How To Get Rid of Rats Fast (10 Remedies)

If you’ve got rats, you and your family are vulnerable to any number of diseases carried by them or the fleas they normally carry.

The greater the rat population in and around your house, the greater the potential threat you face.

Furthermore, if you’ve got rats, the odds are you probably have a mouse problem too since they are attracted to the same food source and habitat as rats.

If you want to get rid of rats, you have to get rid of mice at the same time.

Here at Pest Strategies, our staff is made up of people who spent years in the field as pest control professionals. We know about pest management and how to get rid of rats and mice fast, inside and out.

Keep on reading and we’ll show you how.

What Attracts Rats in the First Place?

The main two types of rats that homeowners report having problems with are roof rats and Norway rats. While the roof rats prefer to occupy the high ground (literally) and Norway rats are more comfortable on the ground, they are both drawn to the same environmental conditions and food sources.

  • Food Source

Rats are omnivorous opportunistic eaters. In other words, they’re garage guts. They’ll eat anything. Rats eat decaying food, dead animals and fish, leftover pasta, pet food, fruits, vegetables, spilled milk, nuts, berries, peanut butter, bread of all kinds, sweets and even raw sewage.

Rats are just plain nasty.

If you leave pet food out overnight or eat in your bedroom and drop crumbs under the bed, rats will be attracted to it. If you leave dirty dishes in the sink or don’t secure the lid to the trashcan, rats can get in there and have themselves a feast at your expense.

Rats need water but often they can supply most of their water needs from moist food. Don’t leave water source out where they can find it, but food is the main attractant that brings them running.

  • Warmth

Rats are mammals who need warmth and shelter just like any other mammal. During the winter, they’ll be drawn to the warmth escaping from your house. If warm air is escaping from your house through holes and small gaps, they’ll follow the scent to those holes and get in.

During the summer, they want to stay cool just like you do. An air-conditioned house is just appealing to them as it is to you. Once again, if any gaps allow cool air to escape, they’ll follow it to the source and gain entrance to your house.

  • Clutter

Rats love clutter. It gives them somewhere to hide and something to chew on as well. Piles of wood, ground covering plants such as vines and ivy, tall grass, monkey grass, low shrubs, and piles of leaves are natural hiding places for rats. They love it.

In the house they’ll be drawn to messy rooms, piles of junk in the basement or attic, dirty laundry, the undersides of major appliances, overstuffed closets, pantries, and cabinets.

If you want a good jump scare better than any horror movie, open a kitchen cabinet to get a glass and have a rat jump out at you. It’s happened to countless people over the years and it’s never any fun.

Check out the video below for a quick look at how to get rid of rats.


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How To Identify the Presence of Rats

There are four major ways to determine if you’ve got rats, mice, squirrels, or some other kind of rodent. Get out your flashlight, a piece of paper, and a ruler.

  • Physical Appearance

The easiest way, of course, is their physical appearance. Rats such as Norway rats (AKA brown rats) and roof rats, are large rodents, reaching as long as 15 inches in length. Mice are only five to eight inches long, including their tail.

Rats have scaly, hairless tails and small, round ears. Mice have large floppy ears and a tail that is thin and hairy.

Mice have long whiskers and a pointed triangular snout. Rats have shorter whiskers and a blunt or rounded snout.

If you don’t see any rats or mice in your house, you’ll have to depend on the evidence they leave behind. Put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and start looking for:

  • Gnaw Marks

Rodents have a dental problem; their front teeth never stop growing. Those large front teeth they use for gnawing on things never stop growing throughout their entire life. If they don’t find some way to file them down, eventually their teeth will be too big for their mouths.

The way they file them down – and keep them sharp at the same time – is gnawing. Rats gnaw on everything; wood, bags, plastic, and wiring. The gnawing process files the ends of their teeth as they try to chew through tough material.

The gnawing also produces the majority of the damage rats do to your home. They can gnaw the edges of a tiny hole until it is big enough for them to gain entrance. They can also gnaw through expanding foam in no time.

Another result of rats gnawing is electrical fires and blackouts. When they gnaw through the plastic or rubbing covering of the wires and bite into the naked wire, they get electrocuted. In the process, they probably blow a fuse in the breaker box and knock out the power to your house.

When you find spots where they’ve gnawed, examine them closely. The larger the marks, the larger the animal that made them. Mice are tiny and leave tiny marks behind. The gnaw marks from rats are noticeably larger.

  • Rub Marks

Rats have a lot of oil in their fur. When they are first getting used to a new area, they will stay close to the walls, running along them so closely they rub against them. The oil in their fur rubs off onto the walls and leaves a long dark smear called a rub mark.

Mice also leave rub marks but they will be smaller and closer to the floor because of their smaller size. Rub marks that are within an inch of the floor were likely made by mice. If the marks are two to three inches above the floor, they were made by rats.

  • Droppings

Rats leave their droppings everywhere they go. Measuring the size of them with your ruler will quickly tell you if it was a rat or a mouse. Mouse droppings are generally 1/4-inch long whereas rat droppings are about 3/4-inch long.

The number of rat droppings will tell you if you’ve got a lone rat trying to get in or a rat infestation. Either one demands immediate action. You need to know how to get rid of rats in house fast to prevent your rat problem from mushrooming out of control.

3 Natural Remedies to Quickly Get Rid of Rats From Inside Your House

Getting rid of rats isn’t a walk in the park. If you’re not interested in calling an exterminator to do some rat control for you, you’ll have to learn some DIY methods to repel or kill rats yourself. We’ll start with the rat repellent methods then discuss the ones that kill rats.

  • Eucalyptus Oil

Rats have an exceptionally keen sense of smell and taste. While eucalyptus oil has a nice odor to us, it is overpowering to them. There is evidence that they don’t enjoy the taste of it either. Although the scientific evidence is slim, there is enough to advocate it as being partially effective at repelling rats.

To use it, mix 10-20 drops of eucalyptus oil in two cups of water and put it in a spray bottle. Spray it on the areas where you’ve seen evidence of rats, around their entry points, where you’ve seen droppings, and around the areas you’re trying to keep them out of.

Essential oils don’t last very long when they’re applied so you’ll have to reapply it every 2-3 days.

  • Peppermint Oil

Another essential oil that is somewhat effective at repelling rats is peppermint oil. Although there is no direct evidence that peppermint oil repels rats, the Material Safety Data Sheet on it indicates that it can cause allergic skin reactions, eye irritations, and respiratory problems in people.

Since rats and mice are often used in the laboratory to test drugs for effectiveness before using them on people, that process can be used in reverse to conclude that oils which can cause problems for people will also cause harm to rodents.

For this reason, we include it in our list of natural rat control methods. Mix and use it the same way you would use eucalyptus oil. Remember to reapply it every couple of days.

  • Black Pepper

There is no direct medical research indicating that black pepper is effective at repelling rodents. Nonetheless, many people swear by it. Because it’s effective at breaking up a dog fight, the natural assumption is that it will be effective at repelling rats.

There is anecdotal evidence to support this position. There is an equal amount of hearsay evidence to the contrary. We’re agnostic on it and we’re only including it because so many people have asked about it.

Sprinkle a healthy layer of black pepper wherever you find evidence of rats and it may irritate their nostrils enough to drive them away.

Read More: Top 4 Best Rat Poisons

5 Additional Remedies to Get Rid of Rats From Inside Your House Fast

If dead rats are your DIY goal and you want those nasty critters dead and buried, we’ve got you covered. Here are three ways to kill rats dead-bang.

  • Snap Traps

The old tried and true method of using snap traps still works. The old traps were wooden platforms with a spring-loaded bar on them that snapped shut when rats tried to nibble the bait or steal it off the trap.

Rat traps also come in a more modern plastic version that has serrated teeth on the two jaws of the trap. When it snaps closed, it’s like a predator grabbed them in its mouth. Whichever you use, make sure it is the large rat traps, not a small mouse trap. The difference is size is immediately obvious when you see them side by side.

If you use a snap trap, don’t use a block of cheese or a big glob of peanut butter. As rat baits go, both of them are fine, but a big piece of either leaves the rat the ability to nibble it off the trap without springing it.

Instead, smear some cheese or peanut butter on the trigger. The smell will be just as strong as if you’d put a big gob of either one on the trap but it will force them to lick the trigger. That will put enough pressure on it to trigger the trap.

  • Glue Traps

Glue traps are also effective if a bit gruesome. A glue trap is a plastic filled with incredibly sticky glue. When rats step on it they become stuck. The more they fight to get free, the more they get stuck. Eventually, they die from exhaustion or starvation.

Rats stuck to a glue trap will often cry or scream as they try to get free, making a rather hideous sound in the process. They won’t die right away either. They could still be alive a few days later when you find them, meaning you’ll have to kill them yourself.

  • Live Traps

Lastly, are live traps. They don’t kill the rats at all and once they’re caught you have to either kill them or try to take them so far away from your house to release them that they can’t find their way back. You can use them, but we don’t recommend it.

  • Bait Boxes

Bait boxes or bait stations, filled with rat baits that have rodenticide in them is the most effective method of killing rats. The bait boxes are strong plastic boxes with rat-sized holes in them so the rats can get inside to gnaw on the bait blocks inside.

The bait stations are tamper-resistant so you can use them when pets and children are present. Bait blocks used in the boxes use rodenticides such as warfarin, bromadiolone, brodifacoum, and diphacinone.

These poison baits are extremely dangerous to small pets and children and can kill a dog up to 50 pounds if they eat an entire block of it.

Warfarin is an older rodenticide that has fallen out of use. The next two are 2nd generation rodenticides that will kill rats in a single feeding. The last one, diphacinone, requires multiple feedings to kill rats.

  • Electrical Boxes

This is similar to snap traps in that you have to bait the box with cheese or peanut butter as an attractant. Once the rat enters the box, an electric current kills it. These traps work but they are hazardous to children and pets. Make sure they’re well out of reach before using them.

Read More: Top 5 Best Rat Traps

Best Product for Getting Rid of Rats

Contrac Blox

Contrac Blox

This is a rat and mouse bait we’ve used ourselves for rodent control. It will kill them in a single feeding, making them bleed out from the inside. You’ll need to put it in a bait station so your pets and children can’t get to it. Rats and mice are drawn to it. They’ll eat it and die.

Getting Rid of Rats From Your Property Completely

It’s impossible to get rid of rats from your property completely. They’re a wild animal that wanders around foraging for food. Short of building an airtight dome over your property like something out of a science fiction novel, there’s no way to keep them completely off your property.

What you can do, however, is keep them out of your house.
Did You Know Rats Carry Diseases?

How to Keep Rats From Entering Your Home

Our previous remarks notwithstanding, the first thing to do is clean up the outside of your house. Rake up all the leaves, trim the shrubs so there aren’t any hiding places under them, and cut any tree branches that are touching the house.

If you have ground covering ivy or monkey grass, give serious thought to getting rid of it entirely. It provides a harbor for them as well as a protective cover when they move back and forth.

Habitat modification is only part of it though. You need to keep them from getting in at all.

Read More: How Much Do Rat Exterminators Cost?

How to Prevent Rats in the First Place

The key is exclusion, plugging up all the entry points into your house. Use steel wool plug any hole you find in your house, around the electrical or plumbing intrusions, chimney, A/C vents, attic vents, and in the soffits under the eaves.

Rats and mice can’t chew through the steel wool and the pain from cutting their gums on it will discourage them from trying again.

Use silicone caulk to seal the cracks and crevices around all the windows and doors. They can chew through expanding foam but silicone is distasteful to them.

Read More: How to Get Rid of That Dead Rat Smell?

Final Thoughts

Rats don’t have to run free in your house. We’ve given you a lot of DIY approaches you can use without having to pay a professional pest control company to come to your house. Give them a try and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.

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