The House Crow and the rat

posted in: Crows, Feeding-vertebrates | 6

Angie Ng reports a most interesting encounter her husband had with a rat: “When I first noticed House Crows (Corvus splendens) in the Angsana tree (Pterocarpus indicus) outside my apartment window, they were sharpening their beaks on the branches and plucking the leaves. And I wondered why they were doing that! Then my husband related to me an incredible incident he witnessed some years ago in Redhill.

“He was about to cross the road to catch the train when he was stopped by a huge rat cutting across his path. Even before the rodent could reach the other side of the road, a House Crow suddenly appeared.

“It dive-landed on the rat’s back, pressing it down. When the startled rat turned its head to look up at what had pinned him down, the crow plunged its sharp bill right through into its eyes (and brain?). Deadly paralysing! Then it hopped aloft and as the rat rolled onto its back – or did the crow roll it over – the crow with legs apart, landed onto the rat’s belly. Again the sharp beak plunged in, and with a quick slicing motion, slit open the belly. Another plunge and its bloody beak pulled up and out some entrails!

“It flew off with the first beakful when passing traffic interrupted its meal but returned when the road was clear again.

“I wonder whether we could train our House Crows to clean up our streets and marketplaces of rats?”

R. Subaraj finds the account most interesting but added that crows are effective hunters when not scavenging.

Image of crow by Hung Bun Tang and of rat by YC.

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6 Responses

  1. Wah!! Crow entering the niche of raptors!

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  2. Oh well. Personally, I prefer crows to rats anytime.

    If this becomes a common thing, then maybe public sentiment towards might become somewhat more positive.

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  3. Thailand Bird Watching

    Good morning Very interesting website you have here. It has been very helpful Thankyou.

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  4. Thong Chow Ngian

    I have an observation about crows which was unusual to me. In 2006, I saw flocks of crows surrounding a fisherman at a canal in Pasir Ris, near the Avana Downtown East Resort. The fisherman was using a casting net to catch telapias in the shallow canal. He threw away many small silver fishers about 2 inches long. I observed a crow with a fish in its beak, flying to a grassy area. Instead of eating the fish, the crow found a patch on the ground and buried the fish, as if to hide it from othe other crows. It then flew off to get some more. Can someone explain this behaviour? Thanks

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  5. Crows have been reported to store food when there is more than they can consume. You have observed something that many have yet to report. If you have a picture or more information to add, I can make this a separate post – to let more people know about this behaviour.

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  6. thong chow ngian

    Unfortunately, no pictures of the crow storing food.

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