Cockroaches and rats are two of the most notorious urban pests. If you have issues with both in your home, you may wonder – do rats eat roaches? The short answer is yes, rats do eat cockroaches. However, the relationship between rats and roaches is complex.

In this approximately 3000 word article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the interactions between rats and cockroaches, including reasons rats eat roaches, how they catch and kill them, and whether roaches can harm rats in return.

Rats are omnivorous and will eat just about anything they can find, including roaches. The two pests often wind up in the same environments, leading to inevitable conflict.

Reasons Rats Eat Cockroaches

Rats Need High-Protein Foods

Rats are opportunistic eaters and have a diverse diet, which includes both plant-based and animal-based foods. While they primarily feed on grains, fruits, and vegetables, they also have a strong preference for high-protein foods.

Cockroaches, being insects, are an excellent source of protein for rats. Their bodies contain essential amino acids that help rats maintain their health and energy levels. In fact, studies have shown that rats who have access to cockroaches in their environment have higher survival rates and better reproductive success.

Roaches are an Easy Meal

Roaches are nocturnal creatures that scurry around in search of food at night. Their behavior makes them an easy target for rats, who are also active during the nighttime. Rats have sharp teeth and strong jaws that enable them to catch and consume roaches effortlessly.

Moreover, cockroaches are slow-moving insects, making it even easier for rats to catch and eat them. This makes cockroaches a convenient and readily available food source for rats, especially in environments where both species coexist.

Rats Eat Roaches for Water

In addition to being a source of protein, cockroaches also provide rats with water. Rats need water to survive, and while they can obtain some moisture from their food, they still require additional hydration. Cockroaches have a high water content, and rats can extract water by consuming them.

This is especially important for rats living in dry environments or during periods of water scarcity. By consuming roaches, rats can supplement their water intake and ensure their survival.

How Rats Catch and Kill Cockroaches

When it comes to catching and killing cockroaches, rats have developed several impressive techniques. Their ability to adapt and survive in various environments makes them formidable predators for these pesky insects. Let’s take a closer look at how rats manage to catch and kill cockroaches.

Lightning Fast Attacks

Rats are known for their lightning-fast attacks when hunting cockroaches. With their sharp senses and agility, they can swiftly pounce on unsuspecting roaches. Rats have incredible speed and can quickly close the gap between themselves and their prey.

Once within striking distance, they use their sharp teeth and claws to immobilize the cockroach, making it unable to escape.

Overpowering Strength

Another advantage that rats have over cockroaches is their overpowering strength. Rats are much larger and more muscular than cockroaches, allowing them to overpower and subdue their prey. They can easily pin down a cockroach with their weight and use their strong jaws to deliver a fatal bite.

Rats also possess the ability to squeeze into tight spaces, making it easier for them to reach areas where cockroaches hide. This gives them a significant advantage when it comes to ambushing and capturing their prey.

Group Hunting

Rats are known to be social creatures and often hunt in groups. The advantage of group hunting is that rats can coordinate their attacks and corner cockroaches, making it harder for the insects to escape. This teamwork increases their chances of capturing and killing multiple cockroaches at once.

Furthermore, when rats hunt in groups, they can also share their findings with other members of their colony. This knowledge-sharing behavior allows them to learn from each other’s hunting techniques and improve their efficiency in catching cockroaches.

Can Roaches Harm Rats in Return?

When discussing the relationship between rats and roaches, one common question that arises is whether roaches can harm rats in return. While it may seem like a possibility, the truth is that roaches are unlikely to cause any significant harm to rats directly.

However, there are indirect ways in which roaches can pose a threat to rats.

Roach Bites Are Unlikely to Cause Harm

Rats are large and aggressive animals, making them less susceptible to harm from roach bites. Roaches typically do not pose a threat to rats in terms of physical harm. Rats have tough skin and are equipped with sharp teeth and strong jaws, allowing them to defend themselves against smaller insects like roaches.

So, while it’s possible for a roach to bite a rat, it’s unlikely to cause any substantial harm.

Roaches Carry Diseases Rats Can Catch

Although roaches may not directly harm rats, they can indirectly put them at risk by carrying diseases. Roaches are known to be carriers of various pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

If a rat comes into contact with roach droppings or consumes food that has been contaminated by roaches, it may become susceptible to diseases such as salmonella, dysentery, or even parasites like tapeworms. These diseases can have detrimental effects on a rat’s health and well-being.

Roaches Eat Rat Food

Roaches are opportunistic feeders and will consume almost anything they come across, including rat food. If rats and roaches share the same living space, roaches may compete with rats for food sources.

This can lead to a shortage of food for the rats, potentially affecting their growth and overall health. Additionally, sharing food sources with roaches increases the risk of contamination and the spread of diseases, as mentioned earlier.

Managing Both Pests

When it comes to dealing with both rats and roaches, it’s important to have a comprehensive pest management plan in place. Here are some effective strategies to help you manage both pests:

Inspect for Entry Points

One of the first steps in managing rats and roaches is to identify and seal any potential entry points in your home. Rats can squeeze through small holes and cracks, while roaches can fit through even smaller gaps.

Conduct a thorough inspection of your property, paying close attention to areas such as vents, pipes, and gaps around windows and doors. Use caulk or other appropriate materials to seal off any openings.

Deploy Traps and Baits

Traps and baits can be effective tools in controlling both rats and roaches. For rats, snap traps and glue traps can be used to capture or kill them. Place traps along walls, near known rat activity areas, and where droppings or chew marks are present.

For roaches, baits containing insecticides can be placed in areas where they are commonly found, such as kitchens and bathrooms. These baits attract roaches and can help eliminate them.

Practice Good Sanitation

Maintaining a clean and sanitary environment is crucial in preventing both rats and roaches from infesting your home. Regularly clean up food spills, crumbs, and garbage. Store food in airtight containers and keep pet food sealed. Remove clutter and debris where pests can hide.

By depriving them of food and shelter, you can discourage both rats and roaches from making your home their own.

Know When to Call a Professional

If your rat or roach infestation persists despite your best efforts, it may be time to call a professional pest control company. These experts have the knowledge, experience, and tools to effectively eliminate both pests from your home.

They can conduct a thorough inspection, develop a customized treatment plan, and provide ongoing monitoring to ensure the infestation is completely eradicated.

Remember, managing both rats and roaches requires a proactive approach. By implementing these strategies and seeking professional help when needed, you can effectively control and prevent infestations of both pests in your home.


As we’ve discussed, rats readily eat cockroaches when given the opportunity. Their protein-rich bodies make them a tasty treat for rats. Rats have the abilities to swiftly catch roaches and consume them.

While roaches don’t directly harm rats, they do compete for resources and can transmit diseases. The ideal solution is to control populations of both pests through integrated pest management techniques.

With diligence, you can get cockroach and rat problems under control and prevent the two species from interacting in your home.

Similar Posts