Rat Repellent

I've had the chance to actually see, in the trenches, hundreds of cases of rat infestation in homes, commercial buildings, attics, etc. People really want to get rid of rat problems, and they don't always know the right way - so in many cases, people try to use a repellent - a scent device that they've read or hear that rats don't like, and which will get them to leave.

There are many rat repellent sprays, powders, granules, etc, marketed and sold.

Here's the deal with a simple scent repellent - you're asking an animal, such as a rat, to leave the only home it knows, its only key to survival, just because of some smell? If a rat has to vacate the attic and try to live somewhere else, it will almost certainly not survive. Rats know this. It's a rat-eat-rat world out there, with strong competition for space, and rats maintain a vast array of micro-territories. Just like humans, and all other animals. You can't just move into another animal's space. A rat cannot afford to leave its only home (your attic) just because it doesn't like a particular smell. And not only that, in dozens, maybe 100 or more cases that I've seen of people using rat repellents, I've never observed the rats to care in the slightest! The smells don't even seem to bother them, let alone drive them out into a homeless world in which they'll die. REPELLENTS ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WORK, I GUARANTEE THAT 100%.


Moth Balls: Moth balls are the most common generic animal repellent sold. A few companies have discovered that they can sell canisters of this cheap chemical (it's called naphthalene) and label it as animal repellent. Products with generic names like "Bat-Away", "Snake Repel", "Squirrel Evict", etc. The truth is that I've never seen it work. I once went in an attic in which a lady dumped 50 pounds (10 5lb. boxes) of mothballs in the attic, and the rodents were still there. Though the scent is annoying, and can cause headaches, like it did for the lady I just mentioned, it's not close to enough to make an animal leave its only home. The killer here is that napthalene is a known carcinogen and wreaks havoc on the environment. So go ahead and use mothballs as animal repellent if you want to stink up your house, get headaches, increase your risk for cancer, poison the environment, and not change rat behavior in any way whatsoever.

Ammonia: Just another strong odor that people think will work. You can list bleach, paint thinner, or cheap scotch here if you want. Doesn't work.

Predator Urine: This is actually an okay theory. Lots of predators eat rats - cats, owls, hawks, coyotes, dogs, bobcats, etc. Surely a rat, if it smells a predator nearby, will be scared and want to leave, right? Well, the deal is the same - a rat knows that if it leaves its home, its only source of shelter and food in which survival works, it's going to die. So rats have, for millions of years, lived in environments with predators, and done their best to avoid them. They hide in small spaces, they sit still when they need to, they run when they need to. But rats and cats live in the same place, and always have. (Why do you think cats started to live around people and thus became domesticated? The food source urban environments provided - rats). Rats know the score, the risks, and they have always lived in a world LOADED with the urine scent of other animals. It doesn't make them leave.

Peppermint Oil: Here's a good laugh. I did a good experiment with peppermint to prove a point - I baited several of my rat traps with actual peppermint oil as the bait! And yup, guess what - I CAUGHT SEVERAL RATS WITH PEPPERMINT - just as many as I did with peanut butter as bait - seems they actually LIKE to eat peppermint. I've seen this rodent peppermint repellent myth listed several times on other websites, and I've seen many customers try (and of course fail with) good old peppermint to get rid of rats. Uh, yeah - there's just something magical about peppermint that rats don't like. Hey, maybe they don't like spearmint, licorice, orange oil, or parsley, either. Give me a break. Read about Black pepper and rats.

High-Pitch Noise Machine: I'm tired of writing about these fraudulent machines. The Federal Trade Commission itself has issued a warning against the utter ineffectiveness of these grade-A fraudulent devices, which of course are marketed toward every animal and insect known to man, just to try to steal people's money. They don't work, I've seen them used dozens of times with zero effectiveness, I don't feel like expounding any more on ultrasonic sound repellent machines, end of story.


I explain how in detail on several of my web pages, such as the Do It Yourself page, but in short, there is no cheap and easy fix. You have to:
  • 1 - Find out how they are getting inside your house, and seal those entry holes.
  • 2 - Actually trap and remove the rats - they won't just leave on their own!


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 repellent, deterrents for mice, rodent repellant, etc.

Read more articles about rats:
How to get rats out of a wall
How to keep rats out of my garden
How to keep rats out of my garbage
How to get rats out of the garage
How to get rats out of your car
Do rats live in more urban areas, or wild areas?
Rats in New York subway
How do you remove a rat stuck in a dumpster?
Why are there so many rats in NYC?

If you have any questions or comments, e-mail me at david@attic-rat.com