Rat Predators: What Animals Eat Rats?

Rat Predators: What Animals Eat Rats?

You don’t want rats hanging around or nesting on your property. Rats have natural predators. Learn about what animals eat rats!

Your home is your pride and joy! From the well-manicured lawn and landscaping, to the warm and inviting decor inside. Your home is your happy place and safe haven. It’s a place to share with family and friends, but not rodents!

Rats are sneaky, smart, free-loading creatures. They would like nothing more than to enjoy the cozy space you’ve worked so hard to create. Keeping them out of the house and off your property is a top priority. If they do find a way in, havoc will ensue.

Luckily, there are tried and true effective ways to prevent rats from invading. If you really want to protect your home from rats, you’ve got to go on the offensive! One strategy that often gets overlooked is letting nature work for you.

If you garden, you know that the ecosystem has a certain balance that you can make work in your favor. Lady bugs in the garden with actually feed on other bugs that will harm your flowers and plants. A bird feeder near the garden will attract birds that will also prey on harmful bugs. Letting your dog out in the yard will deter little bunnies from sneaking into your garden and munching. This is nature’s food chain, and you can manipulate it to work in your favor. Most people don’t know that you can apply the same concept to pest control and prevention with rats!

Just like any other rodent or animal, rats have natural predators. What eats rats?? They are such nasty things! Off the top of your head, you may not be able to think of animals that kill rats. What animal is a rats natural enemy? They don’t have an iconic enemy, like the lion and the lamb, but they are definitely hunted.

Find out what animals eat rats, and how nature’s predators could help protect your home!

Do Birds Eat Rats?

a bird on standing on a fence looking down at what animals eat rats

Image Courtesy of All About Birds

Yes, birds do eat rats! Large birds of prey, specifically raptors, can be formidable predators. They will snatch up a rat any chance they get! Birds that commonly eat rats:

  • Hawks
  • Falcons
  • Owls
  • Eagles

In rural areas you have a strong chance of many of these birds being nearby, except the eagle, of course. Suburban areas are home to hawks and owls, though less frequently so than farmland and woodland areas. If you reside in a city center, the possibility of birds of prey scaring off rats is minimal. In urban areas humans are the dominant natural predator.

Make nature work for you: tips for attracting birds of prey to your property.

These large birds need a water source, and a place to nest or roost. If your property doesn’t have a natural water source such as a pond or fountain, you can easily set up a water source. A simple bird bath will do the trick and It requires very little maintenance. The rain water that collects inside will be enough to attract birds.

Raptors will be attracted to natural looking areas. Try letting your grass grow up a little or even cultivating a small field area if your property is large enough. Don’t remove too many trees from your land, as these provide roosting spots and hunting space for the birds. If your property lacks mature trees you can actually create a perch or nesting box for the birds. The best possible outcome is that they would nest and breed there, creating a constant threat to the rats.

Other Wild Animals that Prey on Rats

Of all the wild animals that eat rats, birds may be the only ones you actually want hanging around your house.


Snakes are another natural enemy of rats. You might not be comfortable with the thought of a snake dwelling n your property, but the truth is, most snakes that live near residential homes are completely harmless. Here are the most common ones:

  • Garter snake
  • Fox snake
  • Bull snake

These non-venomous, relatively small snakes will not bother you. But they will bother the rats!

Their diet includes small birds, eggs and, (most importantly) rats. Almost snakes will eat small rodents including mice, rats and squirrels when they have the opportunity. Rat snakes, specifically, are found in the Southeastern United States but can be found as far north as New England and Michigan, hunt down rats.

Whereas birds of prey are predominantly found in rural or suburban areas, snakes will inhabit urban areas. They are known to live in abandoned buildings. They also thrive in more rural settings, living in barns and sheds. Snakes kill rats by constricting them, then eating them.

Make nature work for you: tips for cohabiting with snakes on your property.

It’s pretty simple- let snakes be. Your gut reaction to a snake is probably the same reaction you have to a rat! Do not panic. Snakes are not known to invade and nest in homes. In fact, they avoid confrontation with humans all together. It’s possible that you may have a snake living on your property and you’ve never even seen it. If you do see a snake on your land, resist the urge to kill it. Allow it follow its predatory instincts and act as an active rodent control method.


The long-tailed weasel can be found in all parts of the U.S. This energetic little woodland animals are excellent hunters, and rats are at the top of their list. The track rats by following their scent and sound. Weasels primarily hunt at night, which makes them very effective predators because rats are most active during the nighttime. Weasels are pretty harmless and will most likely be helpful to solving rat problems for rural residents and farmers.

Domestic Pets: Do Cats and Dogs Eat Rats?

Maybe you already have a natural predator living right in your home! Some dogs can make excellent protectors for your home. They may keep watch, and alert you of danger, but dogs are not inclined to eat rats. Although certain breeds of dogs like Jack Russell Terriers, Dachshunds, German Pinschers are known to kill rats when caught in a confrontation with one.

a cat sitting on a porch looking down at what animals eat rats

Image Courtesy of The Happy Cat Site

Cats, on the other hand, are probably the closest thing that rats have to a natural enemy. Wild cats regularly hunt rats. Cats are just as smart, sneaky, and cunning as rats. Their wits are well matched, but cats have the obvious physical advantage. Domestic cats do not always hunt rats though. It can just depend on the temperament of your feline friend. If your cat is pampered, it may not be into hunting rats.

An outdoor cat is more likely to be an effective predator. They are more alert and motivated to hunt. They want to protect their territory. Cats are obviously not a threat to humans and typically live for about 15 years. Having one around could help deter rats for a long time!

Keeping Rats Away

Having natural predators around to deter rats is a good idea, but this should not be your only rodent control strategy! Effective rat control requires exclusion, proper home maintenance and cleaning, and professional inspections. Coordinate your efforts with the experts at Green Rat Control. They will help you craft a custom rat control strategy that meets your unique needs.

You can start with a free consultation, contact Green Rat Control today!