Rats are considered some of the most bothersome pests of all. They can gnaw on basically anything – be it aluminum, soft concrete, plastic, wood, even the common cinder block. With their ever-growing teeth, the rat is always on the lookout for something to chew.
Despite its ability to munch on almost everything, the rat is vulnerable to several animals. Here are some of the rat’s fiercest predators:
List of Rat Predators
Outside of the jungle and forests, the cat proves to be the worst predator of the rat. Although most species are domesticated, they remain to be merciless carnivorous creatures. As such, they are favored to be an ‘urban’ method of rodent control.
The cat’s anatomy makes it a feared predator amongst rats. After all, it has a strong, flexible built, quick reflexes, retractable claws, and ultra-sharp teeth. Because of its impressive night vision, the cat doesn’t have any problems going after rodents and whatnot.
The cat also has fantastic hearing, as it can process sounds in the range of 500 Hz to 32 kHz. As such, it can detect the ultrasonic calls made by rodents and other types of household prey.
The cat usually begins its feeding by silently stalking its prey. Once it catches the rat, it makes use of its two long teeth to tear into its flesh. It usually targets the spinal cord, and as such, the cat can paralyze and kill its prey easily.
2. Rat Snake
The rat snake is a member of the subfamily Colubrinae. To wit, this makes it the ‘cousin’ of the milk snake, vine snake, kingsnake, and indigo snake. A native of the Northern hemisphere, the common rat snake can grow an average of 8 feet.
As the name suggests, the rat snake is a big predator of rats – though it considers a smaller bird a part of its repertoire as well.
The rat snake usually catches its prey at night, as the said creature prefers colder temperatures. This is actually advantageous to the rat snake because rats and birds tend to let their guard down during the night. Additionally, its predator – the hawk – is less active during nighttime.
Despite its preference for lower temperatures, the rat snake can digest food better in a hotter climate. While climate change is a bad thing for most animals, it’s actually very beneficial for the snake. As such, the serpent’s accelerated digestive process allows it to grow bigger than usual.
While the rat snake is an effective form of pest control for rodents, it poses very minimal risks to humankind. Most species are nonvenomous, although some carry a sort of venom that is basically harmless to men.
The hawk is the next predator of rats. This bird is one of the more popular birds of prey in the world. As with most predatory birds, this medium-sized creature that can hunt and feed on animals that may be larger than its size.
The hawk, like other raptors, has keen eyesight, strong talon-equipped feet, and curved beaks that can tear through flesh.
The different kinds of hawk predate on rats (and other smaller animals) through a number of ways. The buteos, also known as buzzards, pounce on their prey rather than going after them.
Most hawks, on the other hand, make use of its talons or its hooked claws. Once it catches its prey, it then uses its beak to kill the animal.
Although the hawk is known to be a fierce predator, it can be gentle and quiet as needed. It prefers hunting its prey during dusk when the lessening daylight allows it to catch its prey unexpectedly.
The owl is a bird that belongs to the order Strigiformes. The said family includes over 200 species. Some owls are considered birds of prey, while some are more solitary creatures.
Like most predatory birds, the usual owl has a large head, binocular vision, superb hearing, large talons, and a rather upright stance. Although most owls have these characteristics, certain species such as the burrowing owl and the northern hawk-owl do not have them.
Compare to other species, the female owl is markedly bigger than the male owl. Theories suggest that this enables the female owl to dismember its prey better – so she can feed the creature to its young right after.
The owl, which is comparably slower than other birds of prey, owes its predatory prowess to its wings. These are bigger than most, which enables the owl to fly silently. As such, it can catch a rat without the latter knowing that something has come, making owls one of the main rat predators.
The owl can also ‘feel’ its prey with the use of its filoplumes – feathers that are located on its beak.
The falcon, a bird of prey under the genus Falco, is a class of about 40 species. It is one of the fastest flying creatures in the world, mainly because of its thin, tapered wings. To wit, the peregrine falcon can dive at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour.
The falcon makes use of the teeth on the side of the beak to catch prey. This is in stark contrast to other birds of prey that make use of the usual talon.
Like the owl, the female falcon is larger, allowing it to prey on a variety of species, including rats.
One of the falcon’s more impressive properties that comes in useful when predating is its eyesight. It is unbelievably exceptional, as it is 2.6 times better than the average human. With its immense agility and stellar eyesight, preying on rats (and other creatures) is a stroll in the park for the common falcon.
The rat is a small creature that can feed on almost anything. It is considered a deadly pest, as it was deemed to be the harbinger of the Bubonic plague. Thankfully, its population can be controlled with the help of certain predators, such as the cat, rat snake, hawk, owl, and falcon.
I hope that this article on rat predators was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Animal Facts Page!