Mouse Predators

Mice, belonging to the order Rodentia which contains all rodents, are toward the bottom of the food chain for many reasons. Among them there is the fact that all mice are fairly small, with the smallest being species weighing in at around 10 grams and the largest, the house mice weighing as much as 20 to 35 grams.

While nearly every carnivore and omnivore, including humans, are known to eat mice, they are only an occasional snack or meal of opportunity for some, while for others they are a dietary staple. Animals that depend on mice for food play an role in keeping rodent populations under control and limiting the spread of diseases that mice can carry. These animals are considered natural predators of mice since they eat them daily.

Below are some of the predators of rats:

BIRDS OF PREY

Mice are a vital source of nourishment for birds of prey like owls, hawks and eagles. Crows, blue jays and heron also include mice in their diet. Barn owls are one of the top avian mice predators, with a single family capable of catching and devouring a dozen mice every night, giving them an important role in agricultural areas where mice can damage crops and stored grain.

REPTILES

Larger lizards are known to eat mice, but it is primarily snakes that look for mice as their main source of nutrition. People who keep them as pets understand the snakes preference for a rodent dinner, but such pets are often offered frozen rather than live mice. This is due to either the owners sensibilities or their desire to not see their pets injured by food that attempts to fight back.

HUMANS

There are parts of the world where conditions dictate that food be taken where it can be found, and it is there that mice are eaten on a regular basis. Though some of the countries that offer mouse on the menu no longer suffer economically, traditional dishes continue to be offered, sometimes as cultural delicacies for visiting tourists with strong stomachs. Mice cooked in a variety of ways may be sampled in parts of Vietnam, China, Korea, Malawi and Zambia.

SNAKES

Snakes play a major role in controlling mice population since mice play a central role in the diet of many species of snakes around the globe. Because snakes can unhinge their jaws to swallow mice, both large and small snakes rely on them for sustenance. Under natural conditions, when the mouse population increases, so does the snake population; but in some areas too many snakes have been killed by humans, skewing the balance between prey and predator, resulting in mouse overpopulation.

CATS

Cats of all sizes, wild and domestic, hunt and eat mice. Some people keep house or barn cats not only as pets, but as a means of controlling the mouse population. Smaller wild cats, like lynx, bobcats and wildcats depend on mice for a large part of their diet. Big cats, like jaguars, tigers and even lions use mice to supplement their diet, especially when other food sources are scarce.


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