Do rabbit droppings or rabbits attract rats or mice?
(R.A, 6 July 2009)
The short answer to your question is yes, they can, but then so can a lot of other things – even in the tidiest of gardens – including compost heaps, wild-bird feeders and chicken houses.
Rats have been living in shadowy parallel alongside us for centuries and the bottom line is that they’re really very, very good at what they do; few animals can match them for adaptability and readiness to spot a golden opportunity. Unfortunately, this often means they see our homes as the ideal chance for a free lunch (and breakfast, dinner and supper besides) – especially if we keep pets that eat broadly the same kind of food that they do.
However, just because rabbits can attract rats, it doesn’t automatically mean that they have to; fortunately there are precautions that you can take that should minimise the risk, and with these wily expert scavengers, it always pays to be on your guard.
Don’t Send Out an Invitation!
The most effective way to avoid attracting rats is to make sure you’re not sending them an open invitation. The trick is not to advertise and don’t make it too easy for them to get an easy meal.
Rats have a very good sense of smell and old country lore has it that they can smell chickens from a mile or more away. Cleanliness is a powerful weapon in the fight to keep your rabbit hutches and pens rat-free so it’s vital to ensure you regularly remove uneaten food, droppings, soiled shavings and old bedding – and ideally dispose of it in a sealed bag, inside a bin with a secure lid. You’ll never mask the smell of rabbits entirely, or any other pet for that matter, but with simple good hygiene, you should be able to make it seem less enticing to ratty and his friends!
Depending on how many rabbits you have, or you’re thinking of keeping, you’ll often find that bulk-buying feed makes obvious economic sense – but take care how you store it. Soft paper sacks of lovely fresh grain in an outbuilding that hardly ever gets visited is a bonanza for a rat, so keep your pet-food supply in a secure, rat-proof container – ideally made from strong metal, as the gnawing ability of rats is rightly legendary.
Precautions and Pest Control
Even if you’ve never seen a rat around your rabbits, it’s important to stay vigilant. Some rabbit keepers have reported very good results with ultrasonic anti-rat devices, so long as they are aimed away from the rabbits themselves. Others work on the basis of using bait stations in the same way as gardeners use slug pellets; they may not be aware of a particular problem, but it’s a great way to ensure that one doesn’t develop.
Which approach you take obviously depends on your own personal circumstances, but if you do opt for using poison, it’s essential to use it correctly, so be sure to read the instructions carefully and then follow them – especially if there are children or other pets to consider.
The thought of rolling out the red-carpet to a bunch of free-loading wild rats is, clearly, a repugnant one, but with a little forethought and a few simple precautions, you should be able to keep the hungry hordes at bay. You certainly needn’t let the fear of these pests put you off the idea of keeping pet rabbits if that’s what you really want to do.
Except for rat droppings, how can I tell if a rat or mouse has been eating my rabbits food? This morning I noticed my rabbits food looked chewed/nibbled in her bowl. Is that my rabbit or could it be a rat or mouse?
Samantha - 1-Oct-20 @ 9:40 AM
Get a cat! They will at least chase (and maybe kill or maim) a mouse or rat!!!
Sabo - 23-Sep-20 @ 2:36 AM
I have my two bunnies as backyard bunnies. I got a bit lazy and had left Cheerios (their favorite treat) out on the porch, so thenbegan seeing rat droppings.
So I set out out electric battery operated rat trap and have caught two small rats.
It seems as though there are probably hundreds of them but I am going to try harder to not leave the Cheerios out there or bird seed. I wonder, do rats like to eat the rabbit pellets too? Bc I have continued to leave those out overnight.
Dee - 7-Aug-20 @ 3:55 AM
Excuse my ignorance but I need to clarify something.Someone wrote in about finding a rat inside the cage with her rabbit. Okay now I’ll always opt for a pleasant cute image, they were having a pleasant chat with each other? She did say ‘since the rabbit died I’m thinking of getting another? So were they okay with each other and much later on buns died?Or was poor buns dead when you saw the rat in the cage? I need to know the complete story? Thank you
Michele - 24-Jan-20 @ 1:01 PM
I have a pet rabbit and have just had to try and chase a wild mouse out of the room its now down in the walls of the bathroom what shall I do I've searched the cage everything locked my spare room and the bathroom sitting up really worried Please help asap
dvenkay - 9-Oct-19 @ 12:13 AM
@Marie- poor rabbit - shouldn't be in cages :( should be left to roam free.
LeoB - 30-Jul-18 @ 2:24 PM
My angora rabbit had 6 kits that all got taken by rats ,the large rabbit house she was in wire had large openings and rats got into nest box,have put her into new cage that is rat proof ,
Marie - 28-Jul-18 @ 6:12 AM
@Nat - but don't you think keeping a rabbit indoors is cruel. A rabbit should have freedom to be outside and do the things it likes to do, such as eat grass. Any food can attract rats, even crumbs left out on our floors.
Ellie - 16-Apr-18 @ 12:04 PM
my mom does not want to let me get a rabbit because she is scared it may attact rats my rabbits food will be in side and my rabbit will live inside too I will only take it out for it to poop and pee. I want to know if that attack’s rats . Please helplplllll
Nat - 16-Apr-18 @ 2:33 AM
@Tia - there will always be rats where there is a possibility of them accessing food. It's always cruel to cage animals any way, always best to let them have freedom. I'd never buy a rabbit and put it in a cage as it's too lonely a life for them :(
JessC - 5-Jan-18 @ 3:08 PM
Hi I’ve had a few rabbits in the past they all lived outside,my last rabbit was found with a rat in its cage,since she died I’ve been thinking of getting another rabbit but I’m worried about the rats coming back ,pls help....
Tia - 1-Jan-18 @ 7:58 PM
I Kno that rats could chew on a pet rabbit, but what about mice??I see lots of information on the rats and people mention mice.However, I have not seen anything that says mice could chew on live Rabbits.Please help!I raise English Angora Rabbits and one of them is getting her ear chewed.I know I have mice but not rats I have tried so many different things to try to rid the barn of the mice but it is an endless battle.Thanks for any help you can provide me!
Raley's RunAway Ran - 14-Jul-17 @ 7:32 PM
I thinks there's a rat living in my shed where my rabbit runs free, there's nothing in there only shavings,hay etc. I'm not sure how to get rid of them as I don't want to poison my rabbit and is my rabbit at risk?
Amy - 24-Dec-16 @ 2:21 AM
@Rina - rats will eat ANYTHING. Of course they will eat rabbit food and bird food. They are renowned for it.
Jess - 15-Sep-16 @ 11:33 AM
My neighbor puts out Rabbit food for the wild rabbits in our neighborhood. We now have rats around the yard.I told her they are probably enjoying the bunny food she puts out.She says that rats don't eat bunny food, is this true?
Rina - 14-Sep-16 @ 4:03 PM
My dad is against getting rabbits but they liked it they could to get rabbit so I could show them in a local county fair
Livlulu - 29-Feb-16 @ 11:11 PM
Okay I had a rabbit once. He passed away not to long ago and it sounds like a rat or a mouse is in my room. Do you know if there's a way to scare them off or should I just go ahead and get poison or something the be rid of it/them?
Panda - 11-Dec-15 @ 11:16 PM
@Lemon grab - I'm afraid that if you attract mice, you might also attract rats. Also, wild mice would die if they were to be kept as a pet as they are not accustomed to being handled by humans. Plus, if you attract one mouse, you will attract a whole family of them which in turn will create its own problems. If you want a mice as a pet, I suggest you visit a pet shop to buy a domesticated mouse. Even domesticated rats and gerbils make very friendly and lovable pets.
NoMorePests - 10-Apr-15 @ 12:27 PM
Hi I would like to attract mice to my garage to keep as a pet but I would not like to attracts disgusting rats! How do I get mice but not rats?