Do Rats Take Food Back to Their Nests? (Solved!)

When rats are in your home, their nests are important to them. In fact, rats become quite attached to their nests and will bring food back to their nests. They can collect food and other soft materials to make their next softer and warmer.

This article will explore why rats take food back to their nests, how far they travel and what else they will store there.

Rats Take Food Back to Their Nest

Rats take food back to their nests and they usually have a favorite nest that they go to again and again. During the day, rats will leave their nest and hunt for food and water, but they always come back to the nest once they’re done.

The main purpose of building the nest is to hide from predators, which is why, in addition to food, they’ll also bring leaves, insulation, paper, and numerous other items to the nest. They want to create a place they can stay in and go undetected by predators and others.

Once a rat establishes what it considers a safe nest, it is very reluctant to leave the nest for good. In fact, it will usually leave the nest only in certain circumstances, such as the nest being destroyed or compromised somehow.

Even when this happens, rats will often repair the nest so they can keep it as their home for a little longer. How do they know the spot they’ve chosen for their nest is the best one? They put a lot of time into it ahead of time, seriously considering the location, access to food and water, and much more.

6 Reasons Why Rats Take Food Back to Their Nest

Some of the reasons why rats take food back to their nest include

  1. They want to hoard the food for later.
  2. They need it to feed their babies.
  3. They do not know how long it will be before finding more food.
  4. They are territorial and want the food in their nest.
  5. They are keeping the food away from other rats.
  6. It is in their nature to have their food as close to them as possible at all times.

Rats take their food sources seriously, and they’re smart enough to realize that searching for food sources is an ongoing battle. This is why they hoard their food; they want to make sure they do not starve when it’s difficult to find enough food.

How Far a Rat Will Travel to Get Back to its Nest

Rats and other rodents often travel 300–500 feet total to find food before returning to their nests. If they are food insecure and are having trouble finding enough food, rats can easily travel even further than that.

Typically, rats can travel up to 150 feet from their nests to find this food, even though they travel more than that when you count the total number of feet they travel as they’re scurrying about on any given day.

Will Rats Take Bait Back to Their Nest?

In some instances, rats will take bait back to their nests, but more often than not, rats will eat the bait and then return to their nests to die.

Many rats do take their bait back to their nest before eating it, and they carry it away grain by grain and block by block. If the bait is small, the rats usually eat it where it is found, but the larger the bait is, the more likely they are to bring it back to their nest first.

This is because they are unaware that it is going to kill them, and they believe it is regular food.

Rats Carry Food Away

Rats carry food away and usually wait until they get back to the nest to eat it, although sometimes they’ll eat it where they originally found it. They typically carry the food in their mouths to their nest and then eat it there.

Since rats usually build their nests after they have located a nearby food source, they don’t have to go far once they find the food. The location of the food and the location of their nest will be very close, which means they don’t have to wait long to enjoy their next meal.

Do Rats Stockpile Their Food?

Rats often stockpile their food, especially when they believe it might be a while before they get around food once again. They are often hoarders and will keep lots of food on hand so they do not run out.

If they feel confident that their food source is not going to run out anytime soon, they’re not as likely to stockpile the food they gathered up, but they will not hesitate to start stockpiling food again once they sense that their next meal might be difficult to find.

What Happens If You Disturb a Rat’s Nest?

It is crucial that you do not disturb a rat’s nest. Rats are loyal to their nests and don’t like moving to another one. Even more importantly, rats can become very aggressive when they believe someone is trying to disturb their nest.

They might attack you, and when you consider how many diseases rats have the potential to carry around, you’ll understand why it’s never a good idea to disturb them in their nest. Instead, set out poison and wait until you know for certain that the rats are dead before you try to get rid of their nests.


Rats do take food back to their nests, and they do so regularly. They create their nests close to food sources, so they usually don’t have to travel far to find food. Nevertheless, they’ll travel far if they have to in order to find the food they need to survive.