Overview of Enemies and Predators of Rats

People across the United States, including Southern California, face the prospect of rat infestations in their homes and businesses. The surest way of preventing rat infestations in the first instance is to understand some basic information about the rodents. We present here an essential overview of natural enemies and predators of rats. This will help you understand how and when natural rat predators may provide at least some assistance in preventing rat infestations in the first instance.

Felines and Rats

The discussion of natural predators of rats begins with a look at cats. A rather in-depth discussion about cats is necessary because many people turn to cats as a means to control rats from entering and as a means to eliminate rats who’ve infested a residence.

Many people assume that any cat will be a natural predator of rats. The fact is that this is not entirely true. In this regard, there are four different ways in which cats can be classified, classifications which impact how much of a predator a particular feline maybe when it comes to rats. These classifications are:

  • Indoor cat
  • Barn cat
  • Mouser
  • Feral cat

As a general rule, a barn cat and a feral cat will be born to and raised by mothers who will train their offspring to stalk rats and mice. While felines may have some natural instinct to stalk rodents, the reality is that they typically only stalk them if they’ve been trained to do so by their mothers. Kittens born to feral and barn cats will have mothers who will train them to stalk rats.

A mouser is an indoor cat that was trained by its mother to stalk rodents. (The mouser term applies to mice and rats alike.) Thus, if a person wants an indoor cat who will actively address a rat issue in a home or business, that individual needs to make certain that a feline was raised by a mouser.

The bottom line when it comes to cats actively stalking and eliminating rats in this day and age is that many indoor cats have been raised by mothers who were also indoor cats who have no experience with stalking rats or mice. Thus, they will not train their offspring to stalk rodents.

Although not all cats will effectively stalk and capture rats, any type of cat can serve as a deterrent to rats. Rats will naturally avoid a location at which cats are found. The natural instincts of rats will cause them to repel from a home, business, or other location at which they identify the presence of cats.


In urban areas, humans tend to be the primary enemy of rats. In urban areas, rats will attempt to lodge in homes, business, and other locations used by or under the control of humans. Thus, humans end up being intent on eliminating these rodents, turning them into primary enemies of rats.

Large Birds of Prey

In the out of doors, one type of enemy and predator of rats are large birds of prey. The most common large birds of prey that feed on rats are:

  • Falcons
  • Hawks
  • Owls

The bird of prey that poses the most significant threat to rats is the owl. The reason an owl poses the biggest threat to rats when contrasted to other large birds of prey is because rats are largely nocturnal animals. Owls are most active at night as well.


Snakes represent another type of animal that are natural enemies and predators of rats. Certain types of larger snakes prey on adult rats. On the other hand, smaller snakes will seek out and prey on baby rats.


Yet another type of animal that preys on rats in some cases is the fox. Any species of fox that lives in an area where rats are found would be apt to stalk and prey on these rodents.

Even if there are natural predators in the area in which you live, you cannot count on them to be a foolproof firewall preventing rats from entering and taking up nesting in your home, business, or other location. Thus, if you end up with a rat infestation at your home or business, you need to be prepared to take definitive action to remove them from the premises. Professional assistance in this regard typically is the best course of action to take.

In addition to dealing with a rat infestation itself, if you experience such a problem you also need to appreciate that you will need to safely remove droppings that have been left behind. Rat droppings, particularly dried ones, present significant health risks in some cases. Thus, if you face this type of situation, you are likely best served seeking professional assistance from an experienced biohazard cleaning or rat droppings remediation specialist.