Do Rats Eat Their Own Poop [Shocking Realities]

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Rats are omnivores as they can eat a mixture of meats, veggies, and fruits like apples, citrus fruits, bananas, etc. The best diet of rats includes fresh vegetables, fruits, and a small number of rat pellets, but do rats eat their own poop?

Yes, rats eat their poop. Rats are commonly known as being coprophagic as they can ingest their feces up to 40%, or they can also eat the poop of their cage mates. Coprophagy (eating feces) is necessary for a healthy digestive system to maintain gut flora.

This article will focus on various eating habits of rats and what they can eat except their poop. Moreover, we will also focus on harmful food for rats.

Why Do Rats Eat Their Poop?

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 Rats eat their poop to meet their nutritional needs. This process of eating own feces permits the retrieval of nutrients that were not consumed during the first round through the digestive system. Rats eat about 0-11 percent of their droppings when given a properly nutritious diet. 

The process of coprophagy will increase due to marked deficiencies of thiamine and pantothenic acid. Moreover, during pregnancy, the nutritional requirements of rats increase, which will ultimately cause a rise in their coprophagic behavior.

 Thus, rats should not be stopped from eating their feces because this can lead to complex B vitamins, vitamin K, and biotin deficiencies. Rats will show stunted growth if they are not allowed to eat their feces. 

Do Rats Eat Dog Poop?

Dog Poop

Rats cannot only eat their poop, but they can also eat dogs’ poop readily. Dog feces contain nutritious substances like minerals, proteins, and fats that meet the food sources of rats in urban areas. Dog poop is also a rich source of nutrients for mice. 

Moreover, the smell of dog poop attracts the rats as it is pretty strong. Rats are foragers eager to eat dog poop to survive in harsh conditions. Yet, they are more likely to be appealed to by other food sources first, and dog poop is relatively low on their list of favored meals.

Do Rats Eat Human Poop?

human Poop

Yes, rats can occasionally eat human poop. Human poop is composed of substances like water, providing liquid nourishment to rats. Human feces also contain undigested food, fats, minerals, and proteins, providing primary nutrient sources to rats. 

So, rats can and do eat human waste, but it mainly occurs in suburban areas where rats live in the sewage system. Rats are not only attracted to the smell of human feces, but they also love human urine.

 Rats can get a nutritious diet from human poop if it is desperate; otherwise, they prefer to eat meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Not only rats but other rodents like mice can also eat human waste.

Do Rats Eat Chicken Poop?

Chicken Poop

Rats can also feed on chicken poop like human or dog poop. Although rats are not attracted to chickens, they like to eat chicken feed and their freshly laid eggs. If any chicken yard has chicken droppings, then many rats can gather in that yard.

 Another reason for liking chicken poop is that it contains some chicken food leftovers to which rats attract. The presence of rodents like rats and mice can stress the chicken because they can steal their freshly laid eggs. 

 Sometimes rats also attack and eat baby chickens for their survival. Occasionally they will attack adult chickens. Otherwise, they prefer to eat chicken feed and their droppings.

Which Animals Eat Their Poop?

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There are a lot of animals, including rats, that can eat their poop. For example, the phenomenon of coprophagia is accomplished by dogs, baby elephants, nonhuman primates (including rhesus monkeys and gorillas), mountain beavers, and lagomorphs (including hares, pikas, and rabbits). 

Not only rats but also many other rodents, including mice, naked mole rats, hamsters, and guinea pigs, can eat their poop. Most animals eat their poop, as mentioned above, but chimpanzees do not frequently ingest their feces.

The most obvious reason is that, like rabbits, chimpanzees eat some of the only partially digested seeds. Thus they eat them again to produce beneficial nutrients.

What Are Rats Favorite Food?

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Rats eat their poop only when they want to access such nutrients they can’t digest immediately. Otherwise, fresh fruits, cooked beans, brown rice, yogurt, cheese, breakfast cereals, and berries are their top favorite foods. 

Rats and mice can eat these foods at every opportunity because blackberry bushes, apples, raspberries, and pear trees are like magnets for these animals.

Usually, the serving sizes for rats are pretty small, like a teaspoon or half-inch cube, so they should not be given large amounts of fruits and vegetables in their meal because it can cause diarrhea.

How Do Rats Find Food?

Rats find their food due to a powerful sense of smell. Rat’s noses give them a particular perception of the specific distance and location of all kinds of food. In addition to the noses, rats have a second significant smell organ known as the vomeronasal organ or VNO. 

This organ allows rats to recognize smell on a necessarily different level. The VNO is a squeaky, ovular space in a rat’s nasal passage and helps sense species-specific pheromones. 

This smell organ allows the rats to whiff and trace scents more accurately than other animals. The rats can also smell other animals and track food through walls and obstacles.

What Foods Are Harmful To Rats?

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Rats have a remarkable tendency to eat almost all kinds of food, but some foods are still considered to be toxic for wild rats. Rats love to eat every type of cheese, but one prominent exception is blue cheese. 

As almost every type of cheese is safe for rats, but blue cheese is dangerous for the health of rats. The mold that grows on blue cheese makes it highly deadly to rats. 

Peanuts, green bananas, onions, spinach, and raw artichokes can lead to digestive complications in rats. Raw onions can limit oxygen supply and thus kill the rats. Citrus fruits and mangoes are dangerous for male rats as they can cause kidney problems.


The rats eat their poop as a source of nutrition and to maintain their gut flora as they are coprophagic, but they eat their poop only in harsh conditions. Rats are opportunistic feeders and can eat various foods, including fruits, vegetables, meat, chicken eggs, etc. 

Sometimes rats can also eat the poop of dogs, chickens, and humans to meet their nutritional requirements. Their dead mates or their babies for survival, particularly in starving conditions.