If you own some pet rabbits, or are looking to in the near future, then one of your concerns will likely be around if they attract rats. Rats are clever and with a strong sense of smell are notorious for identifying opportunities to scavenge. So how do rabbits fare? Needing to know this for my own pet rabbits, I decided to conduct some research into the topic. Here is what I have found:
So, do rabbits attract rats? Rabbits commonly attract rats. Rabbits have a distinctive scent that is known to draw rodents to your property. This isn’t entirely the fault of your bunny, a lack of a thorough, daily cleaning routine is the main culprit.
A rabbit’s hutch can become very inviting to certain unwanted guests when uneaten food, droppings, and old bedding are not properly disposed of.
Pellets are quite smelly and need to be securely stored away. With these measures put into practice, you stand a better chance of keeping rodents at bay.
We’ve looked at how rabbits attract mice and how dangerous they are due to the infectious diseases they transmit to vulnerable rabbits and other mammals.
Now the question is regarding their rodent counterpart – rats.
Lets explore the topic further so that you can get a better understanding of why rats are attracted and some of the things you can do to keep them away.
Do Rats Attack Rabbits?
Rats will attack small rabbits and their offspring, but larger rabbits are relatively safe from attacks as they are intimidated by larger animals.
Rats are known to break into cages and nursery boxes to kill baby rabbits. A hungry rat will kill small vulnerable creatures, it’s less work for them and they are generally hungry. Obtaining food and a warm shelter is their main objective.
A responsible rabbit owner cares about the well being of its pet and will go to great lengths to ensure its safety. They will take the necessary precautions such as:
1) Establishing a thorough daily cleaning routine, this will involve disposing of soiled bedding, droppings, and uneaten food. Rabbit food, like pellets, will be stored away in a rodent-proof container.
2) Purchasing a rat-proof hutch, where the wires are not wide enough for a rat or even a mouse to go through. This quality hutch on Amazon is the type you want to get that comes with excellent reviews and that you can use both indoors and outdoors.
3) Using rat deterrents to keep rats off your property and away from your rabbits. You can get indoor/outdoor pest repellents for great prices over at Amazon. These do a great job of reducing all pests, wherever you house your rabbits and can prevent your rabbits from experiencing harm and danger.
No products found.
There is no guarantee that you won’t have trouble with rats, even with all the precautions taken as listed above, and you can never completely mask rabbit smells. But as rats are opportunists, it’s up to you to make things as difficult as possible for them. Bad smells of food are very enticing to rodents so do your best to keep clean.
Do Rabbits Keep Rats Away?
Rabbits are very gentle animals and are not the ideal pet to have if you are looking to keep rats away.
Rabbits attract rats in the first place and are not able to fight them off. Cats are a better deterrent against rats, as they are hunters by nature and rats are afraid of larger animals.
However, cats have their moments, and as capable as cats are at keeping rats away, even they can get overwhelmed by big, aggressive rats.
The best way to keep rats away is to be diligent about hygiene, cleanliness, and to lay traps where necessary.
Rats are persistent so you need to be persistent at making your rabbits home and your home as unappealing as possible to rats.
If you have neighbors, they need to understand their responsibility in keeping the neighborhood safe from pests, as rats don’t remain in one place for too long, they like to explore and see what’s available elsewhere – they may even enter clean homes.
It’s widely known that we are never more than 10 meters away from a rat. It’s frightening to think how close we live to rats and how much havoc they can wreak in our homes and our health.
This is why everyone needs to be intentional about keeping the rat and mouse population down where they live.
Can Rats Harm Rabbits?
We have looked at how rats can attack rabbits, especially smaller rabbits. Rats are very sneaky when it comes to getting what they want, they prefer to grab and go, but they will attack anyone that stands in their way and will kill and eat vulnerable rabbit kitts.
Their attacks involve biting, scratching and tearing they fight using dirty tactics.
Not only are they aggressive, but rats, like mice, also carry infectious diseases that harm mammals, like rabbits. some of the diseases they transmit include:
- Rat bite fever – This is a bacterial disease that is transmitted to other animals when bitten or scratched by a rat. Around 10% of rat bites can lead to rat bite fever.
- Leptospirosis – Rats carry this bacteria in their urine. Soil or water contaminated with this infected urine can cause humans and animals to be very ill if they drink from it.
- Salmonellosis – This is also known as food poisoning, it’s a bacteria that affects the intestines. Rats track this bacteria along surfaces when trying to get food. Your rabbit can become infected with salmonella if it eats food or drinks water infected with the bacteria.
- Hantavirus – Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome ( to give it its full title ) is a viral infection that causes respiratory failure and its effects range from severe to fatal. It is contracted from exposure to rat droppings – this is why it’s vital to clean enclosed spaces like rabbit hutches where rats like to nest and leave their droppings.
- Tularemia – This is a bacterial disease and is transmitted by coming into contact with dead or sick animals through animal bites and exposure to contaminated blood. It can also be passed on by the bites of ticks or biting flies, and even inhaling the bacteria. To prevent contracting this disease, never handle dead or sick animals; and don’t touch blood and raw meat from wild animals with bare hands.
Key Points To Remember
- Rabbits attract rats, but a thorough daily cleaning routine will keep rats at bay.
- Rats will attack smaller rabbits and their offspring but generally won’t fight larger rabbits.
- Rats like to grab and go but will attack anyone who stands in the way of getting what they want.
- Rabbits are not ideal pets for keeping pests, like rats, away, they attract rats in the first place by their scent.
- The best deterrent against rats is cleaning and laying traps. If you have neighbors they need to understand the responsibility they have in keeping their neighborhood safe from pests.
- Rats can cause serious harm to rabbits, not only do they attack them but, they can transmit infectious diseases to rabbits.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.