The thought of having rats scurrying around your home is so distressing and uncomfortable. While the white rats and guinea pigs have a reputation for being cute and cuddly, the pesky black rodents are far from welcome in one’s home. Rat infestation is one of the worst problems homeowners face and need to be addressed soon. Rats carry a lot of pathogens over them and can spread diseases among humans. In recent times of pandemic and various virus-transmitted diseases, rats at home have to be dealt with. Rats are very clever at hiding in lofts, cracks or any nooks of your home and unless they make a prominent sound, it is difficult to notice you have rats at home. Rats can be a real nuisance at home as they chew on wiring, plastic pipes and sometimes even concrete. If not paid immediate heed, rats can cause a lot of damage to one’s property. Thus, rat infestation, or even a single rat at home has to be driven out. 

How Do Rats Get in Your House?

To prevent rats from getting into your home, you must know the sources they enter from. Tiny rats barely require any space to get in. 

  • A small crack in the wall is enough for them to enter. 
  • Homes with chimneys provide another passage for rats to come in. Especially in the months of winter, rats use the chimneys to seek warmth and shelter. 
  • If you have roof damage and a small gap within the tiles, rats can enter from there as well. 
  • Another common route rats use to get into homes is through pipes. Especially in buildings, the sewage pipes provide an inlet for the rats through your windows. 
  • Homes that have a wide courtyard or garden, there could be rats burying holes in the ground and they will find any chance to sneak in from an unattended door or window that remains open. 
  • The air vents in your home can also be a good place for rats to hide. These vents usually have wider openings that can get adult rats to move comfortably. 
  • If you have a basement/garage where you have a lot of unused items or trash materials, they can easily attract rats to start infesting. 

What attracts mice and rats to your house?

Food: Nothing acts like a good bait than food. All infestations, be it bees to rats are all in search of a source of food. Rats can eat anything and everything from food waste to raw material. Garbage dumps are common places that see rats colonies because of the sole availability of food. So, if you have unsecured food in your kitchen window, it can easily attract rats. For that matter, even pet food can be attractive to rats. 

Warmth and shelter: Rat infestations are usually seen more during the winters because rats enter people’s homes in search of warmth. As the weather outside goes cold, rats search for warmer places to stay within. Rats and rodents are warm-blooded animals and are always looking for warm places for their survival. So, rats make their way through cracks, chimneys and vents into a home. 

Trash cans: If you leave your trash cans open and unattended for long periods, the food waste is perfect for rats to feed on. Rats can survive on trash. 

Plants: If you have fruit trees then these plants can also attract all kinds of pests including rats. Tress with tall branches serves as an access for rats to enter a home. Rats and rodents can also feed on grasses and twigs and use them to prepare their nesting space. 

Clutter: Rats can comfortably live in cluttered spaces as it gives them a hiding spot from humans as well as their predators like stray cats. Attics, sheds, garages and basement areas with clutter can attract rats. Used boxes, newspapers, discarded furniture, and plastic waste all of these can be used by rats to build their shelter. 

Signs of rats and mice in your house and Places where they hide 

Because rats are discreet and usually active during the night, spotting an infestation in your house may take a little while. But if you suspect rats in and around your home, here are some definite signs to look for: 

Rat droppings: Well-fed rats will also leave their droppings. Rats produce as many as 40 droppings per night. If you spot dark brown spindle-shaped droppings in corner of your home, it’s a big sign of rats. 

Rub marks: Rats are typically dirty and will often leave smudge marks when they brush against a surface. Rodents have very poor eyesight so they mark a route brushing past walls. If you have light-coloured walls and notice grease or dirt patches on the surfaces suddenly, it is possible there are rats in your home. 

Gnawed stuff: If you come across gnawed newspapers in your storeroom or wire shavings in the attic, rats are nibbling on this stuff. 

Noises: If you’re alert enough to notice a few sounds from your kitchen attic, or in your cabinets, especially at night then those could be rats. Brown rats make a grinding noise with their teeth. If there are multiple rats then they will make noticeable scrabbling noises as they move across the roof, or around the home. 

Footprints: Rats also leave their trails. If you suspect them to be in dusty, less-used spaces of your home, then look closely for footprints on the dusty surface. You can sprinkle some flour on the area and look for fresh prints the next morning. 

Rat holes: If you have a garden, then rat holes are a tell-all sign of their infestation. Brown rats are known to dig burrows for their shelter and nesting. Keep mowing your lawn regularly and look for rat holes, especially in the winter months. 


Once, you have figured out that there may be a rat infestation, you need to look at the possible areas where they hide. Rats are scared and want to stay hidden, so they look for cracks or cluttered spots to create a good hiding place and nest themselves. The common places where they hide include basements, attics, pipes and vents. 

What problems can mice and rats cause?

Structural damage: Rats and mice can cause a lot of damage to homes and apartments if not driven out. Rats are known to gnaw on wires and plastic and can eat away the plastic coatings on wires. Unkempt and broken wires can result in short circuits, affecting the entire electric supply of your home. 

Tattering stuff: Mice will gnaw into upholstered furniture, paper, clothes, books, just about anything. If mice find a way into your wardrobe, your clothes would end up tattered or with holes. Some of your important documents could also be lost if they find a way into a rat’s nest. 

Food damage: Rats come home in search of food and if there is an infestation in your kitchen, they will chew on a lot of foodstuffs, raw or cooked. Rats can also contaminate the food cabinets with their droppings and urine. Rats chewing on the packaging of the food will also eventually make the stuff unfit for your usage. Although rats may eat less food, they will damage 5 times more. 

Health risks: The major reason why rat infestation has to be immediately addressed is the number of health risks with rat-borne diseases. Rats and rodents carry a wide range of diseases with viruses and bacteria on their bodies. They can transmit them to humans within a home. Some of the diseases that can spread through rats are: 

  • Hantavirus
  • Salmonella
  • Leptospirosis
  • Rat-bite fever

Rats can also transmit diseases through ticks and fleas that live over them. 

Ways to Get Rid of Rats and Mice in Your House 

If you notice rats in and around your house, you must get rid of them immediately for your own safety and well-being. Here are some ways to get rid of mice and rats from your house:

Use traps: The most effective and efficient way of driving out the mice and rats is using rat traps. There are different kinds of traps available in the market but we do not recommend using the sticky ones as they are an inhumane method. You can place the mouse traps in places where you think the mice are hiding such as near trash cans, in the attic, or in the kitchen loft. You will need some kind of bait such as cheese, nuts, and chocolates to lure the rats in. There are live catch traps which trap the mice and you can release them far away from the home. Trapping is a poison-free method of dealing with rat infestations. 

Use natural deterrents: While you can always use rodenticides, there is a possibility of accidental poisoning of pets and kids with them. So you can always use safe and natural deterrents to keep rats and mice at bay. Peppermint oil, black cloves and crushed pepper can be sprayed near trash cans or rat holes in your yard. Soak cotton balls with these essential oils and place them where rats are usually found scurrying. 

Seal the gaps: Once you notice the hiding spots and entry/exit points of the rats, you must seal these gaps. But seal them when the rats are outside or it will be trouble for you to get rid of them. Rats can always make new holes or gaps within pipes to escape. If your roofs and walls need fixing, you should not delay it. 

Clear out the garbage regularly: If your trash is full, dropping out waste and unattended, it will keep on attracting rats even if you get rid of them once. So always clear out your garbage and don’t leave waste open. 

Call an exterminator: If nothing else works and you are in urgent need of help, rely on professional exterminator services that deal with rat infestations. Metro Pest is one of the reliable pest control services in Nassau County. Well equipped with the knowledge and expertise to eradicate rodents from your residential home, they offer the elimination of mice and other pests from your home.