Do Rats Attack Pond Fish [How to Protect Fish Pond]

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Rats are scavengers. The hunting mammals can eat grains, flour, and even small animals. As you must know, domestic animals are much more vulnerable and helpless than wild animals. Therefore, an easy target for rats. You must be wondering, do rats attack pond fish?

Yes. Rats attack pond fish. They are excellent swimmers and will attempt to attack any fish they can reach in the pond. Shallow ponds like the one in your backyard or garden are relatively easy for rats to get inside and feast on the fish.

It is typical for rats to attack animals due to food. It is the exact reason for their attack on aquatic animals. Continue reading to find more detail.

How To Stop Rats To Attack Pond Fish
How To Stop Rats From Attack Pond Fish

Do Rats Go In Fish Ponds?

Rats attack almost all domestic animals. They will try to get inside the aviary, cages, and coops, and the pond is no exception. The fish ponds in the backyard or garden will attract rats.

Rats will get inside the fish pond to treat the fish feed or aquatic plants and small fishes. It is effortless for rats to find their way to the pond inside your house and equally easy to get inside, especially when it’s shallow.

However, rats can swim, so getting inside a fish pond is not difficult.

Are Rats Attracted To Fish?

Rats are attracted to every food cooked, raw, or rotten. The fish, especially the smelly rotten fish, will attract rats. In general, fishes have a strong smell that rats can smell from miles away.

Rats are attracted to the feed you give to the fish. They are attracted to the fish feed more than the fish itself.

However, during that search for fish feed, it can eat one or two fish from the pond.

The worst situation in your yard can be starving rats. These rats can practically eat anything, including fish feed and fish itself.

Are Rats Attracted To Rotten And Smelling Fish?

Rats are nocturnal creatures that hunt at night for food. They are attracted to almost every kind of food, even pet feed, and rotten food items.

As rats are omnivorous, they can eat different vegetables, fruits, grains, and meat.

They have sensitive olfactory receptors, which guide them in the direction of food through smell. Plus, rats can devour fresh food, raw food, leftovers, and even rotten food like fish.

The smell of the rotten fish attracts rats, and they will jump on your dustbin to search for it.

Therefore, it is always better to discard smelly rotten fish in the plastic bag so that their smell does not bring the rats around.

Do Rats Take Pond Fish?

Yes. Rats can take away pound fish. The sharp-smelling receptors of rats and mice help them toward the food source like fish. They love to munch on all types of meat, including fish.

Rats can take out the fish from the pond and take it to its burrow to save it for later. Usually, the target on the pond is fish feed, but if a rat finds small fish, it will take them out of the pond and enjoy feasting on them.

Do Rats Eat Live Fish?

Rats are keen eaters and eat many small animals live, including fish. It can attack the fish in the pond. Rats are good swimmers, and it is easy for them to attack and eat live fish.

Typically, ponds are small and shallow. Therefore, it is easy for rats to get inside them.

A research article by Nancy Knowlton states that non-native rats can destroy the ecosystem.

As rats feed on the fishes and other aquatic animals, it impacts the food chain decreasing food sources for seabirds.

This research essay clarifies that rats can eat live fish, whether in a pond or coral reefs.

Do Water Rats Eat Goldfish?

Yes, rats can eat goldfish or any other type of fish they can grab in their claws and teethes. Rats are semi-aquatic, which explains why they are excellent swimmers.

Fish ponds provide an ample supply of food to the rats. It includes fish in the pond and feed. When they find the fish pond, they will first look for fish feed.

If the fish feed is not available, they will attack the fish regardless of the type. Fish ponds are the uncomplicated food source for rats in the wild.

They will attempt to kill almost all the small fish in the pond, including the goldfish, which is not typically any longer than six inches.

Why Do Your Pond Fish Attract Rats?

Rats are attracted to any place for food, and fish ponds are no exception. It will probably build a nest nearby after finding a continuous food source.

The small fish ponds in the house garden are an uncomplicated food source for rats for multiple reasons mentioned below.

Fish Feed

Rats are attracted to pet animals’ feeds. It is the main reason most domestic animals get killed by rats. The fish are no exception.

Even though the quantity of fish food is specific, some people still pour in more than required, which ends up being dangerous for the aquatic animal.

Fish eat a specific amount of feed, and the rest will be the target of the rats residing in your garden. The worst situation is keeping the feed near the fish pond.

Keeping a big bucket of fish feed next to the pond might be helpful to you but will put your fish in danger.

Aquatic Plants

Rats are omnivorous. They can eat grains, vegetables, and meat. Certain kinds of leafy plants in the fish ponds will attract the rats. The rats will get inside the pond to munch on these plants and will contaminate the pond.

The rat’s visits might cause diseases in the fish that can harm the fish and humans.

According to 1981 research on the disease, a farmer died from the disease called, Leptospirosis, which spread from the rats infesting the pond and nearby garden.

Bird Nest

Birds build their nest near the ponds, especially when you have a pond in the garden with lots of trees. Rats are climbers and swimmers. They are always looking for ways to attack food sources.

Therefore, two food sources at close distances will attract rats to burrow in the garden.

The fish ponds with ducks will be the rat’s favorites as they will require no climbing, and they can attack ducklings and eggs.

Small Fishes

Another main reason for the rats’ visits to the fish pond is small fish. Rats can smell food sources like fish ponds from miles away, and starving wild rats can eat anything they find.

The fishes inside the house ponds are small and no longer than a few inches. It is uncomplicated for rats to jump and attack them.

Small fish are vulnerable and obviously cannot fight against rats.

Unclean Surrounding Area

The dirty pond and surrounding area are the main reason for the rats’ infestation. Rats like to live in dirty places, and filthy and unkept spaces provide plenty of hiding space and food sources.

Plus, the dirty pond is even worse for the health of the aquatic animals and plants. The overgrown bushes in the garden will provide nesting space for rats.

How Do I Protect My Pond Fish?

It is essential to protect pond fish from predators. One must take all the measures to prevent rat infestation in the pond and the surrounding area. Some methods given below will help you.

Structure Of Pond

This step is initial and necessary. You must analyze the structure of the pond before building it.

When you want to keep all the fish predators out of the pond, ensure that the pond is not shallow, as it will be simple for rats to jump inside such ponds.

Instead, focus on making the fish pond as steep as possible it will keep the rats out.

Install Fence

Installing a fence around the pond is the most effective way of protecting pond fish. With no access to the pond, rats will leave the area.

You can make a high wooden or metal fence with thick hardware cloth to prevent rats from making holes.

You can install an electric fence. To prevent rats from chewing through it. Thus, providing more safety and security to pond fish.


An old but effective method to trap predators is to use nets. There are serval types of nets available for this purpose.

I recommend you buy a nylon net instead of a plastic net which is easily breakable.

Place heavy rocks on all corners of the net to prevent them from slipping. However, it will ruin the beauty of your pond.


It is a psychological way of scaring away rats. You can build and place human decoys near the pond to prevent rats from getting near it.

The wind at night will move the human decoy giving it a more realistic effect.


Grow rat-repellent plants like garlic, oregano, eucalyptus, lavender, tomatoes, and pepper in your garden near the pond.

It keeps the rats away due to its strong smell. Using natural repellents is more beneficial than artificial repellents.


If you have a rat infestation in the garden or near a pond placing traps must be the priority. Glue boards and traps are an effective way to get rid of the rat living in the surrounding area.


Rats are attracted to the pond fish for a food source. Rats are omnivorous. Therefore, fish can be included as part of their diet. Rats are good swimmers. They will jump inside the pond without thinking twice.

Ponds are the complete food source for them because of the fish feed, aquatic plants, and small fishes.

Pond fish are vulnerable, and the maximum length of such fish is six inches. Therefore, not difficult for rats to feast on them. I recommend you follow the measures mentioned above to protect your pond fish.