How to Get Rid of Rats
Rats damage buildings by gnawing by walls, pipes, ducts, and electrical wires – often causing fires. They eat and urinate on food and can carry dangerous pathogens and parasites. This rat-control guide will show you how to get rid of these little furry hazards for good.
1. Rat identification
Its important to first figure out which rodent youre dealing with. The most shared types are Norway rats, roof rats and house mice. Use the following lists to clarify your pest.
Norway (Sewer) rat
* Grow up to 163 (40cm) long
* Nests at ground level
* Tail is shorter than body and head combined
* Grow up to 153 (38cm) long
* Nests high in trees, vegetation, walls and attics
* Tail is longer than body and head combined
Maybe theyre mice?
Baby rats can look confusingly similar to house mice. You can tell them apart by looking at their heads and feet. Mice have much smaller heads and slimmer feet than baby rats. If youve located one rodent, there are sure to be more. Search for the largest droppings you can find. Adult mice leave cylindrical droppings up to 1/43 long and rats leave cylindrical droppings up to 3/43 long. You can also examine any entry-holes that have been gnawed into walls, mice will gnaw holes up to 1 & 1/23 large while rats will gnaw holes 23 and larger.
a leaping mouseIf youre nevertheless not sure, sprinkle a little talcum powder on surfaces along walls where you think theres rodent activity then wait a few days. If you have rodents in that area you will see sets of tracks appear in the powder. Mice leave tracks that are approximately 1/2? wide while rats leave tracks up to 3? wide.
Other signs of a rat infestation include:
* Urine dribbles left in high traffic areas, usually near walls and other objects. The residues will glow under a black light.
* Dirty rub marks along the sides of vertical surfaces that they often run along.
* Gnawing damage and debris, especially around food stores.
* Entry-holes gnawed into walls.
2. Eliminate the supplies of the rat infestation
If youve decided that you have mice, read how to get rid of mice. If you believe them to be rats then keep on reading. We will start by inspecting every square inch of your home from the basement to the attic. Look for all signs of rats; gnawing damage, urine dribbles (Can be found with a black light), dirty smudges, feces, and entry holes. Record everything you find on a piece of paper and if you can, plot them on a map so you can get an idea of where they may be centered within the structure. Plug any entry-holes that you find with crumpled paper and return in a day to see if the paper has been disturbed. If it has, you have found an active hole. Mark them on your map and continue to the next step.
Remove rat-friendly food supplies
Garbage canRats will eat any kind of food you have from seeds to yesterdays leftovers. You must overhaul any organic material storage areas inside of your home. Store all of your foods in metal or glass containers (no plastics) with tight-fitting lids. This applies to everything that is not stored in a refrigerator. Any food suspected of being touched by rats should be thrown away closest. Fresh fruits and vegetables go in the fridge and pet food should be covered and put away between feedings. Invest in an metal garbage can that has a tight-fitting lid and refrain from throwing any organic wastes into it. Instead, rinse them off and store them in a large, sealable plastic tub and either bury the material or throw it away when you take out the trash. You should also consider using metal trash cans outdoors with bungee cords by the handles to keep up the lids on. If you choose to bury your organic wastes, do so at the minimum a foot thorough and then place a board or something heavy over the area as rats, dogs and raccoons can easily dig it back up.
Outside, keep bags of seeds and pet foods elevated or sealed firmly in lidded metal garbage cans. If you have bird feeders, fruit-bearing or nut-bearing trees, clean up any fallen material daily as these can easily satisfy a population of rats. Animal feces is also a food-source so collect and bury your animals waste. If you have dumpsters near by, go inspect that any drainage holes near the ground are screened to prevent rats from feeding and put up a sign reminding people to clean up any spilled trash due to the rat problem.