It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that rats in your house can be a huge nuisance. They can damage property and contaminate food. And on top of that, they carry viruses and diseases that could be harmful to you and your family. The best course of action is to rat-proof your house to make sure that these pesky rodents can’t get in.

The top ways in which you can rat proof your house include closing off all possible entryways, making sure that there are no crumbs or food particles that the rats can feast on, and decluttering your house so that there are fewer potential hiding spots for them.

The problem though is rats are persistent and relentless in their pursuit of food and shelter. They can squeeze through gaps as small as 2cm or swim through sewers, just to get inside your home. So, rat-proofing your house might not be a straightforward task.

Young Rat
A young rat.

Signs That Show You Have Rats in Your House

Rats are very skittish and stealthy animals. They hide in holes and attics and come out at night in search of food. You can’t possibly keep an eye out on the activity of every rat in your house. you must look out for these signs of infestation. If you find any of the below-mentioned signs, you know exactly what to do i.e. GET RID of them as soon as possible.

Traces Of Waste: No matter how clever they try to be, rats always leave traces of their waste or even food they nibbled on. Their droppings are darker in color and they are about the size of rice grain.

Gnaw Marks: Look out closely for gnaw marks. Rats have a habit to gnaw continuously to keep their incisors short and trimmed. Pay special attention to gnaw marks on paper or cardboard stuff and even food containers.

Smell: if you notice a strange foul smell in your house, there’s a chance that you might housing a bunch of rats. The smell is either from them or their dropping, but it sure is a sign of danger.

Noise: rats are never quiet, they continuously make squeaking, hissing and chattering sound. Inside your house, they can be heard making scratching and rustling noise.

How To Get Rid Of Rats In Your House

Now that you are fully aware of all the signs of rat infestation, it is time we work on how to get rid of them. since they breed very quickly, it is important that you take steps immediately to prevent rats from coming into your house and even if they manage to invade, you must get rid of them as soon as you possibly can.

  • Inspection

Before you even think about getting rid of these annoying rats, you must first inspect your whole house or area. Inspection is the first and most important step. This will help you know the location where rats might be hiding or from where they might be entering your house. Inspecting the areas where you notice rat activity will help you in working in that area. While inspecting you might find some holes that need to be fixed, cracks that need to be sealed or areas that might need your urgent attention.

  • Mouse Traps

The most effective way to get rid of rats is to set up traps. If you have a few rats infesting your home, trapping them is the best option. Trapping yields quick results without much of an effort. By trapping a mouse, you can get rid of the deceased animal before their foul odor becomes a nuisance. There are types of traps out there that you can use including glue traps and mechanical traps.

  • Plug Holes

Rats are very talented acrobats. They can jump, crawl, climb, run and even squeeze through tight spots. Once they are inside the house, doesn’t mean that they don’t go out. Unlike mice, rats need a great deal of water, so they travel in and out of the house in search of water. Don’t neglect any hole bigger than a quarter, this hole might seem tiny to you but for a rodent its enormous. It is important to plug any holes you find and seal all the gaps under door and windows. Close all the entry points or cracks, this will keep more rats coming into your home.

  • Rat Poisons

Rats chew everything they get their hands on, so it’s easy to feed them rat killer or poison. Normally rat will eat a lethal dose of poison and die a slow painful death. By using poisons or baits, rats may not die instantly. Baits or poisons should be used in those areas which are not in used much or areas where children can’t get access to. There are bait stations as well, which keep the bait in the station, so that children or your pet can stay safe.

  • Bait Stations

If the rat population in your house is more than a few, trapping them might not be very affected. In this situation, bait stations are more suitable if you have pets and children at home. Bait can be in the form of pellets, meal or blocks. Bait is placed in a bait station, it is not necessary that rats die in the station.  Bait station holds the rat inside, rat gnaws on the bait and dies. Place the station near the areas where there is noticeable rat activity. To ensure the safety of your children and pets, handle the bait station carefully and professionally. You can take help from trained professionals in pest control.

  • Sanitary Conditions

Good sanitary conditions might not help in getting rid of rats, but they can surely help in keeping them away. Rats do not require much; few crumbs here and there are enough to keep them going for a day. Don’t leave your leftover food uncovered, vacuum floor and cleans counters. Store food in containers and put it away in cabinets.  

  • Clean your yard

Cleaning your yard is as important as cleaning your house. The garbage scattering around in your yard, the greater chances you have of rats invading, first your yard and then your house. Don’t leave fallen fruits on the ground. Clean up after the birdfeed because it leaves a residue which attracts rat. Don’t leave your pet food out for long. Make sure to clean your yard regularly to avoid getting rats in your house.

  • Inspect your garden

Inspect trees and branches around your house because they may be used by rats to gain entry into your garden and house. Tend to your garden, keep the grass short and trimmed.

  • Clean up rat droppings

If you find any dropping of feces or urine from the previous infestation, make sure to clean it up. Leave no traces behind of past infestation, because this can result in more rats coming inside. Clean areas where you may suspect rats were hiding to avoid future rat infestation.

Some rats are the cutest.
Some rats are the cutest.

It is natural for you to worry about rat infestation because the presence of rats in your home is a sign of greater damage that these rats bring with them. They breed very quickly, few rats in your house can turn into many rats in a short period of time and not forget they bite and carry diseases as well.  They damage your property, wirings, cables and even furniture. As we always say prevention is better than cure, but if you still find few rats slipping inside your home, it is better to deal with them early before they turn into a painful ordeal for you. to keep mice out and away from your home, it is important to plug all holes and seals every crack you lay your eyes on. The good sanitary condition will also deter them to enter your house. keeping your house and yard clean will also save you the trouble of hosting rats. More effected way of tackling rat infestation is, to set up traps. Traps yield results quickly and they are very useful for a small population of rats. Rat baits and bait stations are another rat ridding measure by which you can say bye to these vermin without having to worry about the health of your children and pet.

Q & A

Q. Can anyone rat-proof a home?

A. The answer may depend on what kind of rats you have. Norway rats tend to live underground and in lower areas. Roof rats tend to live up high. If you are limited in climbing on the roof and other high areas you may need to bring in a professional.

Q. Can I use steel wool to rat-proof?

A. While steel wool works great for a while, it quickly weathers, rusts and falls apart. Steel wool is not recommended.

Dusty Showers has been in the urban nuisance wildlife and pest control field since 1993. Taught by Garon Fyffe, a pioneer in humane nuisance wildlife management, Dusty has a passion for finding humane solutions to human & wildlife conflicts. Dusty was the only individual invited by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission in the lat 1990's to help write legislation for legal protection of Florida bats. With an instinct for solving wildlife, Dusty found pest control to be an easy "add-on interest". Dusty started his first business "Animal Instincts Wildlife & Pest Management" in the Tampa Bay, Florida area in 1995. Eventually selling Animal Instincts in 2002, Dusty went on to start Creepy Creatures Termite and Pest Control in 2009, which he still owns and operates today in Palm Harbor, Florida.