Rats Love Roof Voids and Dark Attics
So How Do You Get Rid Of Roof Rats?
QUICK ANSWER – Without wanting to kill them, you could try onions & garlic. Also the smell of ammonia can drive them away. Moth balls can be a deterrent. Pepper flakes have proven to discourage nesting in your roof and also some essential oils are particularly distasteful to roof rats….
Having rats on the loose in your home or business is nobody’s idea of a good time, and that goes even more so for roof rats, scurrying around above your head at night while you sleep. If they become a big enough problem, their scurrying might even be enough to keep you from sleeping!
Beyond any revulsion—or fear, for that matter—that you might feel about the thought of rats in your home, these furry little critters can also do a lot of damage. So no matter how comfortable you are with rodents, it is a good idea to get rid of your roof rats as soon as possible.
What Are Roof Rats?
Also known as Black Rats (though they aren’t necessarily black), roof rats are a type of rat that is typically 25-40cm long, sports large eyes and ears, and has a pointy nose and a long, scaly tail. Their fur is soft and usually black, though it can also be dark brown with spots of black intermixed.
As the name “Roof Rat” suggests, these rats can be found in your attic and other upper reaches of your house. They are exceptional climbers and tend to build nests in dark, dry places.
How Do I Know if I Have Roof Rats?
One of the biggest tells that you may have some unwanted furry friends is the sound of scurrying from the ceiling or voids in the walls. This may be most noticeable at night when you are in bed since things will be quieter then, and, presuming you sleep in an upstairs room or live in a one storey home, you will be closer to the source of the scurrying.
Other things to look out for are signs of little mouths gnawing at things. Rats are remarkably skilled at seeking out food, even when it is in sealed containers. If you find a plastic tub full of cheese or a packet of cold chips that have been chewed into, that’s a surefire sign you’ve got company.
The other main way to identify Roof Rats in your home is by the less savoury evidence they leave behind—namely their feces. Roof rat feces is spindle-shaped and can be as much as half an inch in size. If you find this in your attic or in cupboards, particularly in the upper reaches of your building, it is probably a sign of Roof Rats.
Where Do Roof Rats Nest?
As you might expect from the name, Roof Rats are most commonly found in places like your attic, but they can also nest in the cavities between floors, voids in the wall, any sheltered area around the roof, and even your cabinets and other furniture.
How Do I Get Rid of Roof Rats?
There are lots of ways to tackle this problem, but we’re going to break them all down into two main categories; humane and inhumane. Humane solutions generally involve catching the rat unharmed so that it can be released, whereas inhumane options tend to kill or maim the rat. Needless to say, inhumane solutions are not overly concerned with the rat’s health.
Humane solutions strive to deter rats from entering your home, scare them away if they have already entered, or trap them without harming them. There are humane rat traps you can buy, of course, but there are also ways you can deter rats around the home, and these methods usually centre around odour. Here are something things you can use around the house to discourage rats from nesting there;
- Onion and Garlic
- Peppermint Oil
- Pepper Flakes
Of course, these substances may deter people as well, so you want to limit the use of these kinds of deterrents to areas that are out of the way of said people. The attic is the most obvious spot to sprinkle some onion or pepper flakes, or put some ammonia in a cup and leave it in the corner. You probably won’t want to do that with the wardrobe in your bedroom, though.
When it comes to inhumane solutions to rats, there isn’t a lot of advice to give. The two main methods are fatal traps and poison. The exact way you would go about this will depend on the trap used, and it can actually be dangerous to you and others—not just the rats—so be sure to follow any instructions for your specific trap carefully.
It’s also worth noting that poison can be eaten by other animals, such as house pets. And it shouldn’t need saying that you will need to keep your unused poison out of reach of children.
The best way to not have roof rats in your home or business is to prevent them from ever nesting there in the first place. One way to achieve this is to have a cat. As much as it sounds like something from a cartoon, cats do make good rat chasers for the most part. Granted, some cats are lazier than others, but the stereotype of cats chasing rodents exists for a reason.
If cats are not your thing—perhaps you are allergic to them, or just don’t like them—you might try one of the odour-based solutions mentioned above, this time as a deterrent rather than a means to drive the rats out.
Ultimately, the best way to keep roof rats out of your property is to remove any incentives for them to come in in the first place. Keeping your house clean and tidy is one way to ensure rats aren’t tempted to set up home there. Another is to ensure your food is stored in airtight containers so that the rats are less likely to sniff it out from far away.
Finally, though it won’t guarantee rats stay away, it can’t hurt to make sure your home is in good repair. Rats find their way in through cracks and crevices, and they need to come out from wherever they are nesting to get food. If you ensure there are no easy paths for them, they are less likely to make your home their home.