What animals do rats kill?

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Believe it or not, rats don’t actually want to eat that many other animals. There are, however, an awful lot of animals that like to prey on the humble rat. They are on the bottom of the food chain. In fact, they are mostly outside of the food chain. Lots above them, not much below them, but still thriving. They're an odd creature, that's for sure.

Rats have been known to chase, attack and then eat smaller animals, and these animals include insects, birds, and even fellow rodents - mice specifically. The animals that like to eat the rat include snakes, particularly poisonous rattlesnakes and various boa constrictors. There are lots of rats in the USA, and there are lots of snakes too. Other predators of the rat include owls and hawks, and eagles too, and also ground-dwelling critters, such as weasels and wildcats, coyotes, foxes, cats and dogs. In many cases, however, household cats are actually pretty frightened of rats. Dogs tend to be the biggest culprits, and many rats in residential areas fall prey to them.

There are many other animals that will prey on a rat, and that’s why they live and breed the way that they do. They produce large numbers of their species in a short space of time, specifically with the aim of taking over the world - spreading their numbers far and wide and trying to be as popular, literally, as possible. They want as many rats as possible to ensure the continuation of their species. If only they knew they had continued a little too far!

Rats might not prey on other animals much, but they certainly do eat a diverse range of foods. They will quite literally eat anything they come across, even if it wouldn’t seem that appealing to the likes of you and I. Rats in sewer systems, for example, have been known to eat human feces to gain nutrition from it, and more than that, even animal fees such as cats and dogs. Lots of leftover food gets thrown down the skin too, that's why the sewer systems are home to so many rats. They are excellent swimmers too, in case you didn’t know. The left-alone situations with a steady flow of food, and water to help them swim around - it all makes for the perfect rat home.

Rats are not only omnivores, but also very opportunistic feeders. They will eat leftovers of food that other animals leave behind, and they’ll often wreak havoc on farms and in gardens where foods are growing, particularly if those foods are fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, and a whole host more.

Just like other animals, rats will hoard food if they find a steady enough source of it, and that’s to make sure they’ve got plenty hidden in their nests for later - when they start reproducing. With up to ten babies at a time, it takes a lot to feed a small rodent family. They don’t drink from their mother for long. They will generally head out at night to find their food, mostly so that they can avoid other animals who may prey on them, and they are even more cautious than that too. They have been known to “try” food. Because their source of food will change so frequently, they never know what they are eating, so they try a bit and see how it goes. If they like it and it doesn't make them ill, they’ll continue to eat it. If they don’t like it, or it does make them sick, they will remember to avoid eating foods that smell like that in future.

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If you have any questions or comments, e-mail me at david@attic-rat.com