How to Get Rid of Rats in the Walls

How to Get Rid of Rats in the Walls

Having rats in your home is a nightmare. Few things are creepier than listening to scratching sounds coming from your walls and ceiling at night. Then, waking up only to find evidence that what you heard last night was not a dream at all—gnaw marks, droppings, and food that’s been broken into and eaten without your consent. Having a wild rat in the house is downright awful. They carry diseases and contaminate what should only belong to you and your family, but if you thought it couldn’t get any worse than that, think again. Having rats in the walls adds even more danger to your house and here’s why.

Did you know that rats are one of the leading causes of house fires? Once those pesky critters start crawling around in the walls, they become tyrants to electrical wires. They’ve been known to chew right through circuits, causing shortages and electrocution, which can sometimes spark a flame. And trust us, it doesn’t take much more than that for wooden beams and drywall to burn.

Rats starting a house fire is surely one of the worst things that might happen to you, but it doesn’t stop there. These pests are overly vigilant and sometimes that shrewd behavior becomes their own worst enemy. Rats explore crawlspaces in the walls hoping to avoid detection by human families during the day. But these cautious creatures are so determined to venture through these obscure pathways, that they often die within them! That’s right. They die. That means you’re likely to experience the foul odor of a rotting rat corpse while you search for a way to remove it. And boy, is it hard to remove what you can’t see.

If you’re having a rat problem, it’s wisest to deal with it as soon as possible. Here’s a simple guide on how to get rid of rats in the walls and what you should do if your home is in danger of housing an infestation.

brick wall with rats in the walls

Photo Courtesy of chipped

How To Catch a Rat In Your House

The smartest way to get rid of an enemy rat is to obtain its trust. Now, we’re not talking the type of trust that has you feeding a rat a spoonful of peanut butter on the living room couch. Rather, you just need the rat to trust that not everything in your home is out to get it. This has to do with that really cautious rat behavior we mentioned earlier. Rats are so careful that they tend to avoid suspicious looking objects, especially if said object was not there yesterday. It’s not uncommon for a rat trap, baited with delicious hard-to-resist peanut butter, to go untouched for days, weeks, or ever.

Unlike mice, rats usually don’t let their curiosity get the better of them. Instead, they will travel through the same passageways, using the same routes, marking the same spots every single day. Getting a rat to trust your trap only comes after recognizing where the rodent feels most comfortable. These are the places you will want to place your traps. If a rat’s most frequented spots are within your walls, don’t fear. Rats are only using your walls to get where they need to go. Once out, they will gravitate to their familiar spots right away. Here’s what to look for.

Grease Stains

  • Look for brown stains near entry points and along walls, piping, and ventilation. Rats have a natural oil in their bodies that rub off on objects as they move past them. Brown stains are a good indication that rats are frequenting those routes.

Gnaw Marks

  • Look for chewed up wires, walls, or other objects. A rat’s incisors never stop growing, so they’re constantly gnawing on things to help file their teeth. If you find chewed up items, it’s likely rats will return to those same objects.


  • Places overrun with rat feces is a sign of rats marking their territory. These are excellent places to set up traps! Rats feel most comfortable in areas that they believe are theirs and will frequently return to check them out. If rats are in the walls, chances are they’ll end up in the attic. The attic is a great place to set traps and is usually overrun with rat droppings.

How To Kill Rats In The Walls

Unfortunately, you can’t place rat traps in the walls; therefore, you’ll have to wait until the rats emerge to be caught. This is where the areas listed above, as disgusting as they are, become the most useful to you in the long run. Set traps in every one of these locations and wait it out. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to trapping.

1. Rodent proof the house: before you can even begin trapping, you must first find out how the rodents are entering your home. Find and seal all points of entry using steel mesh and remember that rats can fit through any hole the size of a quarter!

  • Do not set traps before rodent proofing. Without, first, sealing off all points of entry, you’re only asking for more rats and letting the traps go to waste.

2.  Use snap traps: This is by far the most effective form of trapping; it’s also the cheapest. Victor snap traps work great against rats and can be placed almost anywhere.

  • Do not use rat poison! Rat poison is not only inhumane, but it runs the risk of killing rats while they’re still hiding within your walls.

3. Bait with peanut butter, seeds, grains, or even dog food: Rats love all of these foods and the sticky consistency of peanut butter makes it harder for a rat to just snatch and run.

  • Do not immediately bait the trap. Leave nuts or seeds easily accessible from the trapping mechanism for a night or two to get the rat used to the trap.  If a rat sets off the trap right away and escapes, it’s likely to never return and avoid other traps in the future.

gray rats in the walls

Photo Courtesy of david-bartus-43782

Avoid Infestation

Battling rats in the walls can be an exceedingly daunting task. Not only can rats climb walls, but their desire for food and shelter prompts them to build a nest within your home, where they will begin nurturing their young right under your roof. When you’ve got rodents in the walls, they usually gravitate towards unpopulated areas like the attic, using your precious insulation as their nesting materials.

You want to avoid an infestation as much as possible as this only leads to more health risks for you and your family. Also, the more rats you have in the walls, the greater the chances are of having to fish out a dead rodent from behind the drywall. Odors are both extremely unpleasant and difficult to remove. Not to mention, a dead rat corpse often attracts more pests to your property and can permanently leave stains in the walls.

If you’re dealing with a rat in the wall or if you already suspect an infestation, don’t hesitate to call pest control. Handling rats on your own is possible but remember that time is of the essence. The longer it takes to rodent proof and trap the critters, the faster they could multiply as rats only need 6 weeks to reach sexual maturity. The Green Rat Control has plenty of experience rodent proofing, trapping, and removing dead animals. Better yet, all methods used are 100% humane and safe for the environment. Are you ready for professional assistance?

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