Rats are voracious scroungers who consume almost anything they find. Rats typically have varied tastes, but if they’re starving, they wouldn’t care what they eat. They are fond of nuts, fruits, cookies, cakes, etc. You may wonder now, do rats eat insects?
Yes, rats eat insects. They consume anything they come upon that has nourishment. Rats have reasons to eat bugs, grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, cockroaches, and other insects since they are rich in nutrients, particularly proteins.
If you’re interested in learning more about what rats consume, especially insects, and how to get rid of them, read the below information.
Omnivores’ Eating Practices of Rats
According to the book Exotic Small Mammal Care and Husbandry, rats are omnivores having a single set of teeth that never fall off. Compared to humans, their teeth grow throughout life and are shed off by chewing.
As timeserving ranchers, rats eat nearly anything having nutritional value to survive. Rats can feed on insects and their larvae because they are small and typically simple to locate and capture. Depending on the circumstance, rats may consume worms, spiders, frogs, snakes, and birds if they are tiny enough to catch and eat.
Nevertheless, all omnivores have preferences, and rats are no different. Rats usually like to eat nuts, fruits, and seeds. The likelihood of their interest in the food increases with its sweetness. Rats avoid actively seeking out insects for food if plant-based snacks like peanut butter are available.
Relationship Between Rats and Insects
Although rats eat insects, they are not the favorite meal of rats. Thus, insects are less likely the cause of rat infestation in your house. However, that does not imply you shouldn’t be worried about insect attacks in your home.
The things that attract insects might be the source of allurement for rats. For example, both insects and rats are fond of sweets, fruits, honey, and other sugary things.
So, if you have all these things in your house, there are chances of rats and insects infestation together. The great news is that the same tactics that move insects out also work to entice rats out of your house.
Moreover, insects and rodents are integral components of ecology. The reason for rats’ presence on different continents is still due to the symbiotic relationships between insects and rodents.
What Insects Do Rats Eat?
Since alternative food sources are so rare, no animal or rat is off-limits while discussing scavengers. When it’s not safe for rats to enter your home, they eat insects as a midday snack. Here is the list of some insects that rats eat:
Rats are among the top three foes of cockroaches. They can eat both German and American cockroaches regardless of their size. According to the journal Open Agriculture, the cockroach diet has no negative impact on rats.
Although rats hunt cockroaches, you can’t use them as a pest control method in your home. Rats cause problems on your property, just as cockroaches do. These pests spread disease, wreak havoc on property, and breed quickly, frequently resulting in infestations that are challenging to manage.
Moreover, it is often difficult for rats to trap cockroaches. Therefore, cockroaches may be less of a staple in a rat’s diet and more of an occasional delight.
Beetles are among the most common types of insects, but they are often confused with bugs. The first set of beetle wings is thick and hard than other winged insects. Have you noticed that such insects suddenly attack your house and then vanish like magic?
If this is the case, there is no need to wonder right away because you might have rats within your home that devour beetles. Although rats are fond of sugary food, they eat beetles only when they have nothing to eat to fulfill their hunger.
Moreover, beetles carry fatal diseases with them so, when rats eat them, they become carriers of the same ailment as well. Thus, be careful and keep your property free from pests.
Rats eat anything that sounds good to them. Unless there is a food shortage, rats in the wild choose their food depending on the nutrients they require; otherwise, they eat anything to stay alive.
Bugs are an excellent addition to a rat diet because they are a high-protein, nutrient-rich pleasure. They can meet a rat’s daily requirement for protein but consuming a large amount of protein is not good.
If you keep rats as pets, you must exercise caution when feeding them bugs. However, if you want to get rid of them, you can use many bugs as bait to trap rats.
Flies are one of the foods that rats love to eat. There are different types of flies, but cluster flies are the favorite meal of rats. Flies are the most common household pests. They eat and sit on everything in your home and property.
Rats can eat flies, but only when they don’t have another thing to eat. Even though rats feed on flies, you can’t rely on them to capture flies. Moreover, it may be difficult for rats to catch flies. The one thing you must keep in mind is that both rats and flies eat the same things, so you must beware of it.
Rats are the natural enemies of grasshoppers. As rats are opportunistic animals, they eat anything available to them. Grasshoppers are plant-eating insects, and some species can occasionally cause damage to pasture, vegetables, and grains, especially when they obliterate crops over large areas.
If grasshoppers attack your crops, you can use rats to get rid of them. But remember, rats may feast upon your vegetables, so you must be careful while scattering rats in your crops. Above all, rats and grasshoppers combine to make a food chain, for example, grasshoppers eat vegetables, and rats eat grasshoppers in return.
The majority of wild rats may easily nibble on caterpillars. Although certain caterpillars may have poisonous spikes to defend themselves, some rats stay unaffected. For rats, eating caterpillars is a healthy and reliable source of energy.
Due to their slow movement, caterpillars are a relatively simple bug to trap. Rats eat both adults and larvae of caterpillars. Though all type of rodents eats caterpillars, American deer mice are the most common predator of them.
As already mentioned, rats are omnivores and eat everything. Worms are a great source of nourishment for rats. Rats like the odd mealworm, just like many other creatures. As long as they are not over-consumed regularly, worms and insects are a good source of protein, which is vital for mice and rats.
Mealworms raised in captivity are free of poisons and diseases, making them a safer alternative to any creepy crawlies that may be scurrying around your house or yard. Thus, if you have a pet worm, there is no harm in feasting them with some mealworms.
What Do Rats Eat Most?
Rats are voracious, meaning they’ll eat almost everything, even dead animals and overripe food. They have access to a wealth of resources because of humans. Consequently, they frequently invade homes. Rats used to find food in the below zones:
In the Wild
Rats in the wild typically consume a vegetarian diet than urban rats. A rat in the wild has to work for their food. It results in a very different situation than having a rat in your house that can search through your rubbish.
Rats are more likely to be vegetarians in the wild and eat foods like fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds. Moreover, they may also consume insects, fish, birds, and other small animals because they are omnivores.
In the City
Rats in urban settings are diligent and far more inclined to consume whatever is accessible. They prefer to be around people and consume leftovers, trash, and pet food. Rats frequently devour meats, fruits, and vegetables from the garden, humus, leverage, oils, fats, and pretty much everything else they can get their hands on.
You must, therefore, always store your food and other stuff in locked cans and keep your things rat-free.
Do Rats Eat Live Insects?
Yes, some rats love to eat live insects. Rats are capable of processing nearly any kind of food. It may be a crucial factor in their species’ success. They like to hunt live insects like mealworms, bugs, and cockroaches.
If you have pet rats giving them anything like mealworms or flies would be an excellent option because they can’t readily get out of their cage.
Although rats are small organisms, they are higher up in the food chain than many other species, and they change their diet or food sources according to the circumstances. Furthermore, they can kill a wide range of species, but they can also prey on young animals and eggs, depending on what is accessible.
Ways to Prevent Rats from Attracting Your Home
Rats need constant availability of food to stay alive. They don’t remain in the area if they can’t locate enough food to consume. By chewing through cables, rats put your home in danger. Moreover, they also bring fatal diseases like rabies and the hantavirus with them.
To prevent rats from attracting your home, you must follow the below tips:
- Affix door sweeps to exterior doors and replaces any broken screens.
- Using caulk, steel wool, or a mix of the two, block any holes and cracks in your house, particularly the points where pipes and vents enter the building.
- Clean your house regularly and store food in metal containers.
- Maintain good ventilation and dry conditions in attics, basements, and crawl areas.
- Get rid of all moisture sources, such as dripping faucets and obstructed drains, which serve as the ideal habitat for rats to breed.
- Store shrubs trimmed, clipped back, and firewood 20 feet away from your house.
- Above all, for better prevention, contact a pest control specialist to solve the rat problem in your house.
Rats are one of the most annoying pests in your home. They eat anything from snacks in your kitchen to the air ducts of your air conditioners. If they don’t find their favorite food, they start consuming insects like cockroaches, bugs, beetles, flies, and caterpillars.
To prevent rats from entering your home and property, you must know what they eat. You might prevent rats from entering your home by employing the above tactics. To stay safe and worry-free, don’t wait for rats to depart, on the contrary, get in touch with a professional rodent control firm and drive them out.
Exotic Small Mammals- Ron E. Banks DVM, DACLAM, DACVPM, CPIA, Julie M. Sharp DVM, Sonia D. Doss M.Ed., RLATG, Deborah A. Vanderford DVM.
Boateng, M., Okai,, Frimpong, Y. O., Ntim, A. and Acheampong, Y. S.. “Entomophagous Response of Albino Rats to Cockroach (Periplaneta Americana) Meal” Open Agriculture, vol. 3, no. 1, 2018, pp. 220-225