We spend so much time concerned with what mice eat – in order to bait traps correctly and to properly store such foods in a way that mice can’t get to them – that little thought is given to what eat mice. Of course one could instead ask “What doesn’t eat mice?” as there seems to be no end to the list of creatures that will gladly feast upon these abundant rodents. After all, what animal would turn up its nose (or beak, or mandibles) at food that can be readily found in abundance? Mice are simply the convenience snack of the animal kingdom.
Which animals do mice have to worry about most? While it is not unheard of for some of the larger tarantulas to feast upon a mouse, most spiders do not count mice among their regular prey, and in fact spiders may instead appear on a mouse’s diet. And where a large amphibian may occasionally catch and eat a mouse, the majority of their diet is made up of smaller animals, principally insects. There are many animals that act as rodent control, eating mice daily as part of their staple diet as they keep the rodent’s numbers in check. These are the ones that are considered to be the mouse’s natural enemies, and they may be found in several classes within the animal kingdom.
Birds – Birds of prey such as eagles, hawks and owls see mice as standard fare to be sought after and snared. The heron, crow and blue jay are non-raptor birds that will also eat rodents when they find them.
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 snake’s preference for a rodent dinner, but such pets are often offered frozen rather than live mice. This is due to either the owner’s sensibilities or their desire to not see their pets injured by food that attempts to fight back.
Mammals – Cats are most identified with being the mouse’s top nemesis, but house cats will not necessarily eat mice once they have finished “playing” with them. Not so for their feral counterparts, nor their wild cat cousins, who actively hunt mice for sustenance. Big cats such as lions, tigers and jaguars need heartier meals, but will still snack on them to help fill their bellies. Canines, though not associated with mice the way felines are, are also just as ready to eat mice to survive. Perhaps your domestic dog won’t, but wolves, foxes, jackals and coyotes most definitely will. And as with pet reptiles, ferrets kept as pets should be fed pre-killed mice for their own safety.
There is another animal that has been known to feast on mice. It belongs with the mammals but differs from those listed above in many ways. Unlike the other mammals, this species has a large majority that would refuse to eat mice, even if hungry. Its members that do partake of them are located only in certain nations, and they are often shunned by those found throughout the rest of the world. This distinctive mammal is the human, and it is one of the mouse’s foremost enemies.
As a species, we humans are perhaps the pickiest eaters on the food chain — mainly because we can be. Not limited to eating only that which we catch, our tastes have refined to the point where we are easily turned off by certain foods, especially ones that are known to be parasite-carrying plague spreaders.
Yet there are still 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. And 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.
Even though there are quite a large number of animals that will gladly eat a mouse that decides to set up residence in your home, it is not recommended that you let them kill, and possibly eat, such rodents. Mice can carry parasites and diseases that may make your pets – and even you – very sick. So instead of risking their health and yours, turn to a reliable brand of mouse trap to do the job for you. With over a century of reliable experience designing and selling mouse traps, Victor® can offer just what you need, and even has hygienic models such as the Victor® Clean Kill™ trap to ensure that any parasites on the rodent remain with the rodent!