Rat Problem in House

I'm going to make a list of common problems people often have when rats get into a house:

  • Scratching or running noise in the attic or walls at night.
  • Electrical outages due to chewed wires.
  • Water damage due to chewed PVC water pipes.
  • Bad odors due to rat feces and urine.
  • Horrible odors due to dead rats in attic or walls.
  • Rat sightings scaring poor, unsuspecting women and children.
  • Spread of disease, such as Rickettsia, Meningitis, or Leptospirosis.
  • Rotting wood or growth of mold due to rat waste.
  • Attracting cockroaches that eat poo, or snakes that eat rats.
  • Rats eating your baby in the night (just kidding).
  • Fire hazard due to chewed electrical wires (happens quite often).
  • Alarm system goes off due to rat chewed wires or motion.
  • Food in the pantry chewed and contaminated.
  • And more, but I'm tired of writing. They ought to be removed.


You know you have a rat problem in the house when you experience one or more of the above symptoms. I've been called to houses and buildings because of all of the above problems, and each of them has been noticed first by various customers. But I'd say that the most common first clue that there's a rodent problem is the sounds people hear in their attic or walls. Some people don't care about mere sounds, and let the problem go until one of the other, worse things happens, such as an electrical outage. In many, many cases, people don't address their rat or mouse problem (or they do it half-assed, with poison), until they have a dead rodent, and then the stench is so unbearable, that they call me out. At that time, I recommend that the problem get solved for good. Some agree some don't, and the ones who don't usually end up calling me back again to remove another stinky rat! Sheesh.

In the above photo we see all kinds of clues about a rat problem in an attic - feces, brown smudges, and even a trapped rat. This is a severe rat infestation case, so you may not notice quite so much activity. Sometimes the evidence can be pretty subtle. Rats often burrow underneath insulation, so even if there is a rodent infestation, you might not notice a whole lot of droppings.


Although I wrote this site with rats in mind, such as the Roof Rat and Norway Rat, the same principles apply to other rodents, such as the house mouse. Mice behave very similarly to rats, they're just smaller. Email me if you have any questions about mouse problem, how to solve a mouse problem in a house, problems with mice in the attic, and rodent problem solving.


David, From the info I saw on your website this morning, you seem knowledgeable and honest. For the last few weeks I have used a ratanator box which the first few days caught 3 rats and now they avoid it like the plague only eating bait outside the box (smart little bums)! I have someone coming out on Monday to give me an estimate and was wondering if you could give me an idea on what is a fair price to charge for extermination and cleanup? I know there can be different degrees of infestation from 6 or 7 rats to 20 or 30 or hundreds. How do you charge---there must be a fee for closing up all the entry points, catching the little critters and then clean-up. Could you give me a brief/ballpark idea of what is fair in your industry and how you gage your estimates, so that I don't get taken to the cleaners. And there isn't a hundred where it is infested, but I think there are more than 2 or 3 more since this has been going on for awhile (started in Nov.). My husband is a do it yourselfer and your program is pretty specific and a lot of work. I not willing to do all that it will take to get the job done and I don't think he will be either. I just want them gone, cleaned up and I don't want them back. Even if you gave me a ballpark for your easiest scenario to your medium one...Thank you, Anji

Hi I have been on your site regarding mice in the loft, well I do not have them in the loft but I do have them in my bird aviary in the roof of the wooden shed which is double lined ,so I cannot use poison ,I have left traps everywhere I have even used a bucket and a tin can and caught loads ,but now its snowing and you can see where they are living as the snow does not settle on the roof where the heat is any ideas would be good they are doing my head in I do like mice but not that much that I am over ridden by them thank you in anticipation that you might be able to help me. regards from Rita
My response: I'm sorry, I have no additional advice that I haven't already written on my website. And I certainly don't ever recommend the use of poison. You'll just have to find a way to seal off the aviary by using a staple gun and quarter inch steel mesh to block off all gaps and openings. It takes work, but it's the only way.