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How Do Rats Get in an Attic? Signs of Presence & Getting Rid of Them


If you own a home with an unfinished attic, it’s an area that you should probably take the time to inspect every once in a while. But while rats are notorious for getting into attics, how do they even make their way up there in the first place?

Also, how do you know they are there, and what can you do to get rid of them? We answer all those questions for you here.

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How Do Rats Get in an Attic?

Rats and other rodents don’t need much space to find their way into your attic. They can get into the home through tiny entry points, and from there, they are exceptionally skilled climbers.

Rats can easily make it through spaces as small as a quarter, and they can climb steep inclines. They can climb up through the walls, chimneys, etc.

So, just because you can’t see a path where the rats are making it to your attic, that doesn’t mean they haven’t built themselves a comfortable home there.

Roof Rat
Image Credit: IrinaK, Shutterstock

The 4 Signs That Rats Might Be in Your Attic

With so many ways that rats can find their way into the attic, it’s essential to know a few of the signs that they’re there. Here are four of the most telling signs that you might have rats or other rodents in your attic.

1. Unusual Noises

This is one of the first signs that many homeowners notice. However, by the time you start hearing noises in your attic, there’s a good chance that there are somewhere between five and 10 rats up there. Since rats reproduce rapidly, it won’t take long for that group to turn into a much larger and harder-to-manage colony.

2. Rat Droppings

If you look in your attic, you might be able to see signs that rats are living up there. Check corners and along the walls. If you see small, dark pellets, those are probably rat droppings.

Rat droppings are a clear sign that rats are visiting your attic, even if they’re not there right now. If you’re curious if they’re from a previous infestation, you can clean them up and see if they come back.

Image By: Pixabay

3. Nests

The reason that rats want to get into your attic is so they can make nests from the insulation and other materials up there. These materials will keep them warm during cold weather.

If you see any nests in your attic, you should remove them right away, but you will still have a rodent problem that you need to address.

4. Torn-Up Insulation and Damage

Rats don’t exactly clean up after themselves. They want to make their life as easy as possible, and this means creating plenty of warm nests and easy pathways to get from place to place. They do this by using their sharp teeth to tear up raw materials.

If you have rodents entering your attic, it’s only a matter of time until there’s ripped insulation and other damage that gives away their presence.

The 4 Ways to Get Rid of Rats in the Attic

Once you figure out that there are rats in your attic, the next thing that you need to do is find out how to get rid of them. Here are a few different tips and tricks that you can use to get rid of attic rats.

roof rat peeking from a wood
Image By: Joshua J. Cotten, Unsplash

1. Traps

This is a standard go-to when dealing with rats in the home. Use the best traps that you can find, and place them in high-trafficked areas to increase the chances of a rat coming across them.

Keep in mind that if a rat is getting plenty of food from other sources, they’re less likely to visit a trap that you put out for them.

2. Seal Up Entry Points

While you might think that sealing up entry points is trapping the rats inside your home, it’s going to make it possible for you to get your rodent problem under control. First, it will make them more likely to go for the food in your traps.

Second, it’ll keep more rodents from coming in and replacing the ones that you trap. If you’re serious about tackling the rodent problem in your home, you need to seal up all possible entry points.

3. Don’t Use Poison

Dealing with rats in your attic is frustrating, and it can be tempting to just grab poison to kill them off. But while this will likely kill the rats, they likely won’t leave your home before they die.

They’ll curl up somewhere warm, like in the attic or in your walls before they finally die. When this happens, they’ll start to decompose, which will create a horrid stench. If you can find their bodies to remove them, it’ll help, but often, they don’t die in an easily accessible location. Do yourself a favor and avoid the poison route.

Mouse Trap
Image By: Skitterphoto, Pixabay

4. Get Help

If you’ve done everything that you can think of and still can’t get rid of the rats in your attic, it’s time to enlist professional help. While this option will cost money, it will save you from further damage and a growing rat infestation in your home.

Consult a PEST-CONTROL expert

Find a pest-control specialist in your area, and get free, no-commitment estimates for your project.

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Final Thoughts

Now that you know more about how rats can get into your attic, it’s a good idea to inspect yours to ensure that you don’t have a problem. If you are currently dealing with a rat issue in your attic, take the necessary steps to get it under control right away.

Just because they like to hang out there doesn’t mean you need to make it easy for them or let them stay!

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


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