Do Rats Kill Lizards? Exploring Nature’s Dynamics

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Rats are rodents and like to feed on anything available in their surroundings. A rat is capable of eating different animals that reside in the ecosystem. This will include fish, birds, and small mammals, but do rats kill lizards?

Yes, rats kill lizards and feed on them too. Rats are omnivorous. That means they can be carnivorous and herbivorous at the same time. Rats attack lizards if they come across them. 

In this article, we will explore why rats kill lizards and what can be done to get rid of rats and lizards. After all, having both of them in residencies is nothing but a nuisance!

Do Rats Kill Other Animals?

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Rats are not only restricted to eating limited animals, but instead, they feed on a range of different animals to fulfill their appetite. These include small fish, other rodents as well as lurking mammals. 

There are three main reasons among many as to why does a rat attack other animals:

In self-defense. A rat attacks other animals to prevent its own life from being taken

To survive and sustain themselves by killing other animals. 

In cases where a rat feels threatened, it does not hesitate to attack and kill the other animal. 

Do Lizards Eat Rats? 

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The lizards can feed on a lot of things. However, their primary preference is eating small arthropods like cockroaches, mosquitos, frogs, and other small insects. 

However, a large lizard may be able to feed on the rat. However, it is hard for a lizard to kill a rat alone.

A lizard can feed on a dead rat too. Lizards like the Gila monster and the Komodo dragon are agile enough to attack rats and inflict injuries that might kill them. 

Jumbo Rat Bites Lizards Back 

Rat Bites Lizards Back 

There have been cases where the jumbo rats bite lizards back and try to kill them. It all depends on the size and the force exerted by the lizard. The jumbo rats have enough strength to take on the lizard. 

A rat’s bite inflicts injuries on the lizards. However, many lizards have scaly skin, and the rats often find it hard to get past their thick hide and bite them. The ones who bite injure the lizards, which may result in their death.

Lizard Regeneration Process

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When we are talking about the injuries inflicted on lizards, it must be kept in mind that their chances of survival can be enhanced due to the regeneration process that occurs in their bodies. 

The process of regeneration usually involves the ability to recover amputated tails.

This process occurs in stages. That is why a lizard can survive attacks better than most animals. 

How Long Does It Take For A Lizard To Regrow Its Tail?

Lizard To Regrow Its Tail

Lizards are amniotes and can re-grow their lost body parts. Regeneration is a sequential process and occurs in the following manner:

First of all, blastema is formed. 

The tail-cut-off lizards have a severed spinal cord, so the epidermis starts migrating to the tail stump

This thickens later on to develop an apical cap.

The cells are freed from the stump tissues and collected under the apical cap. 

The regenerated skeleton comprises a cartilage tube (CT) surrounding a regenerated spinal cord. 

The proximal part of the tail undergoes ossification. 

Within a matter of 7 to 10 days, the regenerated amount is recovered. 

Rats Are Omnivorous- They Can Eat Anything

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Rats have tiny front teeth. The advantage of having them is that the rat can easily break through the skin of most animals. However, a rat may be unable to chew off the meat from the bones. 

That is why a rat attacks lizards and will eat them if they come across one another.

However, this is not often, as both animals are timid and prefer to return to their hiding and live on what they already have rather than attack large animals. 

The lizard, in return, does not do much except curl up in a tight ball so that a rat does not initiate the attack. Moreover, the lizards also have tiny sharp claws and can use them to defend themselves. 

Can Rats Chew Through Lizard’s Scales?

A lizard has scales, and they are very hard to chew through. This is because a lizard’s scale consists of keratin. It is the same protein that is present in human hair as well as fingernails. Such substances are hard to break through. 

The rat can eat meat off of a lizard’s bones but will not be able to chew through its skin and feed on it. So, it can be said that rats can kill lizards, but they are not a good source for the rats. 

Instead, the rat licks around the scales of a lizard. Once it has licked enough, it reaches the scales underneath. However, this requires a lot of effort, and not many rats have this patience. 

How Do Rats Kill Lizards?

The rats kill lizards in the following manner:

  • First, a rat will come near the lizard.
  • As the lizard rarely ever fights back, the rat will hold on to it long enough to suffocate it. 
  • The rat will then proceed to kill it. 
  • The rat will eat the hunted food.

It must be mentioned that the lizards enter the dens of rats. A lizard is unlikely to attack and take on all the rats. However, if one rat is isolated, the lizard will try to kill it. 

Are Rats Lazy If They Go After Lizards?

If a rat is feeding on the lizard, there is sufficient food in the area. Also, the rat is not hungry enough to hunt.

The rats also act as predator controls to feed on the lizards. However, this can be done and vice versa as well. 

Case Study

It has been stated in this article by Uchida T. A. ‘Observations on the monitor lizard, Varanus indicus (Daudin) as a rat control agent on Ifaluk, Western Caroline Islands’ that the lizards have been used in the past to hunt down rats and eliminate their population. Hence, lizards act as natural rodent controls. 

How To Know If A Rat Has Eaten A Lizard?

There are ways to spot if the rat has attacked or eaten a lizard. If a lizard has a neat circular hole smaller than its head, then a rat is behind this. 

A lizard does not have a lot of meat on its body, and all of it is gone due to the rat feeding on them.

People who work in pest control are adept at telling whether a rat has eaten a lizard or not. They do this by looking at the fallen scales of the lizard. 


Rats can kill lizards and have them as a food source. However, it is not their primary choice to feed on lizards. In return, the lizards can also strike back and kill off rats.


Uchida T. A. (1966). Observations on the monitor lizard, Varanus indicus (Daudin), as a rat-control agent on Ifaluk, Western Caroline Islands. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 35(6), 976–980.