Rabbit Focus

Are Rabbits Scared of Rats?

Rabbits are scared of predator animals that hunt and devour them. These furry creatures are delicate and try to save their lives by hopping and running away. Sadly, rabbits are also among the smaller mammals that are a regular part of the diets of numerous predators.

Are Rabbits Scared of Rats

Aside from the bigger predators, are rabbits also scared of animals smaller than them? How about rats? Are rabbits scared of rats?

No. Rabbits are usually not scared of rats because these tiny critters often just feed on leftover food. Rats themselves don’t like the idea of fighting rabbits, particularly the bigger ones. But rats also tend to be opportunistic creatures that try to kill and feed on kits and smaller breed rabbits.

Will Rats Attack Rabbits?

It has been known that wild rats do attack rabbits. Only small rabbits are usually the ones attacked by these rats right there and then. However, wild rats don’t consider large rabbits as prospective food items, so they are seldom attacked unless provoked. This means that if a mother rabbit tries protecting her kits from a rat, it might attack the mother in its attempt to escape.

The question of whether rats will attack rabbits or not will depend on how desperate the rats are for food and the rabbit’s temperament. The rat may sneak into the enclosure of the rabbit and steal the rabbit’s leftover food and leave without any issue. Rabbits are docile creatures and are unbothered by rats eating their food. Territorial rabbits, on the other hand, may try scaring off the rat which may result in a nasty fight.

The majority of animals would avoid fighting and just flee instead. However, every situation is unique and different, and if needed, rats are going to defend themselves.

Are Rats Harmful to Rabbits?

Scratching and biting are the main ways that rats attack. Unfortunately, these actions may cause substantial damage to rabbits, particularly when the bunny is:

  • Small enough that the rat can easily overpower
  • Bitten on the face or throat

Rats have very powerful teeth. Despite the small size of these rodents, they have incredibly tough teeth and bite strength. Rats can also chew through concrete and metal. This means that the muscle, skin, and fur of rabbits will hardly offer them any protection from the vicious bites of a rat.

This means that rats can actually harm rabbits. There are even instances when they can do so severely enough to the point that a trip to the vet will be necessary. Rats are also potential disease carriers, and two of these are transferable via scratches and bites.

Common Diseases Spread by Rats

Here are some of the common diseases that rats are known to spread not only to other animals but even to humans:

Rat Bite Fever

Streptobacillus moniliformis is the cause of rat bite fever. These bacteria are transferred through scratches and bites with 10% mortality when left untreated.

This condition often presents itself in the form of fever followed by polyarthralgias and rigors. Due to the challenges in developing cultures and discovering the cause of the first symptoms, it is somewhat tricky to diagnose the onset of rat bite fever.

If a rat bites your rabbit, don’t waste time and take it to the vet right away. Aside from treating the wound, the vet will also take some preventative measures in the event of infection. They may also prescribe a precautionary treatment.


You might already be familiar with salmonella and why it is important to cook chicken properly. However, rats are common carriers of the salmonella bacteria as well, spreading them through excretions. Infected rat excretions are the culprit behind the outbreaks of salmonella food poisoning.

Infected rats can leave traces of the bacteria or droppings in the enclosure of a rabbit which can result in contaminated water and food. If a rabbit ingests either of these two, it may fall fatally ill. Rabbits can also get infected if the rat scratches or bites them.

Other Diseases

Rats can also pass on two more bacterial diseases to rabbits through contaminated excretions, namely leptospirosis, and hantavirus. Contaminated rat droppings pass the bacteria to rabbits for these two conditions.

Weil’s disease or leptospirosis can infect the water supplies when rat urine contaminates them. This disease has the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness

Severe cases of leptospirosis can also infect individual organs. Lack of treatment may result in organ failure and worse, death. Respiratory failure due to hantavirus may also lead to death. This virus is contracted via exposure to contaminated droppings of rats.

Are Rats Attracted to Rabbit Poop?

The habit of feeding on excrement or known as coprophagy is common among rats. It allows these creatures to salvage the nutrients that were unabsorbed during the initial digestion.

Rabbits, specifically domestic rabbits, eat high-quality food most of the time. As gross as it may sound, it also means that these rabbits also have higher quality rabbits, making these more tempting for rats to feed on.

It is only natural for rats to eat droppings excreted by healthy animals that feed on a good diet. The fine sense of smell of rats allows them to locate such droppings, particularly when the rabbit enclosure doesn’t get cleaned as regularly as it should be.

Rats will be easily attracted to your property if you don’t clear away the droppings of your rabbit frequently or properly or if you don’t throw them accordingly.

Will Rats Eat Baby Rabbits?

As stated earlier, rats are very voracious and opportunistic as far as food is concerned. Unfortunately, rats are known to sneak inside rabbit enclosures and snatch away baby rabbits. Rats might pick the kits by the scruff, carrying them away to a safe place where they will kill and eat the helpless little ones. There are already lots of rabbit owners who have reported such cases.

Do Rabbits Deter Rats?

No, rabbits don’t deter rats even a bit. While bigger rabbits may make rats have second thoughts about attacking, they still won’t be able to scare the nasty rats away.

And with that, we officially end this blog post. But before you go, can you do us a solid and spread the love (or laughter) by sharing this on your social media? Who knows, maybe we might even find someone who can relate to our content and benefit from it... Wink