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How do I get Rid of Rats in the Attic?

Jacob Queen
Jacob Queen

There are a common series of basic steps that experts recommend for dealing with rats in the attic. The first step is to discover the rat's entryway and make it impossible for it to get back inside, which may even take professional help from an exterminator. Once that's finished, you'll need to deal with the rats left inside. There are many different ways to do that, and choosing your own method will depend on your moral stances and other issues. After the rats are gone, many experts recommend taking extra measures to clean up around your property and inside the attic so other rats won't be attracted to the scent of the rats that used to live there.

The reason it's common to find rats in the attic is because of a particular breed of rat called the roof rat or black rat. These animals like to live in trees and are prone to climbing. Living in an attic is a relatively natural thing for them, and it has some advantages, including access to human food, safety from predation, and shelter from the weather. Roof rats are very common in hot areas, and are especially known to cause problems in the southeastern part of the United States.

Blocks of rat poison.
Blocks of rat poison.

The type of extermination method used for dealing with rats in the attic will often vary depending on your belief system. Some people are very particular about harming animals in any way, and they might choose to use no-kill traps that capture the rats alive. These rats will generally be transported out into the woods and released. According to experts, this method can work very well.

A brown rat.
A brown rat.

There are also other methods such as poisoning and snap traps, along with some more exotic solutions. Poisoning can be effective, but rats rotting in a person's attic can produce an unpleasant smell, and many people believe that poisons are inhumane. Snap traps are probably the most popular technique because they kill rats instantly and allow the person to dispose of the corpse easily. Most experts recommend snap traps as the most effective method of dealing with rats for those who plan to exterminate them instead of releasing them alive.

One common piece of advice among experts for dealing with rats in the attic is to beware of re-invasion. Rats have a great sense of smell, and roof rats tend to flock together in big groups. It's very possible that your roof will have a subtle rat smell even after your rat problem is dealt with, so it's considered wise to clean very well to remove any rat residue.

Discussion Comments


@Chmander - When you mention the rats returning, it reminds me of an issue I was having a few years ago with a squirrel in the attic. Though maybe not as bad as a rat infestation. When I had finally gotten rid of the squirrel, one thing that I forgot to do was clean the attic and remove any squirrel smells and residue. A few weeks later, the squirrel returned to the attic, along with other three others. Generally speaking, this is why it's such a good idea to remove the smell from any places that were infested, as if you don't, all you're doing is inviting them back for more.


I haven't had problems with rats before, but this is actually some great advice, referring to the last paragraph. No matter what kind of four legged pest you're dealing with, even after they leave, it's a good idea to get rid of the smell, so that more of them don't come back. After all, even if you manage to get rid of the pests, rats in this case, they might alert their "friends" about this new home in which they can rest. However, I guess one way to prevent this would be to kill the pests (rats) instead of forcing them to leave. There are many ways in which this can be done. Overall though, it's a good idea to be careful.


Even though it's not mentioned in the above article, if someone is having problems with rats in the attic, one of the best pieces of advice that I have is to is check and see if there's anything that contributes to this.

Rats are disgusting critters that are attracted to garbage and other foul things. If you can't get rid of the rats directly, one of the best things to do would be to aim for the source of the problem.

As an example, a few summers ago, I was having some bad problems with many flies in my house and garage. Because they kept laying eggs, it was hard to get rid of them directly. However, what I discovered was that because I would leave my garbage bags in the garage and not on the side of the house, that's why it was such as issue.

However, once I fixed that problem and got rid of the remaining flies, it wasn't much of a problem anymore. Overall, sometimes it's better to aim for the source than the cause of it.

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    • Blocks of rat poison.
      By: jaggat
      Blocks of rat poison.
    • A brown rat.
      By: Ilia Shcherbakov
      A brown rat.