do rats eat dead rats

Do Rats Eat Dead Rats?

Written by: Gemmali Dizor

Rats eating dead rats: is this a myth? Obviously, yes. In this article, however, we will delve deeper into rat behavior and answer some common questions related to rats eating dead rats. By the end of it all, you will have a greater insight into this fascinating animal’s habits.

What Do Rats Eat?

Before we can answer the question of whether rats eat dead rats, it’s essential to first understand what else they eat in general. Rats are omnivores, meaning they consume both plant and animal matter. Furthermore, these predatory feeders will consume almost anything they come across – from garbage to pet food and even other rats!

Rats in the wild typically feed on seeds, nuts, and fruits. They will also consume insects, small mammals, and other animals when presented with an opportunity. In urban areas, they often scavenge for food in garbage cans and dumpsters and have been known to consume a wide range of items like meats, grains, and vegetables.

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Why Do Rats Eat Dead Rats?

Rats have long been known to eat dead rats for various reasons. One major benefit is that it provides them with protein. Rats require this vital nutrient in order to build and maintain their muscles, making eating dead rats an easy source for them to get it.

Another possible reason rats might eat dead rats is to prevent them from attracting predators. When a rat dies, its body begins to decompose and release an unpleasant odor that could attract cats or birds of prey. By eating the dead rat, other rats can prevent this odor from reaching their territory.

Do All Rats Eat Dead Rats?

Not all rats will eat dead rats, but it is not an uncommon occurrence either. Some rats may prefer other sources of protein like insects or meat scraps while others may never get the chance to sample a dead rat if one doesn’t appear. It should be noted that rats are opportunistic feeders and will consume almost anything they come across if they become sufficiently hungry.

Are There Any Risks of Rats Eating Dead Rats?

Rats eating dead rats is a natural behavior, but there are risks involved. Dead rats can carry diseases and parasites which could be transmitted to other rats through their food sources, potentially leading to the spread of diseases and parasites within rat populations.

Furthermore, rats that consume dead rats may become aggressive toward other rats. Eating a dead rat increases a rat’s testosterone levels, leading to an increase in aggressive behavior. In extreme cases, this aggression could even result in fights and injuries among rodents.

Can Rats Spread Diseases to Humans by Consuming Dead Rats?

Rats can transmit diseases to humans, though it’s unlikely this would occur through the consumption of a dead rat. Most diseases that rats transmit are through contact with their urine or feces or through fleas or ticks that have fed on infected rats. Nonetheless, it’s still important to take precautions when handling dead rats or any other animal carcass.

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Preventing Rat Infestations

Rat infestations can be prevented with these simple techniques.

Preventing rat infestations is an integral part of successful rodent control. Rats have a remarkable capacity for reproduction, so even a minor issue can quickly escalate into a major one. To prevent them from taking over your home or business, take steps to eliminate potential food sources and entry points into your residence or business.

Some steps you can take to prevent rat infestations include:

Store Food in Secure Containers: Rats are drawn to sources of food, so it’s essential to store food in sealed containers to prevent them from accessing it.

Maintain a Clean Environment: Rats are attracted to areas with clutter and debris, so it is essential that your space remains free from these items.

Seal Entry Points: Rats can enter your home or business through small cracks and openings, so it is essential to block off any potential entrance points so they cannot get inside.

Utilize Traps and Baits Effectively: Traps and baits can be effective for controlling rat populations, but it’s essential to use them carefully according to their label instructions.


Rats eating dead rats is an instinctive behavior that’s part of their omnivorous diet. While there may be risks associated with rats eating dead rats, it’s essential to remember that rats are opportunistic feeders and will eat almost anything they come across. By taking steps to prevent infestations and practicing good hygiene around your home or business premises, you can help control rat populations in your residence or business. Be mindful when handling dead animals to prevent disease spread. Rats may be a nuisance in urban areas but by understanding their behavior and coexisting peacefully, we can reduce conflicts between us and promote healthier environments for both rats and humans alike.

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