Do Pet Rabbits Attract Mice / Rats?

Did you see a rodent in your rabbit’s hutch, and now you cannot help but wonder if pet rabbits attract mice or other rodents?

The good news is that rabbits don’t attract rodents.

However, their food, bedding, and droppings can attract mice and rats. Pet rabbits get top-quality food, which attracts mice due to their acute sense of smell.

Let’s learn why rabbit food, droppings, and bedding attract mice and other rodents in detail!

Do Rabbits Attract Mice / Rats?

If you’re worried that your rabbit is dirty and it might attract rats or mice, you have nothing to worry about. Mice and rats are not attracted to your rabbit.

These rodents roam around at night, looking for food sources.

So while mice/rats are not attracted by rabbits per se, they are attracted to the food you give to your rabbit, their droppings, and their warm hay bedding on the cage or hutch floor.

Thanks to the latter, you might come across rodents in your rabbit’s enclosure during winters. They seek a warm place that can also offer them food. 

Since rodents are opportunistic scavengers, they have an impressive sense of smell.

They use their nose to sniff out food and attractive nesting sites. Pet rabbits happen to have the perfect habitat for rodents.

When rodents find an attractive food reserve, they send out pheromones to other rodents. It’s their way of informing other mice that they have found the perfect food source and nest.

It’s also why mice and rats are attracted to your shed, which you might use to store your rabbit food and bedding. Moreover, large rabbit hutches are secure enough to keep rodent predators out.

The bedding offers them insulation, and they have readily available food and water. Rodents, especially rats, can also feast on rabbit poop.

Why Does Rabbit Poop Attract Rats & Mice?

Mice and rats get attracted to the smell of your pet rabbit’s droppings. Rodents, especially rats, practice coprophagy, which is the practice of eating excrement.

It allows them to salvage the nutrients that were not absorbed into your rabbit’s body during digestion.

Pet rabbits are usually fed top-quality food regularly so their food is rich in nutrients. If your rabbit has a high-quality diet, its body will attract the needed nutrients and flush out the rest in its poop.

Since that poop is nutrient-rich, it will attract rodents. A mouse or rat’s acute sense of smell will guide it toward the droppings, especially if your rabbit’s enclosure is not clean.

Kinds of Rabbit Food That Attract Rodents

As we have established, rodents are attracted to the type of food you give to your pet rabbit.

Since rodents are opportunistic omnivores, they will typically eat whatever they find.

The usual rabbit food sources that mice and rats devour include:

  • Fresh vegetables, such as peas, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, and parsley
  • Fresh fruits, such as apples, pears, cherries, bananas, pineapples, and melons
  • High-quality Timothy and Alfalfa hay pallets

Once a rodent makes its way into your home, it will also go into your trash bag to eat the discarded food, rabbit droppings, etc.

Rabbit Bedding That Might Attract Mice & Rats

Rodents always search for cozy, warm beddings in dark corners. They are particularly attracted to the smell of rabbit bedding. So, you must clean it regularly.

Typically, rats and mice will make their home in the following pet rabbit bedding:

  • Hay bedding that they can also nibble on when hungry
  • Paper bedding, as it will keep them warm
  • Towels that they can also shred into smaller pieces
  • Fleece bedding that they can rip and shred to fluff up and make a warmer nest

Do Rats & Mice Attack Rabbits?

Wild rats can attack rabbits, especially if your rabbit is small. Since rats are pretty sneaky, they prefer to go in and out of the hutch with the food.

However, if they find your rabbit in their way, they will attack them. A wild rat might even kill vulnerable rabbit kits.

A rat might bite, scratch, or tear your rabbit’s skin while attacking it.

It might enter the rabbit enclosure, carry the kit by its scruff to a safe space, and then kill it. They can hunt and kill kits as a food source.

If a doe tries to protect its young from the rat, it might also get attacked. Similarly, if a rat feels trapped, it might attack your rabbit.

With that said, since rabbits are quite tame, they will not typically get in the way of a rat. They also won’t be bothered by the rat eating their food.

However, territorial rabbits will fight them off. Since rat teeth can even chew through metal, the skin and bones of a rabbit will not protect it in such a fight.

At times, rat bits are so bad that a vet visit becomes necessary. Moreover, they carry several diseases that can harm your rabbit.

Unlike wild rats, mice will not attack rabbits or their kits. Since mice are small scavengers, they frighten pretty easily. So, it’s more likely that your rabbit will frighten the mice than the other way around.

However, a mouse can quickly get used to the rabbit’s movement in its hutch, which will dissipate its fear. It’s when mice will create a living space for themselves inside the hutch.

Moreover, since rabbits are incredibly docile, they will inevitably live peacefully with the mice. Which is why you need to keep an eye on their hutch to ensure it remains mice-free.

Can Rodents Cause Your Rabbit to Fall Sick?

Even though mice will not attack your rabbits, they can still be pretty dangerous to them. It’s because they carry several diseases, such as salmonella and hantavirus.

These diseases can be transmitted to your rabbit if it comes into contact with mice dropping, urine, and nesting material. Even if their droppings are dry, the tiny dust particles can contaminate your pet rabbit.

Rodents also carry other deadly viral infections, such as Lymphocytic choriomeningitis.

Rabbits can get exposed to this virus through fresh mouse droppings, nesting material, saliva, and urine.

It can get transmitted to your rabbit and cause inflammation in their brain and spinal cord. This viral infection can cause them to experience paralysis and even fatality if it remains untreated.

Moreover, mice also carry fleas, mites, and lice that can easily transfer to your rabbit.

These parasites can prove to be deadly if not treated timely. Additionally, some of the diseases carried by mice can also be transmitted to humans. It’s why you need to keep rodents away from your rabbit.

If you believe your rabbit has been infected with any of these diseases, take them to the vet right away.

Also, wear gloves and closed shoes when handling your rabbit and cleaning their hutch. Don’t forget to disinfect your hands after you clean the hutch.

Rats Can Also Harm Your Rabbit

Apart from being aggressive and harmful, rats can also infect your pet rabbit with many diseases. They can transmit the following diseases to your rabbit:

  • Rat Bite Fever: It’s a bacterial disease rats can transmit to other animals when they scratch or bite them.
  • Tularemia: This bacterial disease is transmitted when your rabbit comes into contact with a sick rat or is exposed to its bite or blood. Even ticks can pass this disease onto your rabbits.
  • Leptospirosis: This virus is in a rat’s urine. If a rabbit’s water gets contaminated with it, it will fall ill after drinking it. This disease will cause your rabbit to experience diarrhea, fever, weakness, muscle pain, and loss of appetite.
  • Hantavirus: This viral infection can cause respiratory failure in your pet rabbit. It can be severe or fatal. Your rabbit can contract this virus from exposure to rat droppings.
  • Salmonellosis: Also known as food poisoning, salmonella will affect your rabbit’s intestines.

How to Keep Rodents Out of Your Rabbit’s Enclosure

You can keep rodents out of your rabbit’s enclosure by following these steps:

Clean Your Rabbit’s Enclosure

Ideally, you should clean your rabbit’s enclosure every day.

This way, you can keep the smell of leftover food and droppings at bay, preventing rodents from finding their way to the enclosure.

You must also wash the bedding and throw out the soiled parts regularly. Even if you remove the droppings, the smell will linger and attract rodents.

If the rabbit enclosure appears to be clean, spot-check to remove any bedding and droppings that might attract rodents.

Make the Hutch Rodent-Proof

Rodents are notorious for making their way through the smallest cracks and holes. It’s why you should make your rabbit’s hutch rodent-proof.

Make sure that the mesh walls you use are made with 0.5-inch chicken wire, as it will keep rodents out.

Keep the floor of the hutch solid to prevent droppings from falling to the floor and getting mushed.

Solid floors will also prevent your rabbit from experiencing painful and sore hocks. If you notice that your rabbit’s enclosure is getting damaged from the outside, upgrade it to keep rodents out.

If you don’t want rats or mice to gnaw their way into the enclosure, use thick plastic or solid materials to line the floor.

Block all cracks, holes, and crevices that rodents can squeeze through.

Alternatively, you can invest in a welded mesh enclosure designed to keep mice and rats out. These enclosures are quite easy to clean and have extended roofs for shading.

They also have solid floors to prevent sore hocks and keep the rodents out.

Keep Rabbit Food and Bedding in Rodent-Free Zones

Since rodents are attracted to your pet rabbit’s food, ensure that you don’t leave any food or leftover food bits unattended. It will act as a massive temptation for rodents.

Keep your rabbit’s food inside thick plastic containers that will securely mask the smell of food.

Similarly, keep your rabbit’s bedding in secure boxes that rats cannot get into. It’s because fresh hay will act as the perfect nesting place for rodents.

Moreover, when you discard your rabbit’s old food and bedding, place it in the trash securely so that rats or mice cannot chew through it.

Keep them in heavy, secure bins that will mask the smell of soiled food and bedding.

Additionally, don’t buy rabbit food in bulk. If you are doing that, make sure not to keep it in your shed or garage, where rodents can access it easily. Store them in tightly-lidded containers.

Place the Hutch in a Place That Rodents Cannot Access

Put the rabbit hutch or enclosure flush against your wall or around 3 feet away from all walls. If your hutch is outside, near bushes and trees, move it away from them.

It’s because mice and rats can hide in the dark and live in trees for food sources nearby. Your rabbit will require shade, and you can offer it artificial shade instead of using a tree.

Extend the roof of the hutch for that additional shade.

Clean the Clutter to Keep Rabbits Away

Mice and rats are not just attracted to rabbit enclosures, they are also attracted to clutter. They love to make their nests in damp, warm, and dark places.

Cleaning the clutter in your yard or garden might not keep the mice away for good, but it will make your home and rabbit hutch less attractive.

Take the following steps to keep your outdoor rabbit hutch protected from rodents:

  • Clean up piles of garden waste, leaves, and trash bags.
  • Don’t pile up cardboard boxes or cardboard pieces in your yard as they are notorious nesting spots for rodents.
  • Keep pikes of wood and wood shavings locked up in a shed. Since wood is warm and soaks up the sun, mice get attracted to it.
  • Remove all tablecloths, tarps, and other discarded large sheets from your yard.
  • Clean compost heaps and keep the compost in tightly lidded bins.
  • Clear up discarded items and toys from your yard as they might invite rodents to make their homes in them.

Other Methods of Protecting Your Rabbits from Rodents

Many animal lovers don’t want to take the pest control route to keep rodents away. However, you can try several human methods to prevent them from harming your rabbits.

Rodent traps don’t have to be lethal. You can buy traps designed to safely capture mice and rats and release them away from home.

You can also use rodent deterrents, such as chemical and natural sprays that are safe for rabbits and other pets. Use them in your yard and protect your rabbit’s hutch with them.

These sprays will disrupt the rodents’ pheromones and will smell awful to them, which will keep them away. You can use peppermint oil to keep mice away since they hate the smell of peppermint.

Put it in a spray bottle, add a little water, and spray it liberally around your rabbit’s enclosure, your compost bin, trash bags, and rabbit food and bedding storage.

The Bottom Line

Rabbits are lovable, docile pets to keep. However, their food, droppings, and bedding can attract mice and other rodents. While mice will not attack your rabbits, rats will fight them when provoked.

Mice and rats also carry multiple diseases that they can transmit to your rabbit, making them fall ill. It’s why you must take the aforementioned preventative steps to keep rodents away from your rabbit.

If your rabbit gets into contact with a rodent, get in touch with the vet and get an overall health checkup.

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