Ever since I was a little boy, rats have fascinated me. I had a pet rat when I was growing up, and I even considered becoming a professional rodent handler at one point. (Yes, that’s a thing!) These days, I’m still interested in rats, but from a more academic perspective. I like to study their behavior and understand why they do the things they do.
One question I get asked is whether or not rats kill other rats. It’s a tricky question because so many variables are at play, but I’ll do my best to break it down.
Do Rats Kill Other Rats?
It’s well known that rats will kill and eat other animals if they’re hungry enough, but it’s less clear whether they’ll target members of their species.
In the wild, rats tend to live in large colonies where there’s plenty of food to go around, so there’s no need for them to kill and eat each other.
However, when rats are confined to a small space with limited resources, they may turn on each other out of desperation.
If a rat feels threatened by another rat, it may also attack in self-defense. In general, then, it’s fair to say that rats usually won’t kill and eat other rats unless they’re starving or feel threatened.
However, given the right circumstances, even the most docile rat may be driven to violence.
In the wild
In the wild, rats live in large colonies with at least a dozen other rats. This is because they’re very social creatures and rely on each other for safety and survival.
That said, there are times when rats will kill other rats. Usually, this happens when a rat feels threatened or when there isn’t enough food to go around.
- For example, if two rats are fighting over a piece of food and one ends up killing the other, it’s likely because he was feeling threatened, and he thought that killing the other rat would increase his chances of getting the food. In situations like this, the bigger, more muscular rat usually comes out on top.
- Another example of when rats might kill each other is when one rat is sick or injured. A healthy rat might see a sick or wounded rat as a threat to the colony, so he might kill him to protect the rest of the group.
- Lastly, female rats have been known to kill male rats who try to mate with them before they’re ready. This usually happens because the female rat is young and hasn’t reached sexual maturity.
As you can see, there are several reasons a rat might kill another rat. However, it’s important to remember that not all rats are naturally violent creatures.
In most cases, they only resort to violence when they feel threatened or trying to protect themselves or their colony.
So, do rats kill other rats? Yes, they sometimes do. However, it’s important to remember that not all rats are naturally violent creatures. In most cases, they only resort to violence when they feel threatened or trying to protect themselves or their colony.