You might be surprised to learn that there are a huge number of slug predators that you might find in your garden. But are mice one of them? Do mice eat slugs or will they do more harm than good in your garden?
Generally, mice will eat seeds, grains and plant-based foods. But, mice will also eat slugs and other insects if needs be.
In the wild, mice like to eat all sorts of seeds, grass, and plant-based foods. However, mice will also eat insects including snails and slugs.
If you spot any mice in your garden, chances are they will eat up any slugs they come across. But, you do have to question whether or not you want mice to take over your garden when you could work to encourage other predators instead.
Is It Safe for Mice to Eat Slugs?
Generally speaking, slugs will cause no harm to any mice that eat them up. The slug, itself, is harmless. However, this doesn’t mean that they are always safe for mice (and other animals) to eat.
There are a few risks. Firstly, a slug can be a carrier of dangerous parasites which it can then pass onto other animals. The most common of these is the lungworm parasite.
If a slug has consumed slug pellets, then the poison in these pellets can also be passed onto anything that eats them causing secondhand death.
Unfortunately, this is the case of any animals that might end up consuming a slug including your pets. This is why it’s strongly encouraged for you to use pet-friendly slug pellets in the garden to avoid unwanted damage to your pets as well as wildlife in general.
Do Rats Eat Slugs?
Rats are opportunistic animals that will feed on anything they come across when hungry. A rat’s diet is incredibly varied, and they eat insects, worms, snails, and slugs.
Since rats are not particular about the food they eat, they will also eat slug pellets, which can be quite dangerous. Slug pellets are known to attract rats as they look for food. If you use slug pellets in your garden, chances are they may get chewed by rats.
Slug pellets that are commercially available are made from a material that includes protein. The pellets are made this way to attract the slugs. However, while attracting slugs, the pellets will also attract rats – and who wants to attract rats?
There is also the added negative that slugs eat rat faeces so you might even exacerbate your slug infestation problem!
Do All Rodents Eat Slugs?
Most rodents will happily eat a range of insects, and this can include slugs and snails. Rodents tend to be scavengers so will eat whatever they come across.
Some rodents, such as squirrels, tend to focus more on plant-based food items where possible, such as nuts and seeds. But, most rodents are opportunistic. This means if they are hungry and come across a slug then, chances are, they will eat it up.
Do Slug Pellets Kill Rats and Mice?
In addition to other animals, slug pellets are poisonous to rats and mice. Slug pellets are harmful because they contain the ingredient metaldehyde. Metaldehyde is poisonous to slugs and other animals including cats, dogs, and other mammals.
Even if ingested in small amounts, this poison will lead to neurological damage. This is why the use of metaldehyde is slowly being banned across the globe.
Even if rats or mice do not directly eat slug pellets, they can consume a slug that has ingested pellets. They can then fall sick because of the metaldehyde which has taken over its body. The animal suffering from secondary poisoning will die a painful death.
Slugs have many predators in the garden and mice are one of those predators. Mice will eat most things including slugs (and snails).
As one of the most destructive and common garden pests, slugs are always on a gardener’s mind. Many people resort to using slug pellets to kill slugs. However, not everyone considers the danger which comes to using slug pellets.
Mice and rats are attracted to slugs that have already ingested the slug pellets. As a result, these rodents can die of slug pellet poisoning. If not indirectly, rats are known to be attracted to the pellets and eat them.
Using slug pellets also affects other wildlife which feeds on slugs. It is best for the wildlife to use other methods like introducing natural predators, ensuring that soil is not waterlogged and keeping the garden clean so wildlife stays out.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden