Rats have plagued mankind for centuries. In fact, the rat is the most successful mammal after humans. They are one of the hardest pests to get rid of because of their intelligence, agility and ability to breed rapidly. Rats have no problem with flooding, for they are excellent swimmers. They breed year-round and can have up to five litters a year, with each litter averaging up to 12 to 18 pups. Rats can be found on the planet wherever humans are, but if you're a human who wants to get rid of rats, try these tips.

Rat Behaviors

To catch rats you must know their behaviors. Rats live in colonies. They see colors but do not have the greatest eyesight. They have a great sense of smell, though. Rats come out at night and will follow along walls to get to food. They will always use the same runway to food. They will never cross open spaces. Rats like clutter because it gives them places to hide.

Roof rats are great climbers. Those that infect houses usually live nearby in trees. Roof rats can be seen traversing power lines and jumping from trees to the roof of your house. Norway rats, on the other hand, are great diggers. They infest houses but make their home in the ground. Both rats have the ability to enter a house through holes as small as a quarter.

Signs of Rat Infestation

Signs of rat infestation are many. Listen for them crawling in the attic at night; you can usually hear their claws on the wood. Check for holes in wire grates or even wood siding. Small piles of shaved wood near a hole might indicate a rat problem.

When inspecting a space for rats, look for rat droppings and urine stains. Rat droppings look like small, black, hard pellets. A black light can help you find urine stains; urine will glow blue-white. Roof rats will nest in your home, especially the attic. Rat nest are made up of cloth, chewed paper, grass, etc. If your house or property is seriously infested, you will find dead rats around.


Poisons work well and will get rid of a rat problem quickly. Place the poison in the path or runway that a rat uses daily. You can find this runway by looking for droppings. These will usually be on rafters or close to walls. Rats use the same routes every day. The problem with using poison in a home is that a rat will eat the poison and then look for a hiding place to die. Usually this place is in the walls of the house or in a small crawl space that can be hard to get to. This means tremendous, horrific odors if many of them die at once.


Traps have come a long way from the traditional mouse traps of years gone by. The traditional snap trap still works, but studies have shown that the rats learn how to defeat it. To ensure this trap works, place them in sets of two or three along the runway.

A T-rex trap is the easiest kill trap to use. It is quick to set and has high-velocity, interlocking teeth that make sure the rats do not escape. It is so easy to set, you can do it with your feet. Like the snap trap, T-rex traps should be placed on the runway.

Glue traps are often used in areas where it is against the law to use rodenticides. Like the other traps, glue traps are placed in the path of the rat. They are scented, which compels the rat to investigate. It then gets stuck to the glue board and cannot escape. This method in conjunction with poison is ideal and can ensure a kill by keeping the rat from running off to a hole to die.

Rat Prevention

To prevent rats from taking up residence on your property, keep it clean and free from clutter. Yards that have things piled up on the lawn or against the walls of the house offer cover for rats. Keep trees trimmed and away from the roofline. Keep your grass mowed near the house. Prune all the bushes near the house, too. In addition, if you have fruit trees in the yard, keep the fruit off the ground. Keep all food off the floors and make sure pet food is covered. Routinely inspect your attic vents and basement vents for holes or cracks. Check your siding and any doors for holes, too. All in all, a clean, well-kept house is a rat-free house.