Knowing how to get rid of rats before you even spot one is something every homeowner should do. Even though you shouldn’t expect to be infested with rats, knowing what to do beforehand will save you a lot of time. Acting quickly will minimize the exposure to potential damages and diseases.
But what if you’ve only seen one rat running around? Does that mean you suddenly have a rat problem? Though the scope of an infestation is hard to judge with the sighting of just one rat, its mere presence should be enough to get you into action. You don’t want rats around, and you definitely don’t want them sticking around.
Are you ready to take action against rats? To ensure your choices are effective, you need some vital information first. Read on to find out the kinds of rats there are and how to get rid of rats for good.
A rat and a mouse may look similar, but they’re not the same. After all, both scurry around with their long whiskers and long tails. While one might be adorable enough to be a pet, the other is enough to bring trouble and headaches.
One of the main differences between a rat and a mouse is that a rat is bigger than a mouse. Even if a mouse is bigger for its size, it’s still smaller than the average-sized rat. If you see a huge critter running around, it’s definitely a rat.
Another clue is on their tail. Rats have long, hairless tails, while mice have hairy tails. Even if you can’t accurately judge its size, you can determine what you just saw by paying attention to its tail. There are more detailed differences between the two, but for now, the most apparent distinctions are enough to give you a clue about what you saw.
Before you scramble around trying to find out how to naturally get rid of rats, you should familiarize yourself first with some of the most common species of rats. There are several of them, but two species are commonly seen in houses: Norway Rats and Roof Rats.
If you saw a brown rat, chances are high that it was a Norway Rat. Its other names include brown rat, common rat, and sewer rat. Even though they didn’t actually come from Norway (they’re from China), you can find this rat everywhere except Antarctica. They also eat just about anything.
Also known as the black rat, house rat, or ship rat, black rats are the other type of rat you might find in your house. They’re believed to have come from India and have spread worldwide by hiding in ships. They prefer a vegetarian diet and like to nest in high places. And as the name suggests, these rats have black fur.
Rats are not that complicated when it comes to their needs. They’re satisfied as long as they have a source of food and water and a comfortable nest. That’s why they always exist very close to humans.
With some precautions, you can plan how to get rid of rats in a house. Here’s a look at what they prefer, so you can cut the supply early and drive them away.
Food is always the number one reason any animal would travel, including rats. If you have something they like and it’s openly accessible, you can bet they’ll jump at that opportunity. Who wouldn’t? That’s why you should always know how to get rid of burrowing rats to prevent them from hiding after grabbing food.
Knowing what they like to eat will help you prevent them from coming near you. Norway Rats, for example, eat just about anything. They can eat meat and plants, depending on what’s available. In busy cities, they survive by eating food scraps that people throw away. On some occasions, they can even kill a bird or lizard as their source of protein.
Just about anything on Earth needs water, and rats are no exception. Though they don’t need that much water to survive, they compensate for the lack of food by drinking more water. They get most of their water intake from what they eat, however. A study even found that they can eat dehydrated food and still not need water as much, if at all.
With that in mind, make sure you don’t have any sources of standing water around your house. Don’t give them water to compensate if you’re trying to starve the rats.
Once you give rats a stable food and water supply, they’ll also want to find a suitable place to settle down. If you’re going to get rid of rats in the house fast, you need to know where they like to live.
For Norway Rats, you want to limit where they can seek refuge on lower levels, closer to the ground – your basement, behind your walls, underneath old appliances or furniture. They don’t like climbing, so you won’t find them going to higher places. Time to research how to get rid of backyard rats.
Roof rats, on the other hand, already give you a hint about where they like to live – higher, elevated places. They like to climb up and nest inside ceilings and attics. You might even find them nesting in trees. This is when knowing how to get rid of rats in walls and ceiling comes in handy.
If not detected early, rats can cause havoc in your life. They’re destructive with their constant gnawing and spread diseases to humans. Waiting too long to figure out how to get rid of rats will harm your wallet and your health.
The most obvious sign of a rat infestation is the physical damage caused to your house and your belongings. Rats can and will chew through the structure of your house, especially if it’s made primarily of wood. They can also chew through your home’s insulation and drywall. And if you find them nesting underneath an appliance, chances are they’ve also chewed through the wires, rendering it inoperable.
Even your personal belongings are not safe from rats. If you keep your items stored away in cardboard boxes, rats can easily chew through them and into the contents. Books and clothes are particularly susceptible to this.
If you know of the black plague, then you’re familiar with how rats can help spread diseases. Though they’re not always spreading some plague, rats still carry diseases. They can even serve as transportation for ticks and fleas and cause further infections to humans and other animals. That’s why knowing how to get rid of pack rats is vital.
Here are some of the most common diseases they can cause:
You don’t need to see the actual rat running around to determine that rats have taken residence in your house. There’s a chance you may not actually see one because most of them are nocturnal. Regardless, vigilance and observation can point you in the right direction.
Here’s how you can tell if you have unwanted rodents in your dwelling:
If you find any of these signs, it’s time to get to work. Even if you only notice one sign and you’re not quite sure if it was a rat or not, it’s still helpful to take some preventive measures.
If you’ve confirmed that you do have rats in your house, it’s time to learn how to get rid of rats in the house with home remedies. While some of these steps are reactionary, the others are more like long-term preventive measures to stop them from returning. As always, make sure you do these steps in conjunction with each other to ensure maximum effectiveness.
If you’re wondering how to get rid of rats without poison, here’s one. Rat traps are the most common way of eliminating rats in your house. They’re simple, practical, and provide immediate visual confirmation.
There are several types of rat traps available:
Bait stations are great when you want to use poisoned baits but must keep them away from unintended targets, such as pets, kids, and other wildlife. They look unassuming – a hardened plastic enclosure with locked partitions inside for bait and an entryway large enough for rats to enter. The idea is to keep rats attracted to the bait inside and have them return until they’re dead, all while ensuring it’s secure enough from external tampering.
The downside, of course, is you won’t always be able to confirm whether the bait has worked or not. Because you’re letting the rats move around until the poison takes effect, you won’t immediately find out whether they’re gone or not.
We recommend taking a look at the list of best rat bait stations that we reviewed earlier, then you will definitely be able to get rid of rats in the yard without harming pets.
Another common way to get rid of rats is to use rat poison. They’re not as instantaneous as traps, but they guarantee a kill. These are ideal for killing rats in obscure spaces, such as the ceiling or a disused basement, because they’re out of the way. Here are some of your options for poison:
Hate rats but can’t quite bring yourself to kill them? Want to know how to get rid of rats with black pepper? Here’s how.
Rats can’t stand the scents of some things, so use that information to your advantage. You can either use a store-bought rat repellent or one of the natural options:
Check out our reviews of the best rat repellents that can be bought online if you are not a fan of DIY.
Because disease exposure doesn’t matter whether it’s inside the house or not, learning how to get rid of rats outside is essential. Thankfully, the steps are similar to what you already need to do indoors:
If you’ve had to ask yourself, “how long does it take to get rid of rats,” it’s time to call a professional exterminator. Some rats have developed a slight resistance to poison, plus there’s a chance you have more rats than you initially thought. Spend your money better and let the experts take care of the problem. For example, they’ll know how to get rid of rats in a garage.
Professional exterminators will use similar steps as you, but they can target rats better due to their expertise. They will place traps in spots you may not think of, and they can use poisons that are more toxic and unavailable to the public. They will also know how to get rid of a rat’s nest. Additionally, they know when to keep checking for results, so you can be sure they will eradicate the rats.
Once your house is finally rat-free, you must ensure they won’t come back again. The last thing you need is for them to return after you’ve spent the time and money trying to purge them.
Here’s what you can do to keep them away from your property:
And as always, stay vigilant. Spotting the signs early can help you take quick action.
Having a rat infestation in your house can be alarming and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. You have many DIY options at your disposal, so always ensure you know how to get rid of rats. You can also use some natural deterrents to drive them away if you can’t bring yourself to kill the rodents. Failing that, professional exterminators are always there to help.
Of course, prevention is always better than cure, so you must take steps beforehand. Now is always a good time to start decluttering. Not only will you keep rats out by doing so, but you might also find treasures you never knew you had. You wouldn’t want to lose them to rats, would you?