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Do Rats Kill Mice?

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Rats are a species that has learned to adapt depending on their circumstances, and while it would seem odd that rodents would kill other rodents, it is actually true that rats will kill mice and other rodents. Indeed, it is a phenomenon that has been studied by many different scientists, and the act of killing mice is known as muricide, and this particular behavior is one that has also had a genetic impact on the development of mice too.



Why Would Rats Kill Mice?

The primary reason that rats will kill mice is because they see the smaller rodents as a potential source of food, and studies carried out on this particular type of behavior indicates that this is almost always the reason that rats kill mice. Because mice aren't always the easiest of prey, rats that have an abundant other food source may not always kill any mice they encounter, but certainly when food is at a premium, they would take advantage of any mice they encounter as a source of food.

How Do The Rats Kill The Mice?

Studies carried out on this particular type of behavior show that many rats will actually kill the mice with their first bite, and when they do attack they will usually look to deliver a bite to the neck and head area, or the upper back where it is presented to them. The key is to try and deal with their prey quickly, although some mice when they see an attack coming will rear up on to their hind legs to try and prevent such an attack.

Consuming The Prey

While not all of the mouse's carcass will be consumed, several parts of the meat of the body will be eaten, with the neck area being eaten, while the liver, the brain and other organs are likely to be consumed by the rat. Depending on the time available and the amount of other food available, most or some of the carcass will be consumed by the rats.

The Natural Instincts Of Mice To Avoid Rats

Another of the interesting developments in the evolution of mice is that they have developed a natural inclination to avoid rats. This is achieved because mice have developed a fear instinct when they pick up the scent of rat urine, and where they do encounter this scent, they will usually look to vacate the area quickly to avoid any encounters with the rats in the area. Go back to the Rat Removal page or read my guide for How to get rid of rats.

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