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A conversation with my coworkers who have yards prompted an idea.

Are dried leaves okay for rats? We have people who are raking up a lot of leaves. I wondered about asking someone to get me a grocery bag full of leaves and let them dry out.

I foresee it being really messy, though, even if I try to keep them confined in a box. My wife might veto that just on principle. But assuming she goes along with it, any problem?

I would not consider pine needles of course.
 

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Plenty of other trees are poisonous. Unless you know for sure the leaves came from a safe tree and that the pages of said tree are also on the safe list, I wouldn't risk it personally. Leaves can make good bedding for goats, but they're designed to eat leaves haha.
 

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I agree. Unless you are REALLY good at identifying trees by their leaves it would be really difficult to know what leaves are in the mix. Not to mention the problem with cross contamination of other dangerous (for rats) plants and sap that might occur. If you really want to give them a treat I have gone to the woods and chosen a tree I know to be safe and "picked" a small branch from the live tree that still had some leaves attached to it. Since it's off the ground I was relatively certain it didn't have any mites, fleas or pesticides on it and I was sure of it's origin.
 

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The best way to do this (and the way I do it) is to pick safe leaves directly from a garden you know and know haven't treated anything. Fruit tree or bush leaves are generally safe (avoid cherry), as are edible nut trees. Give them a rinse and then let them dry out. They do make great filling for a digging box
 
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