How Do Rats Eat Pigeons?

Rats are known to eat pigeons in certain situations, although it is not a common behavior. Rats are opportunistic feeders and will eat almost anything they can find, including small birds like pigeons. They may prey on pigeons that are injured or weak. However, it is important to note that pigeons are larger than rats and typically fly away from them.

However, this is not a common occurrence and is not a significant part of their diet. In most cases, rats will consume other food sources before resorting to eating pigeons.

How Do Rats Eat Pigeons

Can Rat Kill A Pigeon?

Yes, rats can kill pigeons. They use their speed and agility to sneak up on pigeons and then attack them by grabbing them between their claws and sinking their teeth into the pigeon’s body. The battle between a rat and a pigeon is usually a fight to escape death, with the pigeon trying to flee by flapping its wings in the rat’s eyes.

However, rats are quick and persistent, often overpowering the pigeon and causing it to fall lifeless. This behavior has been documented in videos, including on busy streets. Overall, rats have been observed to be effective predators of pigeons, using surprise and aggression to capture and kill their prey.

Do Rats Eat A Baby Pigeon?

Yes, rats will eat baby pigeons. Baby pigeons are more accessible for rats to attack and eat, as they are easily caught and relatively easier to kill. Rats will also eat adult pigeons and pigeon eggs when they are not being guarded. In general, rats will eat nearly everything in their surroundings, including both baby and adult pigeons.

What Is The Nutritional Value Of A Rat To A Pigeon?

Rats provide a valuable source of protein for pigeons, making them a significant nutritional resource. Pigeons, being nocturnal feeders, are more likely to scavenge for food at night, making rats an ideal prey item as they are typically active and visible during these hours.

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In addition to protein, rats also offer fat and minerals, making them a well-rounded nutrition source for pigeons. Furthermore, they are relatively low in toxins, ensuring the safety of the food source for birds. Overall, rats are a beneficial and nutritious food choice for pigeons.

Is There Any Evidence of Rats Eating Pigeons?

Despite reported incidents, there is a lack of scientific evidence to confirm whether rats eat pigeons. However, a video of a rat assaulting a bird in New York City, as well as another incident where a rat attempted to eat a pigeon, has sparked discussions about the possibility.

The debates were further fueled by a photo of a rat capturing two robins in its natural habitat, sparking curiosity about rat behavior. While these occurrences have raised questions, there is no concrete evidence to definitively prove that rats prey on pigeons.

Why are Pigeons not Ideal Prey for Rats?

Pigeons are not ideal prey for rats because they are too large and require significant effort to capture. Additionally, pigeons can fly, making them much harder to pursue compared to other potential prey like insects and small rodents.

The benefits of hunting and consuming a pigeon may not outweigh the associated risks, such as potential injury from their powerful beak or claws. Given the difficulty of pursuit and capture, as well as the risks involved, it is understandable why rats do not consider pigeons to be ideal prey.

What Happens When Rats Encounter Pigeons?

When rats encounter pigeons, the outcome is often unpredictable. In some cases, the pigeon will fly away and escape unscathed, while in other cases, the rat may attempt to pursue or attack. Rats have been known to ambush unsuspecting pigeons, using speed and agility to seize their prey.

1. Territorial Conflicts:

Rats are territorial creatures and will aggressively defend their territory from pigeons. When a pigeon enters a rat’s territory, the rat may chase it away as a warning to other pigeons not to enter.

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2. Predatory Behavior:

While rats are not typical predators of pigeons, they may attack and kill them, especially when food sources are limited. In these cases, the rat may view the pigeon as a potential food source and attack it.

3. Coexistence:

In some cases, rats and pigeons may coexist peacefully, especially when food is abundant and both species can find enough to eat without competing with each other. They may simply ignore each other and go about their business without conflict.

Under Which Circumstances Do Rats Eat Pigeons?

Under normal circumstances, rats do not commonly eat pigeons. However, the scarcity of food sources can lead rats to become more aggressive and resort to unusual forms of predation, including eating pigeons.

If there is a lack of food, rats may also resort to cannibalism, even eating their own babies. This behavior is more likely to occur when there is a shortage of food, leading rats to become more aggressive and competitive with each other. Urban rodentologist Bobby Corrigan explains that in the absence of food, the strongest rats will resort to predation on their weaker counterparts, including pigeons, as an alternative food source.

Additionally, the scarcity of food can cause rats to venture into unfamiliar territories in search of food, which may lead them to target pigeons and other animals.

How to Protect Pigeons From Rat Attacks?

One of the best ways to protect pigeons from rat attacks is to ensure that they have access to ample food, water, and shelter. Providing appropriate sources of food will reduce rats’ motivation to attack a pigeon as they can easily find other sources of sustenance.

1. Secure Your Pigeon Coop:

Ensure the coop is made of sturdy materials with tight-fitting doors and windows to prevent rats from entering.

2. Remove Food Sources:

Store food in airtight containers and dispose of food waste away from the coop to deter rats attracted to food.

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3. Use Predator Deterrents:

Consider using ultrasonic devices, peppermint oil sprays, or motion-activated lights to keep rats away from the pigeons.

4. Monitor the Coop Regularly:

Regularly inspect the coop for signs of rats, such as gnawing or burrowing, and take action if necessary.

3. Hire a Pest Control Professional:

Consider hiring a pest control professional if rat infestation is difficult to control on your own.

By taking these steps, you can effectively protect your pigeons from rat attacks and ensure their safety and well-being.


Are Pigeons a Preferred Food Source for Rats?

Pigeons are not a preferred food source for rats. They’ll eat pigeons if they’re readily available, but they prefer other food sources such as garbage and fruits.

Do Rats Have a Preference for Certain Types of Food?

Rats have a preference for certain types of food. They prefer foods high in protein, sugar, and fat, such as seeds, nuts, bread, cereal, meats, and veggies.

How Does The Rat’s Eating Habits Affect The Pigeon Population?

The rat’s eating habits affect the pigeon population because the rat eats the same food as the pigeon. If the rat population decreases, then the pigeon population will also decrease.

What Is The Ecological Impact Of Rats Eating Pigeons?

The ecological impact of rats eating pigeons is that it can help to control the pigeon population. Rats are natural predators of pigeons and can help to keep the population in check. This can have a positive impact on the environment as it can help to keep the pigeons from overrunning an area and damaging the ecosystem.


While the idea of rats eating pigeons may seem unsettling, it is a fascinating example of nature’s ability to adapt and thrive. Rats have developed ingenious techniques to catch their prey, demonstrating their intelligence and resourcefulness.

So, the next time you spot a rat, take a moment to appreciate the remarkable survival skills of these seemingly underestimated creatures.

Kathy Gonzales

I'm an author of I have kept pigeons as pets for over 20 years and have written several articles. Here in this blog, I cover topics such as how to care for pigeons, what to feed them, and how to keep them healthy.