How To Get Rid Of Rats: A Complete Guide

Getting rid of rats is never easy, but there are many methods you can try. Since day one, we have told our clientele that poison or traps are the best ways to get rid of rats. In order to ensure that you find the most effective rat control solution possible, we stock a wide selection of rat traps and rat baits.

Step one in rat control is always a thorough check for the presence of rats. You can identify the best locations for the rat traps and bait through this examination.

The most common species of rat found in the US are the Norway Rat and the Roof Rat. Briefly reviewing their habits will help you inspect and manage the rat population.

What do rats need to survive?

Rats, just like any other kind of animal, require the basics in order to survive, including food, water, and a safe place to live. The likelihood of rats sticking around drops dramatically if you get rid of even one of these.

Rats, in general, are adaptable and can eat almost anything. Their teeth are constantly elongating, so they need to chew on tough substances to keep their mouths in check. They’ll gnaw on pretty much anything you give them. But what exactly do rats enjoy eating? They will eat almost anything, including dead animals.

Rats in cities, in the wild, and in rural areas have distinctive diets. Rats are primarily herbivores in the wild, eating foods like fruit, plants, and seeds.

On the other hand, city rats enjoy a diet of garbage and meat. They’ll eat anything, including people food and pet food. That’s why it’s crucial to lock up the fridge and the trash can. Pet food for outdoor pets should be kept in a cool, dry place, preferably inside.

Difference between a rat and a mouse?

Many people think there are no distinguishable differences between mice and rats, but there actually are. Both belong to the rodent family, and both can cause serious problems if they find their way into your home, but could you tell them apart if they did? What you do to care for them varies greatly depending on which species you have at home.

You can use a few distinguishing characteristics to tell mice and rats apart, even though they share similar coloring. To begin, the noses of mice and rats are noticeably different in shape, with the former having a triangular profile and the latter being more rounded.

Mice have large, floppy ears, while rats’ ears are proportionally larger to their bodies, but still larger overall. Similar to how mice have long, hairy tails, rats typically have long, thin tails that are hairless and scaly.

Types of rats

Brown Rat (Norway Rat)

The brown rat is the most common species of rat in Europe and North America. Shelter and food are its only requirements in any environment. Brown rats are omnivores that will eat almost anything, including fruit and seeds, scraps from the human food supply, insects, bird eggs, and even small mammals.

They can be found in abundance near urban areas. There are no strict hierarchies among brown rat colonies, and each rat makes its own burrow. Brown rats are well-known for their prolific reproduction; adult females can start having litters as early as 3 months of age and typically have five litters per year, each containing anywhere from 6 to 12 young.

Palm Rat

Palm rats are members of the rodent family Muridae, which also includes the black rat, the ship rat, the citrus rat, and the roof rat. They prefer a tropical climate and are mostly a climbing species. The palm tree is a favorite nesting location for palm rats because of their preference for living high off the ground. Their diet consists primarily of fruit.

These pests build their shredded-material nests on farm buildings, in trees, in scrapes, and in burrows. Palm Rats are remarkably agile climbers, are frequently found in urban areas, and have a close relationship with humans.

Palm Rats have a high reproductive rate. Females typically have between five and ten offspring per litter, and they can have as many as six litters a year. Even though they are born blind, the young make rapid progress and are ready to be weaned after only 20 days.

Bush Rat

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The Bush Rat is notoriously elusive, both because it is nocturnal and because it likes to make its home deep within the cover of the forest. The Bush Rat is an Australian native that looks like a gray-brown rat with rounded ears and a short tail.

They are native to wooded and heathland areas. Bush Rats are primarily found in the understory of forests, where they construct short burrows under rocks or logs and line them with grass for insulation. They are rare in populated areas.

Bulldog Rat

Extinct in the wild on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean was the Bulldog rat, or Rattus nativitatis. During the time the Bulldog rat was active in the region, it was primarily spotted in the region’s forested mountains and foothills. 

Burrows among the tree roots or, more commonly, beneath hollow logs would have been their homes. Given that bulldog rats are nocturnal, they may appear confused or even blinded by the sunlight, which is why they typically live in underground burrows.

There is evidence to suggest that the Bulldog rat went extinct between 1901 and 1908. The precise time frame is a point of contention. Most scientists, however, agree that the black rat was primarily responsible for the extinction of this species.

Polynesian Rat

Rattus exulans is a small rodent with a long, lean body, a sharply pointed nose, large ears, and relatively delicate feet. The animal’s back is a ruddy brown, while its belly is white. Including the ears, the full-grown Polynesian rat measures between 11.5 and 15.0 cm in length. Forty to eighty grams is about the mean.

Its tail, which has fine, prominent scaly rings, is roughly the same length as its head and body put together. All female R. exulans have eight niptae. Rats living in cooler climates have bigger skulls than those in warmer climates, as skull size is known to vary with latitude. A dark outer edge on the upper side of the hind foot near the ankle helps to distinguish this rat from others of its genus.

Do rats carry diseases?

One of the biggest reasons to eliminate rats and mice is due to the fact many different diseases are spread by them. Handling rodents, coming into contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva (via inhaling contaminated air or consuming tainted food, for example), or being bitten by a rodent are all direct routes of transmission for these diseases to humans.

The ticks, mites, and fleas that rodents can carry to humans are another way that these pests can spread disease. You can’t tell if a rodent is sick simply by looking at it because many diseases have no outward symptoms in rodents.

The most common way that rodents spread disease to humans is through an infestation of the home or its surroundings. Effective rodent control in and around your home is the best defense against rodent-borne illnesses. Discover effective methods for getting rid of existing rodents and stopping new ones from entering your home.

Here are 5 common diseases spread by rats:

Hantavirus disease

The hantaviruses are a group of viruses that are primarily transmitted by rodents and can cause a wide range of symptoms in humans. Any hantavirus can cause human hantavirus disease. Hantaviruses endemic to the Americas can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), a potentially fatal respiratory illness. However, “Old World” hantaviruses, which are prevalent in Europe and Asia, can also trigger hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS).

In humans, hantaviruses are typically transmitted through aerosolized virus shed in urine, feces, and saliva, and less frequently through a bite from an infected host; each hantavirus serotype has a unique rodent host species. Sin Nombre virus, carried by deer mice, is the most significant hantavirus in the United States and a potential cause of HPS.

Lassa Fever

The common African rat is the primary vector for the spread of Lassa fever, an acute viral disease that can be transmitted from animal to human. Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria are just some of the countries in West Africa where it is endemic. Given that this animal vector is widely distributed in the region, neighboring countries are also at risk.

Scientists discovered the earliest known case in 1969. Scientists first recorded cases of Lassa fever in a Nigerian town given the same name.

Annually, between 1,000,000 and 300,000 people contract Lassa fever, and 5,000 people lose their lives as a result. There is a lack of precision in these estimates due to the fact that Lassa fever surveillance varies greatly from one location to the next.

Ten percent to sixteen percent of all hospital admissions in some parts of Sierra Leone and Liberia are due to Lassa fever. This highlights the devastating effects of the disease in the area.


The bacterial disease known as leptospirosis can infect both humans and animals. Leptospira bacteria are responsible for the disease. Symptoms in humans can range widely, and some may be misdiagnosed. However, the infection may show no symptoms in some people.

If left untreated, leptospirosis can cause meningitis (inflammation of the membrane covering the spinal cord and brain), kidney failure, liver failure, respiratory difficulty, and death.

Lujo hemorrhagic fever

The Lujo virus is a single-stranded virus in the family Arenaviridae that causes Lujo hemorrhagic fever (LUHF). There is a dearth of clinical data on LUHF, with the majority coming from a single small cluster of 5 patients in South Africa in September-October 2008. There were fatalities in 80% of the cases (4/5).

Three medical staff members contracted an infection from the first patient, whose carrier status was unknown. The only survivor was a fourth healthcare worker who contracted the tertiary infection and was treated with ribavirin. The Lujo virus causes hemorrhagic fever in Africa, the second such virus to be identified.

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM)

The lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), a member of the family Arenaviridae first isolated in 1933, is the causative agent of LCM, a viral infectious disease spread by rodents.

Mus musculus, the common house mouse, is LCMV’s primary host. It is estimated that 5 percent of house mice in the United States are infected with LCMV and are able to transmit the virus for the duration of their lives without showing any symptoms.

Other types of rodents, such as hamsters, are not natural reservoirs for LCMV, but they can be infected by wild mice at the breeder, pet store, or home environment. Humans are more likely to contract LCMV from house mice, but infections have also been reported from rodents kept as pets.

Infections of LCMV have been documented in Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Japan, and may occur wherever infected rodent hosts exist. Historically, the disease has been underreported, making it difficult to determine incidence rates or prevalence estimates by geographic region. Multiple serologic studies conducted in urban areas have demonstrated that the prevalence of LCMV antibodies in human populations varies between 2% and 5%.

Guide to Trapping Rats

Rats are one of the most unwelcome yet ubiquitous animals that share the planet with us. Rats seem to be drawn to human homes despite not being welcome. When trying to get rid of rats, trapping is a good option.

After centuries of damage that rats have caused to human populations, cities, suburbs, and rural areas have required rat traps. In order to triumph in the war between man and rat if it is being waged on your property, you must arm yourself with knowledge of the most efficient trapping tools and the best bait for a rat trap.

Proper Trap Placement for Rodents

Impulsively, rats will follow the contours of buildings and fences. As a result, they won’t typically venture into the middle of a room or yard. Therefore, setting up a trap along a wall and in dim lighting is preferable. The best places to conceal rat traps are along the routes frequented by the pests.

Place traps inside closets and under any wall-adjacent furniture, such as sofas, chairs, or cabinets, to increase your chances of catching the pests. One ingenious method for trapping rats involves placing a baited trap inside a shoebox along an area where the rodents are known to travel. You must first give the box two holes on opposite sides.

How to Bait Rat Traps

What works best as bait in a rat trap may vary depending on the type of rat being pursued. Each species has its own unique dietary needs. To give just one example, while brown rats are omnivores like their ancestors, black rats are vegetarians.

Black rats, which can climb trees and fit through openings the size of a quarter, love peanut butter. Brown rats, which commonly forage in trash cans and squeeze through cracks in walls to enter homes, can be enticed with a stinky cheese.

Vegetarian or not, if you want to catch a rat, it’s best to use food with a strong smell, like nuts, fish, or moldy cheese. 

Types of Rodent Traps

To get rid of rats, traps are one of the most effective methods. You can make rat traps out of a variety of materials, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the most common and effective traps are made out of wood, metal, or plastic.

You can bait these traps with food to lure rats inside, where they will be caught and killed. Trapping rats is a humane way to get rid of them, and is often the most effective method.

Wooden Trap

Trap is a widely used and well-received wooden mousetrap. The trap has been used by homeowners and businesses for decades because it is easy to set up and catch mice. There haven’t been many tweaks to this trap’s basic design since it was first made. The trap’s wooden base makes it sturdy and long-lasting, and the metal components are made to resist rust.

Plastic Trap

If you need to get rid of rodents, this trap is a top choice. Its heavy-duty plastic construction and strong spring provide the added strength it needs to deal with larger rodents, and also allow for quick kills and simple cleanup. 

In contrast to traditional rodent traps, this one’s plastic teeth are shaped to break the rodent’s neck without puncturing the skin, making cleanup much simpler. The exceptionally sensitive trigger helps prevent accidental discharges and guarantees more successful catches. Setup is hassle-free and secure with this trap. 

With its integrated reservoir, you can load the trap with bait before setting it without worrying about accidentally setting off the trigger. You can release the trapped animals by pressing the same bar that you used to set the trap. You can reuse these traps over and over again; simply remove the old bait and replace it with fresh supplies.

Electric Trap

Rat Trap is the ultimate in rodent control. It kills rats with a compassionate high-voltage shock. This powerful device can kill up to 50 rats per fully charged battery, giving it a superb value for a large infestation. It’s user-friendly.! To get started, simply apply a high protein bait in the provided bait cup, place the trap in a location with high rodent activity and turn it on.

Glue Trap

When dealing with rodent infestations, glue traps are a simple solution. These ready-to-use, non-toxic traps can catch mice and other common household pests. They are most effective when put in places frequented by the pests in question. Once the desired pests have been caught, discard the board and its contents.

There are no poisonous or hazardous materials in Glue Traps. These sticky traps can also catch pests in the house. This is the least recommended method if you want to get rid of rodents.

Live Capture Trap

A live mouse trap could be the solution if you need to get rid of mice but don’t want to hurt them. Live mouse traps can catch and then release pests, much like with glue traps.  

Humane mouse traps, on the other hand, make it possible to get rid of a mouse in your house without ever coming into direct contact with it. You can return the pest to its original environment after you’ve captured it. Always check to see if your trap has caught anything.

How Do Rodents Get Into Your Home?

There are many entry points for rodents into a house. When a garage door doesn’t close tightly, mice can find their way in. Under the back porch, rats can get access to the house by chewing through water-softened wood and entering the crawl space, and then the wall void. 

A roof rat can access your home by ascending a downspout or a nearby tree, and then entering through an open soffit vent or an unscreened attic window. Mouse and rat entry points include broken cellar windows, foundation fissures, and even chimney and vent openings.

How To Prevent Rodents From Getting Into Your Home

The good news is that there are numerous strategies homeowners can employ to proactively avoid and eliminate rodent infestations.

Seal up roof joints

Use caulk, steel wool, or a combination of the two to seal any openings around the exterior of the house. This includes the points where pipes and utilities enter the building. This is a very common place rodents try to enter

A/C Chute

This is another very common point of entry. When A/C units are initially installed, the installation company will usually foam the chute. Once the foam becomes weak, Rodents will make light work of it to gain entry to your home. Make sure to stuff the area with galvanized mesh or steel wool and then foam up the area.

Vent Stacks

Any kind of rat can easily gain access to a house via the roof, if there is an uncovered vent or pipe. The key is to maintain security measures that deter this kind of break-in. You can quickly and easily cover up these roof vents using galvanized hardware cloth.

Garage Door

A lot of people forget to close their garage door after leaving it open. If the garage is connected to the house, mice have a perfect entryway. You should always lock the doors, with no exceptions. Working in the open air counts. Also, to keep rodents from sneaking in, replace the garage door seal if it is damaged.

Window Openings and Door Cracks

Rats have unique body shapes that can fit through extremely small holes. They can enter through gaps in doors or windows. For windows, fill voids with caulking and seal up any gaps. For doors, replace door sweeps if necessary and make sure framing has no gaps

How Long Do Rats Live?

Most stages of a rat’s life are brief. Although the average lifespan of a domesticated pet rat is just 2-4 years, the oldest rat ever kept as a pet lived to be 7 years old! The average lifespan of a wild rat is less than a year, but the average lifespan of a pet rat is much higher. Predators, diseases, and a lack of food, water, and veterinary care all contribute to the short lifespan of wild rats.

Due in part to their rapid metabolisms and heart rates (300-500 beats per minute), rats tend to have relatively short lives. How long an animal lives is partly determined by environmental factors, but also by its genes. Although all rats have shorter lifespans than other house pets, there may be some minor drawbacks to certain breeds. In particular, hairless rats tend to experience a greater number of health problems and a correspondingly reduced lifespan. The introduction of mutations and deformities due to inbreeding can also reduce the lifespan of a pet rat.

Usually, sexual maturity in rats occurs between the ages of 37 and 75 days. Males and females can be told apart at the 3-4 week mark. Most females reach adulthood before their male counterparts. When pregnant, a female rat will be fertile for 21–23 days, and she may have anywhere from 6–13 offspring. They reach sexual maturity and wean at around 21 days of age in young rats.

Brown rats can have up to 2,000 offspring in a single year, with up to 22 young born to a single litter. Female rats can mate up to 500 times in just six hours. It’s not hard to imagine how rat populations can spiral out of control given their short gestation period (less than a month).

What Kind Of Damage Can Rats Cause In The Home?

Rats and mice can cause structural damage to homes, apartments, offices, and virtually any type of building through gnawing, nest-building, and defecation. Generally speaking, rats cause property damage in one of three ways: through their teeth, their claws, and bodily fluids (such as urine and feces). The true reason rats can cause so much damage lies in just how widespread and severe their impact can be. How much damage can rats cause? You’d be surprised—and here’s how.

Spoil Food 

Even rats have to eat. Rats will sneak into your kitchen cabinets, pet food bowls, and even pet food if they smell food. Because of this, not only can they destroy your food with their teeth and claws, but also any nearby tables and cabinets.

Rodent Electrical Fires

The damage that rodents can do to a building should be kept in mind by homeowners. Every year, rats and mice cause millions of dollars’ worth of damage to structures because they chew on electrical wires, starting fires. In the United States, 20% of all undiscovered fires each year are blamed on rodents.

Destroy Furniture

Problems with rats in the house can cause a lot of stress for homeowners. They can gnaw through wooden structures and upholstery with ease. Because of their rapid rate of front tooth growth, rats and mice are constantly gnawing on something. Rats can gnaw through practically anything and can quickly multiply.

Make Nests

The fact that rats can carry pathogens that may transmit disease to humans, like hantavirus, is one of the main reasons why they are often unwelcome house guests. The urine and feces of the rat can spread some of these diseases when they break down in the air and contaminate other dust particles. That’s why it’s important to take precautions against disease, even if you don’t see any rats. This is also why you should leave a mouse nest alone if you come across one.

Can Rats Swim up Toilets?

Yes, They Can!  A National Geographic video suggests that it’s relatively simple for them to do so. Rats can hold their breath for up to three minutes, and they are better swimmers than they get credit for. 

That’s plenty of time for them to swim from the main drain to your toilet and back up again. Furthermore, they have no trouble squeezing through narrow openings. A small rat can squeeze through a space as narrow as a quarter.

Experts in animal control say that this scenario plays out rarely and more frequently in large urban centers with extensive sewage infrastructure. What’s the good news? Taking a trip to the restroom in the middle of the night or during a home movie will not likely expose you to any rodents. 

Fewer than one in a thousand rodent calls involve an animal that entered the home via a toilet, say professionals in the field. You can relax, but remember to check your surroundings before you take a seat.

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