After seeing a crow chasing a chipmunk in my garden the other day, I got curious whether crows can actually eat rodents. Here are the results of the detailed research that I did.
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Do crows eat rats, mice, and chipmunks?
Crows do eat rodents such as rats, mice, and chipmunks. The omnivorous nature of crows allows them to eat almost anything. Crows will chase, hunt, kill and eat mice, rats, chipmunks, and even squirrels. Fruits, worms, insects grains, nuts, and roadkill also make up a considerable amount of a crow’s diet.
However, crows plus other birds should never be fed mice, moles, and rats that have died as a result of being poisoned. Since rat poison has been proven to be deadly to wild birds including crows.
Do crows kill rodents?
Crows have been observed hunting, chasing, and even killing rodents such as rats, mice, and chipmunks. To kill a rodent, crows will normally approach it from behind pecking it over and over while keeping their distance in case the rodent tries to fight back.
When foraging for food crows and rodents will come across each other, however, both the crows and rodents are usually not afraid of each other.
Rodents will rarely bother the crows but the same cannot be said of the crows, their omnivorous nature allows them to try and eat almost anything that closes their path.
Crows killing rodents is a game of patience rather than strength, the crow will keep on pecking the rodents from behind. Chasing it when the rodent runs away and retreating in case the rodent tries to fight back.
Since the skin of the rodents is a bit thick it will take crows a considerable amount of time before they kill and eat the rodents. However, even the tough skin of rodents is not a match for the strong beak of the crows.
Hunting rodents is not the only way that crows can eat rats, mice, and chipmunks. Given that these small animals are also victims of motor vehicles as they crisscross the road in search of food.
Crows are able to eat them as roadkills. During the winter when there are scarce sources of food for most animals, the American crow relies on roadkills from other animals including rodents.
Crow Vs Rodents: which is faster?
On the ground, the rodents are faster and more agile compared to the crows. If the rodents were to realize that the crows are a danger to them and decide to run the crow would not catch up with them.
However, rodents are not afraid of the crows and will comfortably forage in grounds where crows are also foraging.
Can crows eat poisoned rodents; rats, mice, and moles
Unfortunately, while crows can eat almost anything, you should not feed crows dead rats, mice, or moles that have been poisoned.
The poison used to kill rats, mice and moles are also poisonous and deadly to birds such as crows and birds of prey such as owls, and eagles that feed on the rodents.
According to this source, scientists have not been able to figure out exactly how much rat poison is dangerous to birds. Therefore, the general advice here is to not feed poisoned rats to any birds including crows.
This source reports the death of 50 crows whose cause of death after the autopsy by researchers was found to be a high amount of a substance that is commonly used in the manufacturing of rat poison.
So, instead of just disposing of poisoned rats in dust bins where the crows or other wild birds can access them easily. You should bury them to avoid poisoning other wild animals.
Other small animals that Crows eat
Apart from rodents such as rats, mice, mole and chipmunks, crows can also eat the following small animals.
Squirrels: Crows can hunt and kill squirrels, the mode of hunting squirrels is almost the same as the one for hunting rodents. Crows will keep on pecking the squirrels from the back, but if the squirrel is young or injured the crow will go for the striking kill.
You can read more about crows eating squirrels in this article we have written right here. Again do not feed poisoned squirrels to crows to avoid poisoning them.
Rabbits: crows can also eat rabbits, however, rabbits are not easy prey for the crows since they have even been known to outwit more dangerous birds of prey such as eagles or owls. However, an injured, young rabbit is an easy meal for crows especially when they are many.
Birds: Small birds also form an important part of the crows diet, crows will not only hurnt for these small birds but also their eggs and nestlings.
However, research has established that crows despite being deadly to these birds cannot influence their population or even cause their extinction. In fact, we wrote a well-detailed article on whether crows eat other birds which you can find right here.
What kind of birds eat rodents?
Some of the most other deadly predators of rodents such as rats, mice, and moles apart from crows are birds of prey such as eagles, owls, hawks, heron, and blue jays.
Some rodents predators such as birds of prey will actively hunt, kill and eat rodents. While rodents are not afraid of the crows and can even stand their ground, they will normally not do the same when faced with birds of prey such as eagles, hawks or owls.
Do ravens eat rodents? Just like crows, ravens can also eat rodents such as rats, moles, and mice. Ravens can either hunt and kill the rodents or eat them as roadkill. However, you should not feed ravens poisoned rodents.
It is clear that rodents form part of the crows’ prey list. There are tons of videos on youtube of crows chasing and hunting rodents such as rats. However, never feed crows poisoned rats or any other rodents for that matter. Research has shown that rat poison is lethal to crows and other wild birds.