So you have squirrel pets, and you’re worried that ravens hovering over your yard might end up eating them? Or do you simply want to eliminate squirrels from your yard or attic and wonder if the ravens may be of any help? If yes, we’ve prepared this guide for you.
Do these ravens eat squirrels? Yes, ravens eat squirrels, whether living or dead. These birds are opportunistic omnivores and scavengers that feed on anything they get a chance to, including small animals like squirrels and rabbits, other birds, insects, and so on.
In the following guide, you’ll discover more information about whether ravens eat squirrels, how they kill these small rodents, and more.
Do ravens eat squirrels?
Ravens are opportunistic feeders, like adult crows, and will feast on almost anything, including various species of squirrels. And with the squirrels always loitering around, they’ll make a good meal for these birds.
Squirrels, whether it’s the tree squirrels or the grey squirrels, have soft and tender meat, making them a favorite meal for the ravens.
However, they don’t go hunting just any squirrel!
As opportunistic predators for squirrels, they’ll look for easy options. And this involves prettying on the weak and small squirrels. They would go for baby squirrels left unattended since they’ll make an easy kill.
Since they’re scavengers, they’ll also eat dead adult squirrels that have either been killed by vehicles on the road or leftover carcasses from other predators like hawks and owls.
Generally, ravens would not go for healthy mother squirrels because they’re more elusive. If they come across an injured adult squirrel, they’ll grab the opportunity and kill it for food.
The healthy squirrels are not only large but also have sharp teeth and paws and are capable of jumping higher and running faster. All these characteristics mean they can easily bite, scratch, and run—making them one of the most difficult prey for ravens.
Sometimes these big black birds might surprise even the mother squirrels. One such case is well-illustrated in this story of 2 ravens attacking a squirrel and carrying it away.
The first raven noticed the squirrel, flew away and returned with another raven. They waited for the squirrel to enter her nest and then attacked. They hopped onto the rodent’s nest with open wings.
The first bird grabbed the squirrel by the neck while the other got hold of the tail. And off they flew with the squirrel while it tried to wrestle itself from its captors.
How does a raven kill a squirrel?
Ravens don’t have body modifications for hunting compared to predators like hawks and owls. But nonetheless, they still do their best to try and kill a squirrel for meat. These birds are quite intelligent and usually perform their hunting cooperatively. They also employ various strategies to catch squirrels.
The big black birds kill squirrels by first landing on their back and then perching on their neck until the prey dies. However, the squirrel will still try to fight for its life; if it gets lucky, it frees itself and runs away.
But if the raven succeeds in killing the rodent, they tend to pick up the dead animal and fly away with them, maybe to feed their young ones or share with other members.
As we hinted above, these ravens can sometimes go after the squirrels’ nests. If they find baby squirrels, they’ll take advantage of their ability to run fast or defend themselves and turn them into easy meat. Sometimes, they may raid the nests in pairs and try to fight healthy adult squirrels until they overpower them and fly away with them.
Something worth noting about ravens is that they’re not 100% birds of prey. Even though they hunt and kill squirrels, small birds, mice, insects, etc., they still lack the adaptations found in natural predators like hawks, falcons, vultures, etc.
Ravens usually feature a powerful beak that enables them to easily stab their prey. Most of the time, they utilize this beak to dismember their prey in a lightning-fast action!
Moreover, they have strong, dexterous feet that help them firmly hold and grasp, unlike the talons of hawks which are more specialized for killing. They use these sharp claws to carry wounded or injured squirrels miles away and close to their nests.
Note that ravens are not nocturnal and remain active during the day, so they make these attacks on squirrels throughout the day.
Are squirrels afraid of ravens?
Squirrels generally aren’t afraid of ravens, although ravens will turn them into food if an opportunity arises. If you’re into bird watching, you’ll even see the ravens and squirrels hanging out by your feeder peacefully despite the two not getting along well.
But this doesn’t mean that squirrels completely ignore the fact that ravens are their predators. If a raven attempts an attack on its young one, a squirrel will definitely fight back. If the raven attempts to attach an adult squirrel, it will not go down without a fight.
This is epically the case for pregnant squirrels, which will stand up on their legs and fight with all their might to keep the large birds from attacking them and grabbing them with their sharp claws.
When do ravens attack squirrels?
From the previous part, we have seen that these two creatuires get along quite well for the most part. However, there are instances when ravens will attack the squirrels.
One such instance is when the ravens are protecting their young ones. The ravens know that their eggs make a good treat for squirrels and will do anything to ensure they don’t get anywhere near them.
The birds will also attack squirrels when competing for common food resources. As you already know, both types of creatures feed on nuts, grains, fruits, etc. And if the squirrel fails to provide the raven with the food, the latter could decide to attack to get the food.
Probably the most obvious reason why ravens will attack squirrels is for food. When the bird becomes hungry and needs to nourish its proteins to cover its daily calorie needs, it will hunt a squirrel as soon as the opportunity arises.
Though these attacks are rare, they’re possible, especially when the weather conditions are harsh and food becomes scarce for the birds.
Ravens are opportunistic omnivores, which means they’ll be inclined to catch young and weak squirrels that don’t require much effort. For instance, they mainly focus on raiding squirrel nests for their babies. They can also easily catch wounded adult squirrels. Probably the easiest catch for them is the dead squirrels, say from leftover carcasses by other predators. However, catching healthy adult squirrels is never an easy feat for these birds of prey.
Absolutely! Sometimes the ravens can take the fight straight to the squirrel’s doorstep. In this case, they usually do it cooperatively to enable them to overpower the squirrel and catch her for meat. Once they kill the squirrel, they’ll fly with it miles away to get closer to their nest. Since they’re opportunistic, the ravens would also raid squirrel nests for their baby squirrels, which are easy to catch.
Yes, ravens are also notorious for hunting for feeding on the eggs and young ones of other birds. And if the birds are small enough, they’ll also eat their adults. Examples of species of birds that ravens tend to eat include pigeons, doves, coastal seabirds, starlings, petrels, thrushes, finches, etc.
Ravens are omnivorous, whose diet includes rodents, bird eggs, insects, and grains. They’re more scavengers in the winter and will most feed on dead fish, carrion, and human garbage.
That’s it about ravens eating squirrels. The big black birds will make a meal out of squirrels. However, they’re highly opportunistic hunters and will only opt for easy squirrel meat that doesn’t require more effort to kill. That’s why you’ll find them most preying on baby squirrels that are defenseless, wounded or injured adult squirrels, or even dead squirrels.
It’s rare to see ravens picking on healthy adult squirrels since they’re not easy to kill. However, ravens are smart birds who usually conduct their hunts cooperatively and employ smart strategies that help them kill even adult squirrels. The squirrels’ soft and tender flesh makes them a favorite meal for ravens, and they won’t hesitate to eat a squirrel whenever they get a chance!