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Rats are a species that can be considered to be truly omnivorous, as their bodies are able to process almost any type of food, and this has been one of the key features in their success as a species. They aren't large creatures, but they lie above many other species in the food chain, and will largely adapt their diet to suit their surroundings and the type of food sources that are available. As well as being able to kill a variety of different species, rats can also prey on juvenile animals and eggs, all depending on what is available.
The Diet Of The Rat
The majority of rats will be predators to some species in their natural habitats, and their natural ability to adapt their diet to the food stuffs available means that what a rat will eat in one place will not be the same as in other locations. Hunting other animals can also be more challenging, so in areas around people where there is plenty of food that can be scavenged, the rats will often focus their diet on what they can scavenge, and may only prey opportunistically on other animals.
Animals The Some Rats Can Kill
Rats will eat and consume all types of different animals in their surroundings, and this can include small mammals, birds, lizards and fish, because there are some species of rat that are semi aquatic and do most of their hunting in the water. Small turtles and snakes, crabs, other rodents and other scavengers are also regularly prey for rats.
Humans Kill Rats
Of course, humans kill rats too. If you want to know how to do it effectively, read my How to kill rats guide. In general, I advise the use of snap traps, and never the use of poison.
Rats Killing Mice
One of the interesting aspects of a rat's diet is that they can and will prey on mice and smaller rodents when the opportunity arises, and this particular type of killing is known as muricide. The tendency to kill mice is one that has actually reflected in the evolution of mice, as they have a natural instinct to flee when they sense the smell of rat urine, which is primarily to protect them from becoming the prey of the rat.
Do Rats Kill Mice?
Do Rats Kill Other Rats?
While rats are generally animals that try to look after their own survival, there are times when rats can kill other rats too. Males will sometimes fight when they encounter each other, while it is also fairly common when rats become too dominant in the food chain and there is insufficient food, and they will then start to kill each other when the opportunity is available.
Go back to the Rat Removal page, or for more instructions read my How to get rid of rats guide, or learn specifically about How to remove rats in the attic.