Rabbits are adorable pets, but it’s a problem when mice start showing up in their hutches.
The first time this happened with our rabbit, I was shocked.
I thought our bunny would scare them off, but it almost seemed like they kept coming back!
I decided to research the question: Do rabbits attract mice?
Rabbits tend to attract mice when kept outside. Mice are drawn to their droppings and the warm, safe hutch. Both of these animals tend to get along and don’t cause direct problems with each other, but mice and rodents can pass the illness to our bunny friends.
This started me down a rabbit hole of questions (see what I did there?) about rabbits and mice in general.
Read ahead for more on what I found out!
Table of Contents
Why Do Rabbits Attract Mice?
There are several reasons why mice are drawn to rabbits.
While mice are not necessarily attracted to the actual rabbit, mice usually feast on the same types of food as rabbits.
Mice have a strong sense of smell and will inevitably be drawn to uneaten bits of food in a rabbit’s enclosure.
Rabbit hutches are usually lined with hay and other bedding materials.
This makes the perfect nesting material for mice to build a warm, cozy home for themselves.
Mice and rats seek water sources; a rabbit’s water dish can be an additional attraction for rodents.
An unhygienic rabbit enclosure can provide plenty of hiding places for uneaten rabbit food and soiled bedding.
Rodents are opportunists and will take advantage of easily accessible cages.
A rabbit housing provides a safe, warm habitat for mice.
Do Mice Eat Rabbit Poop?
Laboratory studies have shown that mice are known to eat their feces and rabbit droppings.
The practice of coprophagy is the eating of fecal matter to recoup minerals not absorbed on the first go-round, and it also improves the rat’s digestion.
This is a normal practice for some species of animals, including rodents.
Fecal matter provides mice with essential minerals such as:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin K
- Complex B Vitamins
- Folic Acid
Also trapped inside the droppings are bits of food that can provide an additional source of nourishment to rodents.
When rodents are deprived of this type of nutrient, they can experience deficiencies in growth and development.
Once mice find a reliable food source, they will always return.
Why Are Mice And Rats Bad For Rabbits?
Rodents are carriers of a host of diseases and bacterial infections that can be passed on to rabbits.
Some of these illnesses can be quite dangerous.
These diseases can be spread to your animals through bites.
Rats are considered omnivores, which means that in addition to eating food and feces, they also eat other animals.
They may not attack a full-grown rabbit, but they certainly could easily over-power and kill kits.
In addition, rodent droppings and urine can also be contaminated and cause disease.
On top of posing as a dangerous threat because of disease, rats may instill fear into your vulnerable rabbits and kittens, creating an unpleasant and threatening environment for your animals.
Rat Bite Fever
Rat-bite fever (RBF) is an infectious disease that can be fatal.
It is made up of two different bacterial strains; streptobacillus moniliformis and Spirillum minus.
This infection is carried in the urine, saliva, and dropping of the rodent.
Rabbits can become infected when they encounter the rodent’s bodily waste.
The bacteria can enter a rabbit’s body through cuts and injuries.
It can also enter through the eyes, nose, mouth.
Rabbits can also be exposed to this dangerous bacterium through contaminated food or water.
The symptoms caused by RBF are:
- Joint Pain
- Muscle Pain
- Skin Ulcers
These symptoms may appear anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks after contact with the bacteria.
On the opposite of pain and slow movement, check out our article on why rabbits run in circles.
Salmonellosis infection carries a bacteria called Salmonella.
It is a tremendously contagious disease.
It can be spread by consuming food, water, or contact with the bedding of contaminated rodents.
Rats are carriers of the disease, and it can reside inside their intestines without obvious symptoms.
While Salmonellosis is rare in rabbits, it is associated with epizootic rabbit enteropathy (ERE).
This is a highly lethal infectious disease linked to boiler rabbits.
The term “epizootic” is akin to an outbreak of disease that can threaten the life of the public at large.
Salmonella bacteria is link to ERE.
The symptoms of contagion are diarrhea in young kits in the 6–14-week-old range.
Additional symptoms are lesions and swelling of the stomach and intestines.
It goes without saying that this is a very serious condition, and immediate medical care should be sought.
Aside from the spread of disease and parasites, mice can create a frightening atmosphere for bunnies, causing them to be terrified in their own space.
However, rats are much more of a danger than mice.
Rats view small rabbits as a food source.
They are known at times to attack and kill rabbit kittens.
Rabbits are vulnerable to a rat or mouse attack because of their docile nature.
They get along well with other animals and will not have a strong reaction to a rat invading their cages.
If a female rabbit doe feels the need to defend her kittens, a rat might attack the kits to defend itself.
While rats may not attack a full-grown rabbit, they are known to defend themselves if a conflict arises.
In an attack, a rabbit may be injured and require medical care since the potential of rat infection is highly probable.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)
This infection can be fatal.
It affects the respiratory system.
It can cause Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS), which is associated with a group of illnesses.
In 2020, scientists discovered (RHDV2), which is the rabbit version of hemorrhagic disease.
This disease has been tracked across the US.
There is a bit of good news, HPS doesn’t affect humans.
However, it carries a highly contagious infection rate that affects both domestic and wild rabbits.
Rabbits that are exposed to the virus through feces, urine, or saliva or through rodent bites are at risk of infection and death.
Rodent infestation is cited as one of the causes of exposure to this deadly syndrome.
The symptoms of the disease are sudden death.
Nose bleeds may also be visible caused by internal bleeding.
This is a bacterial infectious disease.
It is passed into water sources by infected rats and other animals.
The bacterium can survive for months.
The frightening fact about this condition is it can be a silent disease.
A contaminated animal may not have any symptoms but be carriers of the disease for years.
Leptospirosis can be passed on to humans.
Sometimes, symptoms can be present in rabbits.
The symptoms are:
- Muscle Pain And Weakness
- Excessive Thirst
- Lack Of Appetite
This is a virus that is carried by mice.
Mice are considered as the main carriers but can spread the disease to other animals, including rabbits.
Symptoms can appear after a week of contact with a contaminated rodent.
Symptoms tend to appear in two stages.
A few of the symptoms that present themselves in the first stages of the disease are fever, lack of appetite, headache, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting.
The second stage of this illness can lead to meningitis or encephalitis.
Tularemia, otherwise known as rabbit fever, is a disease caused by Francisella tularensis bacteria. In the animal kingdom, it is usually associated with rabbits.
The bacterium usually originates with a mosquito bite and then spreads to an animal such as rodents or hares.
The infection can be spread from direct contact with infected animal tissue, such as skin, or eating contaminated food or water.
The symptoms range from no symptoms at all to extreme illnesses such as ulcers, swelling, chills, and muscle pain.
How To Keep Mice Away From Rabbit Hutch (H2)
A messy rabbit enclosure is an open invitation to rodents.
Mice and rats have an incredibly keen sense of smell.
Additionally, they can squeeze themselves into the smallest of cracks.
They will be drawn to soiled rabbit bedding, uneaten food, and rabbit droppings.
- Keep the enclosures well maintained and regularly disinfected. Experts recommend a mixture of 10% bleach or 10% sodium hydroxide mixed with water.
- Review your sanitation procedures and be prepared to tighten any lapses.
- Keep water and food bowls sanitized regularly.
- Since mice and rats are more active at night, remove any uneaten food and water from the rabbit hutch before settling down for the night.
- Keep stored rabbit food supplies in a sealed container. Rats strong sense of smell could attract them to open or unsecured stored food supplies.
- Some breeders swear by natural methods and use peppermint oils. They based their theory on the fact that rats have a strong sense of smell. Oils such as peppermint are an irritant.
- Other natural products that mice hate to smell, and act as a repellent, are cinnamon, vinegar, dryer sheets, clove oil, tea bags, mint toothpaste, ammonia, cloves, clove oil, and cayenne pepper.
- It is recommended to use fleece blankets for bedding instead of hay or shredded paper. The fleece is said to be super comfortable for your bunnies but does not create the same messy environment hay and shredded paper. Fleece, also does not provide mice the nesting material they desire.
- Since mice and rats are nocturnal and seek out dark, enclosed spaces. Experts recommend installing lighting around rabbit cages to deter mice. Rabbits are Crepuscular, which means they are active during the light hours of the day.
Peppermint oil is probably to safest, easiest, and best option of all the ones above.
We use it in our home and in our rabbit hutches to keep the mice away.
Combined with a clean hutch, you’ll be able to prevent most instances of mice infestation and keep your pets safe.
How To Get Rid Of Mice When You Have Rabbits
Once signs of rodents are spotted, taking decisive action is a must.
Mice have short gestation periods and are capable of multiple births.
It is possible for one mouse to produce hundreds of babies within a year.
There is no end to rat-killing products available on the market.
However, while maintaining rabbits, you want to ensure the products do not harm your animal stock.
Rodent bait traps stored in areas away from rabbit enclosures will keep pets safe and allow you to target rodents.
“No-kill” mouse traps are a humane option for the capture of small rodents.
Rabbit breeders recommend using strong wire cages and small gauge wiring.
Metal caging will not deter mice, but small gauge mesh may keep out larger rodents, such as rats.
Strong metals will not be easily gnawed through by rodents.
Cats are a deterrent to rodents.
Cats love to chase fast-moving targets; also, the smell is a warning to mice.
Do Rabbits Kill Mice?
Rabbits are strong animals and can give a hard hind kick if hard pressed.
However, they are mostly docile animals and prefer to live and let live.
They are very vulnerable and need human protection from the danger rodents present.
Also, rabbits are vegetarians.
Therefore they are not tempted to attack rodents for food.
However, a large male rabbit may be aggressive enough to kill a rodent if attacked.
Do Mice Eat Rabbits?
Mice are attracted to spaces that hold rabbits but not to attack them for food.
With a rabbit’s non-aggressive nature, they tend to get along with other animals.
Mice may come and go in a rabbit enclosure without much of a stir.
Rats, however, are a different story.
They do not view the full-grown rabbits as food, but they have been known to drag off and eat baby rabbits.
Which Are More Dangerous For Rabbits: Rats Or Mice?
Mice and rats, alike, can carry dangerous viruses and bacterium.
Therefore, they equally pose a health risk and cause fatalities to captive rabbits.
However, rats are much more aggressive than mice.
In fact, mice are terrified of rats.
Also, rats view kits as a potential food source.
They can kill and eat the babies.
Regardless of the fact that rats are more dangerous, infections spread by rats or mice are bad news.
Prevention and strict attention to sanitization is required to maintain the health and welfare of the rabbits under your care.
Check out if rabbits like to watch TV.