Peter Pearson's picture

Crow v Rat
About a week ago we witnessed an encounter between a Brown Rat and Carrion Crow
Bread had been put out in the garden for the birds, but unfortunately an opportunistic Rat found and commenced running out from under the summerhouse, seizing a piece before going back into hiding. Meanwhile a Carrion Crow came down, took two slices of bread and dunked it in a shallow bowl of water put out as a water source for visiting birds. It left the bread to soak a while then filling its beak it flew off.
No sooner had it flown off than the rat came out and going straight to the dish took all of the crows’ cache, even though there was other bread at hand.
On its return the crow sat on the fence, obviously saw its bread had gone and began looking around the garden. Eventually it flew down, walked up to the summerhouse and had a good look underneath, then flew off.
Today 23/05/2013 I was in the house when a movement outside drew my attention. It was a carrion crow which was hammering the head of a rat with its beak.
I am not sure that the crow was actually responsible for killing the rat, but there seems to be no other explanation. It was however the rat responsible for stealing the bread in the first place, recognised by an exceptionally long tail and size. It had also formed the habit of coming out when the birds gather in the garden to feed.
The crow then proceed feeding on the rats corpse first disembowelling it as in the attached photograph. The head injury to the rat is clearly visible.
I believe the crow was responsible for the rats demise and ask the question, has anyone knowledge of similar behaviour. I know crows will take young birds from the nest, but have never heard reports of their killing almost fully grow rats.



Amadan's picture

This is fascinating -

I have read of them killing other small mammals (one such activity, hunting moles in their burrows by sound, was included in the novel "Watership Down").
It seems entirely likely that it was responsible, though whether we can attribute revenge to the act is another matter. I'd personally like to think so!