On a typical day, you probably don’t think about what’s going on behind the walls of your house or upstairs in your attic. However, that might change if you’re ever faced with a rat infestation.

rat signs

But how do you know if there are rats in your walls or in the attic? And how can you help get rid of rats in your house?

Tell-Tale Signs of Rats in the Walls or Attics

It can be difficult to tell if you have a rat infestation unless you actually see a live or dead rat in your home. Nonetheless, there are several indications that rats may have set up camp in your house, including:

  1. Squeaking or scurrying sounds in the walls
  2. Running or soft footstep sounds primarily at night
  3. Piles of droppings in an area behind a stove, in the basement or attic, or on the ground
  4. Food packages, containers or wooden spoons that have been gnawed on
  5. Rub marks, which look like an accumulation of dirt and grease
  6. Nests made of shredded paper, furniture stuffing or other soft materials
  7. Disturbed insulation
  8. Ducts that seem to have been chewed or gnawed on

That being said, there are other rodent pests, such as mice, who can leave behind the same signs when they invade your home. Because of this, the recommended way to determine if you have rats in the walls is to contact a professional pest control service provider, like Terminix®. 

How Do Rats Get into the Home?

Some rats, like the roof rat, are excellent climbers, meaning they’ll have no trouble making their way into your house by scampering across tree limbs or scaling ivy and trellises. They can also fit through holes about the size of a quarter. That means if there are any unsealed nooks or crannies around your home, they’ll likely find a way to invite themselves in.

What Kind of Damage Can Rats Cause to Homes?

In addition to carrying pathogens that can transmit diseases to humans, rats can potentially cause damage to your home’s structure and fixtures. They’ve been known to nest in and destroy insulation, and they can chew through electrical wires, which can cause house fires.

What else can a rat chew through? Well, it’s actually a better question to ask what these rodents won’t gnaw on, as they’ve been known to damage metal and plastic pipes, wooden beams and joists and even soft concrete. The destruction these creatures can leave in their wake could really hit you hard financially.

How to Help Get Rid of Rats in Your House

Rats are prolific breeders, so infestations can be a pain to control. You can try to save yourself a lot of this headache by undertaking preventative measures, including:

  1. Inspecting the perimeter of your home and sealing any holes or cracks that are larger than one-fourth of an inch
  2. Keeping ivy and tree limbs trimmed back from your home
  3. Storing stacks of firewood and piles of debris far away from the house to help eliminate potential shelters
  4. Installing thick weather stripping on the bottoms of doors or making sure doors seal completely
  5. Storing food in airtight containers (This goes for pet food, too.)
  6. Making sure indoor and outdoor trash cans are sealed

If you do think you have a rat infestation, don’t try to deal with this problem yourself. A trained Terminix® technician knows the most effective ways for removing rats from your home. And if you want to help prevent them from getting into your home in the first place, a Terminix specialist can conduct a free inspection of your home to determine where rats are getting in and which kind you are dealing with.