How to Get Rid of Rats? The Best Tips Experts Don’t Share With You

If you have rats in your house, you are most likely familiar with the consequences that come with having rodents nearby. Nests, droppings, and bites will undoubtedly lead to the potential of illness and rodent-borne diseases being spread throughout your home.

Food and water are two primary reasons for a house rat infestation. Whether you have a rat problem or signs of rodents, it is still important for you to make sure that you will know how to get rid of rats if they do appear. Here you will find all the information you need to get rid of rats from your house fast.

Get rid of rats like this one if you see them roaming around your house.
Get rid of rats like this one fast!

What Are Rats?

Rats are small furry creatures that live in colonies and can be found throughout the world. The rat had developed its own nests, burrows, and food preferences. Its most notable attributes include its tendency to chew on things.

They look down upon other animals as a symbol of superiority and tend to eat more than three times more than mice do, there are more than 60 rat species in the world.

What Do Rats Need to Survive?

Rats need three main things to thrive, food, water, and shelter, if they will get these they will infest the area and make themselves home.


Rats will need at least half a pound of food per day to survive. If they do not get enough calories, they will die from starvation. They are omnivores, and they can eat anything that is available including trash, dead animals, and live small animals like birds, roaches, lizards, and many others.


Rats are experts in surviving without water, they can obtain it from the foods they usually eat. It is estimated that a rat can survive for a month without drinking water. If a source of water is nearby, then they could potentially survive even longer.

They are experts at retaining water in their bodies for long periods of time. They like to drink water from pet dishes, drains, and condensation in the walls, and pipes, if something has open access water on it, they will get it.


Rats need to shelter from predators so they will use every opportunity to shelter themselves from dangers. Outside they can use weeds, plants, grass, and burrows for shelter. Inside a house, they will hide in furniture, walls, dark places, and in occupied corners.

Why Rats Spread So Rapidly?

Rats can have up to 2000 babies in a year – with up to 23 young’s in a single litter, the female rat can mate 500 times in under 6 hours. This is why rats will multiply rapidly, the gestational period is less than a month and it is one of the primary reasons they can cause so much damage (they can even damage your car).

Rats have a natural instinct to reproduce and protect their young, they will do whatever it takes to protect them, even if that means fighting or biting other rats. Rats are intelligent, resourceful, and territorial animals. Rats survive but also thrive when they find a water source and new foods they can chew on.

This is the one main reason to get rid of rats as fast as you can, they are extremely destructive.

Rats Carry a Lot of Diseases

Common rats carry parasitic insects, such as fleas and ticks. These parasites can make the rat’s blood toxic. In fact, rats are known carriers of several diseases that can often affect humans including bubonic plague and typhus.

Their saliva also carries a lot of bacteria which can bring other health risks, such as eczema, Lyme disease, and tuberculosis. Getting rid of rats can be challenging but with the right strategy it is very possible.

5 Signs Of A Rat Infestation

If you are unsure about having a rat infestation, look up the following signs around your house.

1. Strange Smells

If you notice a strong ammonia smell in the surroundings of your house, there is a good chance that you have a rat infestation, or at least, rats are coming into your place.

2. Strange Sounds

Rats are very loud, they scratch and squeak and they make a lot of rustling noises as they move around the place. If you have rats in your place you will hear them for sure.

3. Droppings and Smears

The most obvious sign of a rat infestation is the presence of rat droppings in your home. They are dark and sticky, and they can be found anywhere throughout the structure.

If you found droppings and smears, they are a strong indication of rat infestation, since they have poor eyesight they need to establish routes throughout the house and this is how they do it. Mice droppings are also a sign of mice infestation, warning signs are the same as for rats.

4. Footprints

Always be sure to check seldom-used corners in your home, and see if there are tail or foot marks in the dust. If you are unsure, you can always try to sprinkle a layer of baking soda and return the following morning for checking fresh tracks.

5. Damage

Rats are experts in damaging properties, they will destroy everything in their past. The most common signs of rat damage are:

  • Chew marks
  • Gnaw marks
  • Tooth marks
  • Urine everywhere
  • Droppings everywhere
  • Small holes

This will not also destroy your property and things in it, as it will increase your risk of exposure to several diseases.

Signs Of Rats In The Walls

It is always a challenge to detect a rat inside the walls of your place, but there are some signs you can look for:

  • Rats are noisy creates so check for sounds in the walls, running noises, squeaking, scurrying, and fighting.
  • Check for hidden areas, if they have piles of droppings you have rats! Check in the attic, basement, unused corners, behind furniture, and everywhere that is hidden from human eyes.
  • Inspect and detect bite marks, check food packages, old clothing in bags, leftovers, and other edibles.
  • Look up for signs of smudge, this will look like as a mixture of grease and dirt.
  • Try to discover nests, these will be made of bits of fabric, shredded paper, and soft materials.
  • Check your ductwork and look for damage or gnaw signs.
  • And the most obvious sign is live or dead rats in between those areas.

How Rats Damage Your Home

Do not get fooled by the size of rats, thus they are small, and their destruction can be significant, not to mention the spreading of diseases and the hazard menace they pose to everyone around them. A rat can:

  • Do structural damage in your house, it can be unnoticeable at first sight and there can be hidden damage that will cost you a lot later on down the road.
  • Damage to electrical wiring poses an electrocution risk and fire risk to your house.
  • Destroy your belongings such as electronics, clothes, books, and other stuff.
  • Ruin your furniture by urinating on it, gnawing, and trashing the inside completely.
  • Be very noisy making you stressed and nervous to be inside your house.
  • Create nests in the walls making it even more damaged and difficult to get rid of them.

If one rat can make all of this damage to your place, imagine the damage a rat population can do, this is why rat population control is very important.

How To Get Rid of Rats From Your House Fast

If you have rats in your home, you’ll definitely want to get rid of them as soon as possible. These tips will guide you through the whole process so you can get rid of rats as fast as you can.

1. Inspect Your House

The smartest thing to do in the first place is a full inspection of your home and check where they are coming from. Start by checking outside, pay attention to:

  • the draining system,
  • look out for broken pipes,
  • rat burrows,
  • cracks on walls and doors,
  • vents,
  • potential gaps
  • and foundation holes.

These sometimes are obvious entry points. Then proceed to the inside, again, check for possible access points such as drains, vents, behind old furniture hiding cracks on walls, and everything you can possibly remember. The minute you’ve found the access point it’s time to seal it and set up some traps. Always keep an eye for signs of rat activity

2. Seal All the Openings

Rats can be very big, but one thing you should know is that if their head fits the hole, the body will go through it. So, it is important to seal all the gaps that can exist in the interior and exterior of the house.

But don’t just cover them with the first thing you grab, seal cracks using lasting materials that will seal them tight and will prevent future break-ins. You can use materials like:

  • steel wool,
  • metal kick plates,
  • caulk,
  • wire wool,
  • cement.

Make sure you’ll check them from time to time to see if they are holding on.

3. Clean Everything

If rats run out of places to hide sometimes they will go away. One of the best ways to eliminate rats without poison is to end their hiding places. Clean up the existing clutter in your home and if you can, move all the objects away from the walls.

It is also a good idea to keep the food in closed recipients and the trash in closed bins. Clean all the spills to keep the smell away and keep your pipes and drains clean.

4. Trap and Bait

Trapping is also an effective rat control method, it usually kills rats fast and it is poison-free. It is very important to reduce rat populations without the use of poisonous methods, they can hurt wildlife animals and be a health hazard for you (if the rat dies in an inaccessible place). Only set up traps where you know there is a lot of rat activity. You can use it as:

  • bait,
  • unsalted seeds,
  • bananas,
  • apples,
  • peanut butter,
  • you name it.

When they die, rat bodies must be properly disposed of.

5. Use Natural Methods

There are some natural tricks you can use to mitigate rats, you can always try these natural options:

  • Sprinkle cayenne pepper, peppermint oil, black pepper, or cloves around the house to keep rats out. You can also do it outside between the house foundation and the ground.
  • Spread crushed pepper (or make pepper spray to sprinkle) in rats’ burrows or openings. This is a good method to discourage rats from re-entering your house.

How to Keep a Rat-Free Home

The transition from a rat-free house to an always rat-free home can be done. Start by removing any source of food and water that might attract rats from the outside, then seal the possible cracks they might use to enter and holes that rats chewed to make their way in. Here are some of the things that rats will definitely eat:

  • Garbage
  • Seeds
  • Squirrel food
  • Bird food
  • Sugary foods
  • Pet food waste
  • Meat & dairy products
  • Compost
  • Feces

If you want to prevent pest rats from coming back, you need to be continuously planning your home’s defenses. This means keeping rodents out of your building, sealing up any areas where they can find shelter or nesting space, and keeping a constant watch.

How To Get Rid of Rats From Outside Your House

As long as there are rats outside your house, you’ll never be safe inside. And it can get even worse in the wintertime as rats start to break in, to seek warm shelter and food. But follow these tips to get rid of rats for good and have some peace of mind.

1. Clean Your Garden

With a clean garden, there are minimum chances for rats to run around, rats don’t like open spaces so keep your garden tidy by trimming your lawn and making it clutter-free. This will discourage them from camping there.

Don’t forget to remove tree branches and leaves, if you have a storage shed check it out too. Patch any possible openings and check for signs of rat presence. Seal the exterior garbage bins and remove any food sources from outside, this includes pet food, bird feeders, fallen fruit from trees, and vegetables in the garden.

2. Attract Rat Predators

There are many rat predators out there, you just need to call them in the right way. Predators like owls and hawks can eat a lot of rats and mice in a single night/day, you can attract these and other birds of prey by creating a suitable habitat for the species.

Add an above-the-ground water source (like a birdbath) and you are good to go. As mentioned before, avoid using a bird feeder because this will probably result in attracting more rats to your property.

3. Use Dry Ice

Another way to get rid of rats fast and without poison is by using dry ice. As the dry ice melts the carbon dioxide emanates, expiring the rodents within minutes. This is the most humane way to dispose of these rodents, it also carries fewer risks for humans, pets, and the environment.

It is an effective way when placed at the entrance to burrows, don’t forget to use protective gear because dry ice can do significant damage to your skin.

4. Use Traps

Traps are another way to get rid of rats efficiently, if you consider using traditional snap traps they are a fast method for killing rats instantly. Be careful with other animals such as pets, they can reach these traps.

Make the access difficult for pets but easy enough for rats, consider placing them inside boxes with only enough space for the rodent to enter. If you prefer, you can also use glue traps.

Use peanut butter as the “right bait”, it’s a very cheap and very effective method. If the rats in your area have a fancy taste for other stuff such as sweet apples you can slice them and use them too.

5. Use Bait and Poison

Using bait and rat poison should be your last resort and only should be used outside your home to get rid of rats. They have powerful chemicals and are very dangerous for your pets and children, if you place them inside your house, rats can spread these items and make your house a dangerous place to live in.

Always read the instructions written on the label and follow the proper instructions when using bait and poison to get rid of rats. Always keep rat bait and poison away from the reach of small children and pets.

Note: Before using baits and poisons be sure to understand state and local laws regarding those products.

Pro Tip: Should you tip your professional exterminator? 💲💲💲🤔

When Should You Hire a Professional

If all your efforts have failed, maybe it’s time to call a professional exterminator. Some rats are just too clever to fall for traps and some others are poison resistant. It’s never too late to call for help. An expert terminator can help you get rid of rats for good very fast while helping to reduce further damage to your house.

Also, a professional can help you protect your pets and other wild species in your area. Sometimes a DIY “best solution” can only make things worse, so if you are not sure about what to don’t hesitate to call in for assistance.