Have you ever wondered what eats cockroaches? Cockroaches are small insects, and like many small insects, they have a good handful of natural predators, such as birds, frogs, toads, certain types of beetle, reptiles such as lizards, spiders, and even some household pets such as cats and dogs.
While cockroaches do have plenty of predators, you should not rely on any of these to deal with a cockroach infestation if you end up with one.
For starters, cockroaches can carry diseases, which could be harmful to your pets. For a second thing, few animals will actually be capable of getting on top of a true cockroach infestation, which can be massive and would overwhelm pretty much any predator. If you have cockroach problems, call professionals.
However, if you’re just interested in what eats cockroaches, we’ve put together a list of their top predators, and a few of the opportunists that will snack on a cockroach if they come across them.
Do Toads Eat Cockroaches?
Toads will certainly eat a cockroach if they come across them – in fact, they’ll eat them in quantities. Toads also live in much the same sort of habitat that cockroaches like, so they are a predator that is quite likely to come across them on a regular basis.
Both are active at night, and like damp, dark spaces that they can hide in. A toad that finds a cockroach infestation will be a very happy toad – and a very full one.
Unsurprisingly, frogs will also eat cockroaches if they come across them, just as readily as toads.
While you can’t really use either to deal with an infestation in your house, you can encourage more frogs and toads into your outdoor spaces by building a pool (with easy ways for them to climb out) or even just providing damp, slightly overgrown spaces for them to hide in.
The more shade you have, the more likely you are to see these amphibians, and they will happily help themselves to any outdoor cockroaches.
Do Eat Lizards Cockroaches?
Many people feed cockroaches to pet lizards, and they certainly will eat them happily, but it’s unlikely that lizards would encounter huge numbers in their natural environment. Lizards tend to seek sunny, dry spots, and cockroaches seek the opposite.
Even if you have a pet lizard, don’t try and use it to get rid of cockroaches. It might enjoy them, but you will have to deal with the infestation properly, and you would be better off purchasing cockroaches from the pet store to provide your friend with a snack.
Do Beetles Eat Cockroaches?
You might not expect a beetle to prey on another beetle-like creature, but some beetles do eat cockroaches. The kinds that do include the:
- checkered beetle
- lady beetle
- soldier beetle
- ground beetle
- rove beetle
- hemlock woolly adelgid
These might make a nice addition to a garden, but should not be used to control cockroaches in the home – or you’ll just have released a secondary problem.
If you plan to add any new species to your space, always check whether it is native to your country, and what it might choose to prey on. You don’t want to cause more problems than you solve, and this is always a risk when you introduce something new to an ecosystem.
Do Mice Eat Cockroaches?
Yes, mice eat cockroaches, and so do rats. However, cockroaches are very fast, and most rodents find them pretty challenging to catch. They will certainly eat them if they can get hold of them, but few mice or rats will make a regular habit of hunting cockroaches, as they are just too difficult.
Do Spiders Eat Cockroaches?
You might wonder if spiders make good cockroach predators – after all, they eat many other kinds of bugs, and they are likely already around.
Some spiders eat cockroaches, yes. They obviously don’t have the same problems as mice and rats in catching them, but they are also not nearly as big as a mouse or a rat, so they aren’t capable of eating as many.
A lot of cockroaches are also too big to be easy prey for a spider, especially American cockroaches. These have hard shells that a spider will struggle to break through, and they are also often strong enough to tear free of a spider’s web.
Small roaches might be hunted by house spiders, but most will choose easier prey.
There are some spiders that specialize in eating cockroaches, however, such as the widow spiders, the brown recluses, huntsman spiders, jumping spiders, and running spiders. Most of these would not be found in the average home – we hope! – but will prey on cockroaches (and other insects) in the wild.
Do Cats Eat Cockroaches?
Cats will hunt almost anything that moves, and they are certainly big enough to eat a cockroach – so do they? You may well see your feline friend tackling and batting a cockroach across the floor in play.
However, most cats won’t bother to eat them, even if they kill them. If you do see a cat chewing or eating a cockroach, you should keep an eye on things. The chances of the cockroach doing harm are relatively low, but they are not clean things and can carry bacteria and germs.
Your cat probably won’t be hurt by any diseases that they take from playing with cockroaches, but they could transfer them to you, and you might get very sick. If you see a cat playing with a cockroach, remove the bug, and find out if you have an infestation so you can take action.
Do Opossums Eat Cockroaches?
Yes, opossums will certainly eat cockroaches, and enjoy them. They will have no problem dealing with the hard shells, and prey on many kinds of insects. They will also not be upset by any bacteria the cockroach could be carrying, so they aren’t at risk of any nasty diseases or upset stomachs.
If you have opossums in your garden, they are likely to prey on any cockroaches that they find with great excitement.
Do Dogs Eat Cockroaches?
Though dogs don’t have the same level of “must attack twitchy things” instinct that cats have, many dogs will chase and attack cockroaches if they see them, and they may even try and eat them. The same issues could arise as if a cat eats a cockroach.
The dog will probably not suffer any ill effects, but if your dog is preying on cockroaches, you need to look at where the cockroaches are coming from and find a suitable and safe way to get rid of them.
Do Snakes Eat Cockroaches?
Some snakes will eat cockroaches, though not all, and depending on the size of the snake, they may struggle with larger cockroaches. Copperhead snakes eat many insects, and will take and crunch up any cockroaches that they find.
Other species of snake that eat insects will probably tackle a cockroach that isn’t too big for them. For example, brown snakes may eat cockroaches. You are likely to have snakes around if you live in arid regions, but less likely to have cockroaches in that case, so you may find that these two rarely cross paths.
Snakes have sharp enough teeth to eat cockroaches, but many types do not prey on insects, and will leave cockroaches alone.
So, in answer to “what eats cockroaches?” a lot of animals do, but you shouldn’t depend on any of these options to deal with an infestation; call in professionals who can deal with them properly.