Do Squirrels Eat Rats? Find Out & Essential Prevention Tips!

As an experienced squirrel observer, I can confirm that indeed, squirrels do eat rats. But do not worry – there are several prevention tips available to help protect your home from rat predation by squirrels. In this blog post, I will provide essential information on whether squirrels eat rats and give useful advice on how to keep them away from your property.

Squirrels are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals. Though some squirrels have been known to eat small vertebrates like mice and lizards, there is no evidence to suggest that squirrels eat rats.

Squirrels As Omnivores

Squirrels belong to the biological order Rodentia and are classified as omnivores. This means that they feed on a wide variety of food sources including nuts, fruits, vegetables, eggs, insects, and even small vertebrates such as mice and voles. Squirrels have an instinctive need to gnaw on objects and this helps them to keep their incisors sharpened and ready for processing tough foods.

The diet of a squirrel can vary between regions. For example, eastern gray squirrels in North America may eat acorns, hickory nuts, walnuts, beechnuts, chestnuts, berries and various plants when in season. Tree squirrels are mostly associated with coniferous trees but will also consume other types of food depending on what’s available.

Squirrels’ Diet

Squirrels typically eat nuts, seeds, fruits, fungi, insects, and even birds’ eggs. They also scavenge small animals, such as mice and rats. Therefore, while it is not their primary food source or their preferred choice, squirrels do sometimes eat rats.

Rodent Ecology

Squirrels and rats are both part of the same biological order known as Rodentia. Understanding rodent ecology can provide context for understanding the relationship between squirrels and rats on a broader level. Rodents live in complex societies where predator-prey relationships exist between different species.

Rats are a favorite prey item of many carnivorous animals such as foxes and owls because they serve as a nutrient-rich food source and require little energy expenditure from predators to hunt. As rodents compete for resources within their environment they often come into direct contact with predators, leading to extreme changes or fluctuations in populations.

Predator-Prey Relationships

As predators seek out prey items like rats for sustenance, natural selection has allowed some rodents like squirrels to become opportunistic omnivores that feed off smaller creatures like mice alongside their more preferred dietary options like nuts or berries. By taking advantage of pre-existing food sources left behind by predators, squirrels can save energy that would normally be used on finding other nutritional sources.

The presence of predators is also beneficial for controlling rodent populations as they put pressure on the population size through predation. Although this may limit the availability of food sources for some species it keeps the population in check thus preventing overcrowding and competition amongst individuals.

Squirrels & Small Vertebrates

Mice and other small vertebrates such as rabbits make up a large part of the diet for certain species of squirrels such as flying squirrels. These animals are nocturnal hunters which allows them access to food sources at night without having to compete with larger mammals who are active during the day. Additionally, small vertebrates require less energy expenditure from the squirrel then larger mammals such as deer or elk.

Mice & Squirrels: A Closer Look

Mice form an important part of any healthy ecosystem however they can cause significant damage when not managed properly. They tend to congregate near buildings due to accessibility of food sources like stored grains or pet food which makes homes or businesses more vulnerable to infestations.

What Attracts Rats To Your Home?

Food Sources

Rats are attracted by easily accessible food sources present around buildings. Household scraps or pet food left outside create attractive opportunities for these animals. Other common attractants include uncovered compost heaps, fallen fruit from trees, bird tables/feeders filled with seed and spilled grain left unsecured inside barns or silos.

Rats also need warmth, so homes with warm basements often attract large numbers of rodents due to temperature regulation coupled with potential access points into the home itself further increasing appeal potential.

Shelter & Protection

Mice, Squirrels and Rats all seek shelter and protection in the same ways – they hide in dark spaces, behind objects, and in burrows. They are also adept climbers, which means they can easily climb up the walls of your home to get into attics or other protected areas. Rats and mice both have strong claws and teeth which help them to break into homes or chew through cardboard boxes.

When seeking shelter, rodents will look for areas that are close to food sources or places that offer a warm climate. This makes rats particularly attracted to homes as they can find food easily indoors as well as enjoy the warmth from the central heating. Squirrels on the other hand may prefer trees but will move indoors if the weather gets too cold.

Climate & Habitat

Both squirrels and rats have adapted to numerous climates over the years, making them quite hardy when it comes to surviving. They tend to favor warmer climates, making it easy for them to survive extreme temperatures. While rats can be found almost anywhere, squirrels tend to be most commonly spotted in temperate environments such as forests and woodlands.

Rodents also follow their primary food sources, so they may switch habitats depending on seasonal availability. In some cases they may even migrate long distances in search of better living conditions or a more abundant food supply. Additionally, certain species of rodents are more acclimated to certain climates than others, allowing them to maintain their population levels regardless of environmental factors.

Squirrels & Rats: What’s The Difference?

Physical Characteristics

Squirrels and rats have distinct differences when it comes to physical characteristics that affect their behavior and habitat choices. For instance, squirrels have significantly larger bodies compared to mice with longer legs making them better suited for climbing trees or jumping from branch-to-branch. Rats however are smaller with shorter legs making them better suited for living beneath surfaces such as soil or under decks or sheds.

Rats tails are also thin and hairless while squirrels tails are thicker and bushier which helps them balance while jumping from tree-to-tree or when navigating complex branches in an outdoor environment.


Rats typically stay near the ground level while squirrels often live higher up in trees depending on the environment they inhabit. This obviously affects how these two types of rodent interact with each other – rats rarely come into contact with squirrels unless they intrude upon a squirrel’s nesting area while looking for shelter.

In terms of diet both rodents eat similar fruits, nuts and seeds, but squirrels also consume insects at times whereas rats tend to stick to plant-based diets. Lastly, unlike rats which usually gather food during night hours when there is less activity outdoors due to people being inside, squirrels actively search for food both day and night.

Habitat & Diet

  • Nests:Squirrels are more likely to be found outdoors in trees or burrows while Rats tend to nest inside buildings.
  • Diet:Rats usually feed on a plant-based diet while Squirrels have a more varied diet consuming both plants and insects.

Preventing Squirrels From Eating Rats

Rodents can be a huge nuisance in homes, but the good news is that an infestation is preventable. There are several steps one can take to ensure that rats and squirrels stay away from your living space.

The first step towards keeping rodents at bay is to identify potential entry points around your home. Cracks or holes in walls, windows, doors, and rooflines should all be sealed off with caulk or steel mesh to keep out small pests. Additionally, foods should not be left out overnight as this may attract rodents looking for an easy meal.

Eliminate Food Sources

  • Remove food sources such as unsecured garbage cans that provide easy access for rodents.
  • Store pet food indoors to avoid luring rodents into your yard or home.
  • Pick up fallen fruit from around your fruit trees so that rodents cannot access it as an easy source of nutrition.

How To Get Rid of Mice In Your Home or Garage

If you have already identified a rodent infestation in your home or garage, the next step is to safely remove them. Start by removing any food sources they might have access to by securely storing food items such as grains and nuts in airtight containers placed on shelves too high for rodents to reach. You can also employ traps like snap traps or sticky boards which are specially designed for catching mice.

You may also consider using electronic devices like ultrasonic sound repellents which emit a sound only audible to rats and mice that makes them flee from the area. Proper sanitation practices are important for preventing rodent populations from growing inside the home; make sure all leaky pipes and standing water around sinks or bathtubs are fixed quickly.

Rodent Control Strategies For Property Owners

If preventing rodent populations isn’t enough, there are still multiple options available through contracts with local pest control professionals who specialize specifically on exterminating microfaunal species (including nonvenomous snakes ) if necessary – it’s advisable seeking qualified professional help first before trying more extreme measures yourself – never handle dangerous chemicals without proper expertise!

Be sure check city ordinances regarding extermination methods & laws protecting endangered animal species living near properties you own. Also double-check safety advisories about poison baits & outdoor traps that might affect children instead intended targets.


Which animal is more intelligent: rats or squirrels?

When it comes to intelligence, there is no doubt that squirrels take the crown. With their quickness and intellect, they outsmart rats and mice – even those who are trying to hunt them for food! Squirrels have the upper hand in terms of agility, pure brainpower, and adapting to their environment. Ultimately, this makes them smarter than both rats and mice.

Do squirrels hunt and kill rats?

Squirrels and rats differ in many ways, but will squirrels kill rats? Generally speaking, it is possible that a hungry squirrel may take the opportunity to catch and consume a rat.

  • Rats are usually bigger than squirrels, and a quickness advantage might not be enough for a victorious outcome for the squirrel.
  • If their food sources become scarce, squirrels may resort to hunting small mammals, including rats, for sustenance.

Do ground squirrels hunt and kill mice?

Ground squirrels have a natural predatory instinct and may hunt mice for food during times when other sources of sustenance are scarce. However, this is not a common behavior, and they typically only hunt mice when necessary. To protect themselves from larger predators, ground squirrels use their intelligence and quickness to outwit and evade them.


In conclusion, it is clear that do squirrels eat rats is not something they would typically do. However, as an extra precaution, it would be best to take steps to prevent squirrels from entering your home or property in order to keep all wildlife safe. By doing things like keeping your yard and gardens tidy and trimming branches away from walls and roofs, you can help ensure that no rat population is disturbed or put at risk.

Overall, there is no need to worry about a squirrel-rat conflict, however being informed on all the facts helps you protect the wild animals around you. Remember that if you ever have any questions or concerns about these critters, don’t hesitate to contact your local wildlife center for advice and assistance.

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