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What Eats Rats And Mice? What You Need To Know About Rodents

What eats rats

You were walking around your property like on any typical day when you noticed something odd: a streak of dirt against a wall. Unsure what you were looking at, you went closer and found chew marks in the wood. Then, you spotted what looked like dark brown grains of rice about half an inch long. All signs of a very unwelcome visitor: rats.

Now, no one wants rats or mice invading their home. These rodents cause destruction. Worse, they bring disease. They can even attack if startled.

At the same time, you don’t want to resort to chemical solutions unless you absolutely must. Your next thought might be whether there are any natural ways to deal with your rat problem. Which predators might take care of the rats? Stepping back, your more significant question is probably: what eats rats?

In this comprehensive post, we cover all of the most common animals we might have in our yards, and our homes, why employing some of them probably isn’t an excellent idea, as well as what other methods you can use to control rats and mice.

Ready? Some of these answers will be more surprising than others.

Do raccoons eat rats

Do Raccoons Eat Rats? What About Mice?

While not quite at their level, raccoons are like goats–they’ll eat pretty much anything if they have no other choice. So, the technical answer to this question is yes. Raccoons will eat these smaller rodents if there is no better option available to them.

Think this through, though. Do you want to take care of a rat problem or an issue with mice with raccoons? What’s the likely outcome there?

Answer: you’re going to create a raccoon problem. It’s hard to say whether that’s better or worse than having rats or mice, but it probably isn’t a question of either-or.

Why? Because if you try to entice raccoons to your property to control the rats, or if you have them deal with mice, they will go after other food sources first. Plants. Animals. Garbage. They’ll wreak havoc on your property.

What will happen to the rodents at that point? They’ll probably do just fine. In other words, you’ll have a raccoon and a rat or mouse problem.

The better option is to consider what other ways you might be able to deal with your rodent problem naturally.

Do foxes eat rats

Do Foxes Eat Rats and Mice?

Like raccoons, foxes are omnivores. While raccoons will only turn to rats and mice as a last resort, foxes have no problem incorporating these rodents into their diet. They’ll even kill more than they can eat and save the leftovers for later.

Not bad if you’re trying to get rid of a rat problem quickly, right? Or if you never want to see a mouse again?

Foxes will also eat plants and rubbish, just like raccoons. If you have small livestock like chickens, inviting a fox onto your property is like providing them with a buffet.

In conclusion, foxes aren’t the best answer to your rodent problem.

Do Snakes Eat Rats And Other Rodents?

Now we’re getting somewhere. Snakes are carnivores, and they will happily devour mice and rats.

Unfortunately, if you’ve ever owned a pet snake, you know that their eating requirements are pretty minimal. Even when they’re young and growing, they need maybe two meals a week. Once they reach adulthood, that shrinks to once a week—at most.

If you’re dealing with a sizable rodent population, one snake living in your yard probably won’t help much. Perhaps the better question is: do you want to set a bunch of snakes loose on your property to handle your resident rodents?

Do Owls Eat Rats And Mice?

Barn owls and tawny owls will go after mice and rats enthusiastically, but are they viable solutions? Maybe.

To use owls to curb the mice and rat population, you must set up some nest boxes on your property to attract them. These boxes should be placed high up but near the problem area, so the owls can observe their prey and quickly swoop down on them.

Be aware that owls will also go after other small animals in the area, including baby chicks, if you raise chickens.

Do Dogs Eat Rats? Will Fido Feast On A Mouse?

Will Fido find and defeat those pesky rats? No, not really. However, several dog breeds are pretty good at hunting and killing rats and other small rodents, including Jack Russell Terriers, Dachshunds, German Pinschers, and—of course—Rat Terriers.

There are two potential downsides to using your canine companion for your rat and mice control:

  1. You’ll have to clean up the mess since they’re not eating the rodents, just hunting them. This is not necessarily a deal breaker, but it isn’t fun.
  2. If you get a dog primarily for this purpose, you must now care for it. Again, not a big deal if you want a dog as a pet, but if your sole goal is to get rid of mice or rats, that’s a big responsibility to take on.

Do Cats Eat Rats And Rodents?

Come on, you know they do! Every episode of Tom & Jerry is about a cat trying to catch and eat a mouse. As with all of the animals listed here, there are potential issues.

The first one is that, as, with the dog example above, you’re committing to caring for a pet if you get a cat to handle your rat problem. Cats tend to live pretty long, too. At the minimum, you’re probably looking at 12-15 years, and many cats live closer to 20 years.

The second issue is that outdoor rat and mouse problems require an outdoor cat. That’s not just as simple as deciding to open your door and let your current cat have at them if he or she has mostly been indoors until now. Outdoor skills are something they have to learn, and it’s hard to do so after cats are already adults.

Why not just get an outdoor cat? Sure, okay. But what guarantee do you have that the new cat you’ve just set free will stick around?

Unlike dogs, which are loyal to a fault, most cats are thrilled to be able to come and go as they please. This can mean that they won’t be much help with your rat problem and can get themselves into other types of trouble you may have to deal with.

Do rats eat mice

Do Rats Eat Mice?

Here’s a weird one: can you get rid of mice by sending rats after them?

The answer is yes. Rats will eat anything if they get hungry, including mice. It’s known as muricide.

You’re not considering using rats to deal with a mice infestation, though, are you? Because you can see what kind of problem you’d be left with, right? A rat problem!

What eats mice in a house

What Eats Mice In A House?

These are pretty much the things that we’ve already covered here: rats, cats, and snakes. At least, those three listed animals we can realistically see being used in a house to kill and eat mice. In the case of rats, they’ll do it on their own if you’re dealing with both problems, and they come across a mouse when they’re hungry.

If you are thinking about the other animals that prey on rodents, add hawks and vultures to the list, especially in a more rural area.

There’s a better question than what kinds of animals eat rats, though—what can you do to eliminate them without using dangerous poisons and chemicals?

Since that’s probably why you investigated these alternatives in the first place, let’s talk about some other ways to get rid of rats.

Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Rats Or Mice

Now we’re getting down to the heart of the matter: how to keep rats away from your home. What natural tactics can you try to encourage rats and mice to leave?

Try Exclusion

What’s the primary tactic pest professionals use to combat rodent problems? Exclusion. What does that mean, exactly? Technicians will inspect your home and property to determine how the rats and mice are getting in, whether through a tiny crack in your siding, a hole in your eaves, or a loose part of your fence.

Once these openings are sealed, you’ll make it harder for rodents to find their way in. Since these entry points can develop over time, most companies recommend annual inspections to ensure your home continues to be less attractive to these pesky pests.

Use Scented Deterrents

Borrow a cat or dog and let the animal mark its territory near where the rats stay. This signals to rodents that there’s a potential predator and should encourage them to leave. Rats also hate ammonia.

Use Taste Deterrents

Wasabi. Hot pepper sauce. Ammonia. If you notice rats chewing on something—like, for example, wires—douse the problem with something spicy or with another type of pungent taste, you can send them scurrying.

Experiment With Live Traps

It’s not hard to find cages and trip traps designed for rats. They become stuck inside once they spring the web and can be removed at your leisure. The issue with live traps is that they are time-consuming and not legal everywhere. Before you buy any, make sure local law allows you to use them.

Remove Food Sources

Want the rats to go? Figure out what they’re eating and remove anything that might attract these rodents, so they must forage farther and farther away to survive. Eventually, they’ll realize that it makes no sense to stay on your property when their food source is elsewhere.

Remove Hiding Spots

Where do rats hide? Look at any cracks and crevices in and around your home’s exterior and dense vegetation. Block up holes. Rip up areas they like to hide under. Keep the site generally clean. It has been shown that this is just as effective as poison at getting rid of rats and even more effective at keeping them away.

ABC Can Take Care Of Your Rat Problem

You can employ any of these methods independently, but each has problems. Some are only minimally or temporarily effective. Others require specific skill sets or take a lot of work. If you’re struggling to deal with a rat or mouse problem alone, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. We’ll handle the hard work for you and give you the tools you need to ensure no rats or mice return once you’ve kicked them out.

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