The furry little rats and mice sold in pet stores are cute to some pet owners. However, you should consider rat removal if you have rats or mice running wild in your home. These pesky little critters can be great pets when you buy them from a pet store. Non-domesticated rats can cause a whole host of problems for you, your family, and your pets. Not to mention some of us are just outright scared of mice and rats in general.
If you ever see a rodent running around your home there are two major concerns you have to worry about as a homeowner.
- Spread of disease
- Property damage
Infected rodents have been known to spread as many as 35 harmful diseases. These diseases are scary, ranging from the plague to hantavirus and even hemorrhagic fever. These diseases could spread to you and your loved ones including the family pet. The disease is spread when the infected rat eats and contaminates your food supply. In addition to spreading disease, rodents can cause structural damage to your home and other property.
Mice will chew and gnaw on just about anything they can find. They’ll nibble on carpets, books, wood, plastics, cloth, etc. By chewing they create material that’s useful in building their nest. Outside of chewing on nest making items, rats can cause even more damage. Rats are known to chew right through the insulation and electrical wiring of major appliances. The damaged caused here could be catastrophic if a short circuit or malfunction occurs resulting in a fire. Knowing that fire damage could be very expensive, it is much easier to remove rats and mice from your home before something bad happens.
The presence of rats could mean you either have rodent problems or a full-up rat infestation. But before embarking on rat removal you’d have to investigate the situation to know for sure.
Since people are most afraid of rats and the damage that they can cause, we’ll discuss how to identify them first.
What Are Rats?
Most people are afraid of rats and for a good reason. Rats are large rodents that grow up to 18 inches long depending on the species. Norway and roof rats are the two most common rats found in the United States. Norway rats the larger of the two range in size from 10 to 18 inches and their tails are shorter than their body. Roof rats can grow up to 10 inches long, and unlike the Norway rat, the roof rat’s tail is longer than its body.
After rats invade your home they take up residence in your basements, attics, walls, cupboards, and just about anywhere else they can gain access to without being bothered too much. Since rats can squeeze themselves through a quarter-sized hole it is easy for them to get inside at making themselves a home.
We already discussed at length the fact that rats can cause structural damage to your property. With destructive teeth, rats can eat right through water pipes. Worse of all rats are known disease carriers, spreaders, and a bite risk if cornered, startled, or mishandled.
It’s important that you deal with a rat infestation as soon as it is noticed.
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Signs Of A Rat Infestation
How do you know if you have a rat infestation in your home? The most obvious sign you have rat problem or infestation is seeing an actual rat. Seeing a rat in the home can be quite startling to the average homeowner. Where there is one rat there can be many. Just know that if one rat can gain access to your home many more can follow.
There’s another telltale sign to know for sure if your home is rat-infested. Do you hear them frequently scurrying around in your walls or attic? This could also be a sign of rats.
The presence of rat droppings in your cupboards and on the floor is another indicator. If you see large holes in your bags, boxes, or food containers this could mean you have rats too.
Rat Removal Tips & Tricks
Once you have confirmed that you have rats what can you do about it? For the average homeowner interested in DIY pest control, I do not recommend using rodent poisons. Because killing rats this way could get messy and smelly. Instead, you should look to remove rats from your property using more humane methods.
Like many of the professional pest control companies, I have talked to, we all believe it is best to remove rats using humane methods. This form of rat control is best for the environment, does not result in the death of an animal just trying to survive, and puts the minimum amount of stress on the animal. You don’t have to worry about seeing and disposing of a dead animal.
One of the best humane options is to set a live rat trap. You can buy live rat traps online or at your local pet store. Sometimes you can even find them at your local humane society. It’s not too difficult to catch rats using live traps. Here is an explanation of how removing rodents with the live rat trap works:
- Place your rat bait is the trap, food items such as peanut butter, bacon, crackers or cheese are enticing enough and will work just fine.
- The door will slam shut trapping the rat inside when the rodent goes after the bait. Now that the rat is trapped inside the cage you are able to relocate the animal safely away from your home and property.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have eliminated your rat infestation.
The live rat trap is just one of a few humane rat removal options I recommend. Another simple and effective rat control option is to get rid of the food sources within your home that the rats are feeding off. Take away all food options and the rats will leave your home the same way they entered and find someplace more suitable where they can feed.
Rat Prevention Tips
Last but no less important we must discuss the importance of rat prevention. Preventing rats from entering your home is the first and best line of defense. This is the case even if you have never had a rat problem or if you have followed the steps listed above to get rid of rats in your home.
To keep rats out and away you must seal all entrances and approaches the animal can take to enter your home. Walk around your home, get underneath in crawl spaces, safely climb on the rooftop, check for and seal any quarter-sized holes to prevent entry. Also, it is of utmost importance that you keep a clean, trash and clutter-free home.
Rat Removal Didn’t Work?
Rat infestations can be difficult to resolve. However, you can do rat removal yourself without having to hire a professional. What should you do if the steps I laid out in this article do not work for you? It’s best to contact your local pest control company for assistance.