It’s an image that many probably have in mind when they think of rodents. The animal holds a nut in its hands and gnaws diligently on it. And for many rodents, such as squirrels, this is indeed the case. But is this also true for mice? Can mice eat nuts?
Mice can eat nuts, but they should not get too many of them. Nuts are very fatty and could cause your mice to become overweight if they eat too many. A quarter or half a nut per day per mouse is quite enough.
Nuts are therefore quite suitable for mice, but should only be fed in moderation.
Let’s see what types of nuts are suitable for mice and which are not. Then we will also clarify why nuts are so healthy, but why you should still not feed too many nuts to your mice.
Can Mice Eat Nuts?
We have already explained that mice are allowed to eat nuts. However, they should not eat too many nuts. This is something that you need to keep in mind as an owner.
Nuts are a high-fat and nutritious meal that also tastes good to mice. Your mice will probably jump at the small nut meal you give them and gobble it up.
At least as well as they can gobble it up. Nuts are also quite hard. Mice can bite on them for a while to break them up into bite-sized pieces.
That’s another aspect besides the food intake aspect. Nuts can also be an activity for your mice. With a quarter or half of a nut, a mouse will have some activity, to begin with. And it’s important for your mice to have some activity.
You can even use the nuts as an adventure food. To do this, hide the nuts in places in the mouse cage that the mice can’t easily reach. This also corresponds to their natural search for food and gives them the opportunity to live a little more naturally.
Foraging takes up a large portion of wild mice’s daytime. Pet mice also have the instinct to forage. You can help your mice do this by not always placing food ready to eat in front of them.
Foraging incidentally also promotes the movement of your mice. They love to go in search of food. And of course, they are happy when they are successful.
What Nuts Can Mice Eat?
Mice can actually eat all common types of nuts. But an important exception is bitter almonds! They can be toxic to mice. We explain why in the next section.
As for the other nuts, you can safely feed the following nuts:
- Sweet almonds
You can even feed your mice the peanuts in their shells. They are able to crack the shell. The situation is different from the other nuts. You have to feed them to your mice without the shell.
Cashews are also a nut that you better be careful with. Not so much because of their ingredients, but because of toxic substances that may be on them. We will also explain this in the next section.
In addition to nuts, seeds are also very popular with mice. However, these also contain a lot of fat and should only be fed sparingly. You can feed the following seeds to mice:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Pine nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Corn kernels
If you want to play it safe, just get this F.M. Brown’s Tropical Carnival* mix, which contains many different treats that are all good for mice.
What Nuts Can Mice not Eat?
We mentioned it briefly above, but in that case, it doesn’t hurt to write it down twice.
In any case, do not give your mice bitter almonds! Bitter almonds contain prussic acid, which is toxic for mice and other animals.
By the way, prussic acid is also poisonous for us humans, but we are also a bit bigger than mice. Therefore, we can tolerate more of it before we fall over.
For mice, even a smaller portion of prussic acid is enough to harm them. Therefore, you should avoid bitter almonds completely.
You should also not necessarily feed cashews to your mice. However, they are not as dangerous as bitter almonds.
If left untreated, cashews may still contain traces of a toxin found in their shells. This is the toxic oil Cardol, which can cause severe burns to the mucous membranes.
While cashews are not usually sold untreated, you never know. It is always possible that some of the toxic oil will remain on the cashews.
You surely know that it is the dose that makes the poison. Maybe you wouldn’t notice anything at all if you ate a few cashews in front of the TV in the evening. But for your mice, the same dose could already be dangerous.
If you want to play it safe, it’s better to avoid cashews in your mice.
Why Are Nuts so Healthy?
Nuts contain many healthy nutrients. Even the fats in nuts are good fats.
Namely, there are mainly polyunsaturated fatty acids in nuts. These lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol in humans.
These fatty acids also have an anti-inflammatory effect. So by feeding nuts, you can even prevent inflammation in your mice.
Nuts also contain a lot of fiber, which is healthy for the intestines.
But even with dietary fiber, too much is not healthy.
In a long-term study, it was shown that soluble fiber together with a high-fat diet can lead to obesity, an increase in body fat, and insulin resistance in mice.
Insulin resistance is a precursor to diabetes. So there are real dangers for mice if they are fed the wrong diet. We will discuss this point again in detail below.
Nuts also contribute to muscle building and improvement of brain performance.
Last but not least, nuts also contain micronutrients that have a positive effect on hormones, well-being, and the body’s resistance.
So nuts are almost a kind of superfood. They give your mice many important nutrients. So it’s perfectly reasonable to include nuts in your mice’s diet.
Too bad that nuts also make them fat. Otherwise, you could give your mice a lot more of this healthy food.
But you should really keep it to one quarter or half nut per day. And if you feed sunflower seeds instead of nuts, one seed per day is sufficient for one mouse.
Why Should Mice not Eat too Many Nuts?
Nuts are a real fattener! They contain many healthy fats, but they are still fats. And they will make your mice fat if you are not careful.
The consequences of obesity in mice are not really pleasant:
- Lower mobility
- Lower performance
- Organ fatty degeneration and damage
- Stress on the cardiovascular system
- Stress on the bones
- Metabolic disorders
That’s a pretty bad list. I don’t think you want any of these for your mice.
And it can happen quickly because mice eat a lot when they get the chance. The mice themselves will not watch their weight. That’s something you need to do as a mouse owner.
So you really should be sparing when feeding nuts and seeds. A quarter or half nut or seed per day per mouse is the maximum!
Even if your mice like these high-fat foods, you are not doing them any favors by giving them too much. Always remember that proper feeding amounts are your responsibility, not your mice’s.
Stick to the recommended amounts we mentioned above. There are other foods that your mice will enjoy just as much, but are less dangerous.
Conclusion: Can Mice Eat Nuts?
Mice can eat most nuts. These include peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, macadamia and sweet almonds.
Under no circumstances should you feed your mice bitter almonds, as they contain prussic acid!
You should also be careful with cashews. Normally cashews should be treated so that they no longer contain poison. But you never know.
However, do not give your mice too many nuts, otherwise, they could become overweight. Obesity has some serious consequences in mice.
If you take the tips in this article to heart, there is nothing to stop your mice from enjoying a nut every now and then. And then it will not harm them either.