!
Apples, salad, carrots, peas, etc. You can also give them every once in a while cooked pasta (with no salt or other condiments) and rice! It’s also a favorite of my girls and they’ll delight in it.
Again, be sure you’re giving your pet rats food that is designed specifically for them. Most of the seeds in other rodent mixes are highly fat for pet rats. Pet rats diet should be higher and fiber and low on fat.
Make Sure Your Pet Rats Are Active
Pet rats are very active and like to play, but if there’s no incentive they’ll become inactive. As always, it’s important to own at least 2 pet rats. That way they can keep each other company and have someone to play with.
It’s also important to have different and interesting toys for them to play with. You don’t need to have many toys inside their cage.
In fact, I recommend leaving only one or two toys and change with others every week. They’ll get bored very quickly and if you have at least 6 different toys at home, you can change them every week so your pet rats keep their interest in them!
As I said before, wheels, ropes, and other climbing toys are great for your pets to exercise and move around. But you can also create interesting obstacle courses for them to play and even teach them some tricks.
Not only will these games help them exercise, but it will also help you create and reinforce your bond with your rodent friends!
I actually wrote a whole list of the best pet rat toys, including some that you can make at home. So if you run out of ideas for games and toys, take a look and you’ll certainly find some new ones!