Will a northern pike eat a dead rat?
The northern pike is voracious predator that will eat just about anything it can fit into its toothy mouth. Minnows, bluegills, perch, and other baitfish are obviously the main part of this animal's diet. However, birds, baby ducks, frogs, and even mice are also regularly on the menu if they can catch them.
The pike's appetite seems to know no bounds. Which got at least one angler wondering. How about a rat? More specifically, a dead rat left drifting on the river bottom? That's what YouTuber The Ginger Fisherman decided to find out.
He picks up a dead rat obviously meant for feeding pet snakes or other creatures at a pet shop and takes it to the local river. Once there, he rigs it up on the bottom with an underwater camera rolling. What unfolds next is simply fascinating to watch and teaches us a little more about the pike's feeding habits.
Many anglers are likely to think the pike is almost exclusively an ambush predator that likes to wait and surprise live bait. However, this video shows they are not opposed to scavenging something dead off the bottom. Who would have thought? You know what they say, you learn something new every day.
We know the pike wasn't "chewing" its food here. However, that's the way it looked as this fish tried to work the rather large meal down its gullet. This meal may have seemed quite large but the northern has a reputation for biting off more than it can chew. Quite literally in some cases.
In any case, today we learned that we do not always need a loud, noisy, and flashy retrieve to fool a northern pike. Given the right situation, a slow, lazy retrieve of a dead bait may be just as effective, if not more so. We don't think dead rats as bait will ever take off as popular. However, it's good to know one may take a dead minnow off the bottom in the right scenario.