Do Foxes Eat Mice & Rats: Ultimate Guide

Have you recently discovered a mouse or a rat scurrying around your garden or living in your shed? Perhaps you’re just generally curious about their predators?

Whatever brings you here today, we’ll be looking at something that many people have thought – do foxes eat mice and rats?

The short answer is yes. Foxes do eat mice and rats. In fact, they make quite a large part of their overall diet. But why do foxes choose to eat mice and rats?

And how do they manage to hunt them down? Keep reading to find out more in this ultimate guide. 

Why Do Foxes Eat Mice & Rats

Let’s start by exploring why foxes eat mice and rats. Just like all animals, foxes need food to survive. And, while they are omnivorous and have a diet that consists of plants as well as meat, most of their protein needs come from meat.  

Mice and rats make an easy target for a fox simply because they are so small. Once they’ve been caught, all it takes is one swift, fatal bite and the fox has caught itself an easy meal.

Their small size also means that they are lightweight, so they are perfect for taking back to their dens for safe eating. They may also be stored for later or fed to the fox’s kits (baby foxes). 

You might think that a mouse or a rat has an advantage over a fox by being able to scale walls and fences. However, foxes are incredibly agile animals and they can even climb trees in the pursuit of their prey.

The only real advantage that mice and rats have over a fox is that they can fit into tiny spaces. This doesn’t mean that they are guaranteed safety, though.

Foxes have semi-retractable claws so, depending on the space the rodent is sheltering in, they still may be able to reach in and pull them out. 

How Do Foxes Kill Mice & Rats?

Both mice and rats like to conceal themselves as much as possible as a form of defense. They will rarely venture out into open spaces as this leaves them vulnerable to attacks from multiple predators.

They’ll also choose to move around at nighttime more than they do during the day as another way of avoiding capture.

With this in mind, how does a fox manage to spot a mouse or a rat? Well, they actually have quite a few weapons in their arsenal.

The first of these in their incredible night vision. Foxes can see incredibly well in the dark, which means they have no real issues spotting a mouse or a rat running around.

So, even though these rodents might believe they are safe under the cover of darkness, they aren’t as invisible as they might believe!

Foxes also have an incredible sense of smell. Just like a dog, their noses are covered in thousands of tiny nerve endings that are connected directly to the smell-identifying part of their brain.

As soon as they get the scent of a mouse or a rat, they are able to sniff it out with excellent precision. 

Finally, foxes have amazing hearing. Their ears are specially evolved to pin-point the tiniest of sounds, including the miniature feet of a mouse or a rat. They can also move each ear independently to help them locate the exact location of their prey while still being aware of their own predators. 

Put all of these skills together and you’ve got one incredibly effective rodent-killing machine!

Foxes, Mice, Rats, & Garbage

You might think that a fox’s ability to hunt mice and rats so effectively would make them a useful creature when it comes to vermin control. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. 

If you have a rodent problem, the chances are they are probably there because there is a reliable source of food for them to live off. In most cases, this will be garbage that hasn’t been properly contained. 

Foxes are opportunistic scavengers and they’ll go for an easy meal rather than hunt as a way of conserving energy.

So, if you have garbage that isn’t being managed or disposed of properly, they’ll simply join the eating party rather than kill any of the mice and rats that are also feasting on it. 

The rodents won’t dine at the same time, of course. However, the fox certainly won’t hang around until they arrive. Each of the animals will simply feed on the garbage instead. This is more common in urban areas, though. 


Mice and rats make up quite a large portion of a rural fox’s diet as they are easy to catch and small enough to carry back to their dens. They are well-equipped to hunt them too with their night vision, incredible hearing, and amazing sense of smell.

On the other hand, urban foxes are less likely to eat mice and rats as there is usually lots of garbage hanging around that they can feast on instead. 

Chad Fox

Chad Fox is an author and researcher dedicated to bringing reliable information about foxes to the public. He supports animal sanctuary awareness.

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