Imagine coming home from a long day at work and it’s time to start dinner. As you begin to get your pots and pans out for dinner preps, you begin hearing some shuffling sounds in your walls. You blow it off and head for the pantry. As you grab the box of rice from the pantry shelf you notice a hole in the bottom of the box. Your worst fears are beginning to enter your mind. What if you have a rat infestation? Types of rats and how many rats are questions that are running through your mind. How to get rid of rats in the walls? Eliminate food, water, and shelter and call on a professional pest control team to exterminate the rats.

Let’s take a look below at some home remedies as well as controversial ways to get rates out of your walls.

What Are Rats

Rats are disease-carrying rodents that originated in Asia and Australia. Currently, the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) says, there are over 60 species of rats in the World. A rat can be very small, at 5 inches long or even larger. In some cases, rats have measured over 2 feet long and over 5 pounds. Also, the type of rat or size of a rat varies by region. The types of rats in the North are often different from those in the South. It is important to research those rat types in your local area before looking to exterminate them.

Rat showing its face through a wall.
Rat showing its face through a wall.

How Do They Survive

Just like all living things, rats survive on food, water, and shelter.

  • Food – rats are omnivorous. This means that they will eat anything. Most rats go straight for leftover food in the trash. In some cases, rats will kill smaller creatures such as birds and lizards.
  • Shelter – in your home, rats enjoy nesting in your appliances, walls, and other dark places like furniture. In the wild, rats will nest in plants, leaf piles, and large weeded areas where they can hide.
  • Water – pet bowls or condensation in the walls and pipes are their direct water sources. A rat can go months without actually drinking water. The food that they eat provides them with the necessary water source.

How Would I Know If I Had Rats

Believe it or not, there are some very obvious signs of a rat infestation. Here are the things that you should look for:

  • Sounds in the walls – any squeaking, scratching on the walls, noises of running across your ceiling, or scurrying.
  • Droppings – if you get into the attic or basement and see dropping piles or in any corner of your home.
  • Holes in Food Packages – bite marks and tears in the paper of your food boxes are clear signs that rats were feasting.
  • Wall Smudges – dirt and grease smudges on the walls that clearly are not related to anything you did as a homeowner.
  • Nesting – shredded paper, fabric, soft materials and insulation is stocked up in piles and creating a warm nesting environment in the attic, walls, or appliances.
  • Ductwork – holes and clear gnawing of your ductwork is an obvious sign of rats.

Why Should I Worry

There are multiple reasons why you should worry the moment you discover a rat in your walls. Let’s take a look.

  • Reproduction – rats can mate up to 500 times in 6 hours. If you wait too long to exterminate, you could end up with an infestation of 2,000 rats in a single year.
  • Disease – rats can carry over 35 various diseases. These diseases can make their way to the homeowner whether it is a dead rat or it is alive. Disease transfer fan occur when in contact with urine, feces, or saliva from the rat. In addition, if a flea or tick bites the diseased rat, that blood can be transferred to a human, if bitten by that flea or tick.
  • Damage – your home can experience significant damage from the rat. Structural damage, chew through electrical wires, furniture, books, appliances, and walls to name a few. Additionally, rats will feed on or nest in the wall cavities, appliances, books, and anything with paper or wood.

How Do I Get Rid Of Them

Many homeowners would freak out the moment that rats show their faces in their homes. Luckily, there are many ways that you can use to prevent rats from even liking your home.

  1. Yard Maintenance – keep all yard waste to a minimum. Reducing the ways a rat can use your yard for shelter is key. Keep your trees trimmed and a safe distance from the roof of your house as rats will use the branches to jump from a tree to your roof.
  2. Seal the Home – inspect your home for any cracks and holes. Make sure that all vents, doors, window frames are sealed tight. Use wood, caulk, wire mesh in the gaps or holes of your home. This ensures the rats cannot gain entry.
  3. Garbage Disposal – make sure that all waste products are placed in a trash bag and then into a trash bin that cannot be accessed by the rats. Place all waste in tight-fitting lid cans.
  4. Keep Areas Tidy – do not store crates and boxes in your attic or basement or garage if you do not need them. Store all holiday decorations in tightly sealed plastic bins and eliminate all paper products from storage. Keep your yard tidy, trees trimmed, and shrubs trimmed. Also, keep pet waste in tight-fitting lid cans.
  5. Keep Pet Food Inside – pet food will attract any rodent or pests, not just rats. You are basically offering to feed the entire pest and insect community by leaving pet food outside.
  6. Home Remedies – mothballs, peppermint oil, ammonia, pepper, onion, garlic, and instant potatoes. All of these home remedies can either keep rats away due to their unbearable scents, cause the rat to die when ingested, or chase a rat from its residence. Dry ice can suffocate a rat and send it running for oxygen.
  7. Rat Bait – rodent baits, poison, or rodenticides are all options for getting rid of rats from your walls or ceiling. Place them in high traffic areas. The rats will become attracted and curious to the food and when ingested will die. Use precautions when placing these items and be sure to follow all manufacturer instructions.
Live animal rodent or rat trap.
Live animal rodent or rat trap.

Rat Traps

There is a variety of rat traps available to homeowners. Most homeowners would think a rat trap is your simple spring-loaded bar where you place a piece of cheese to lure the rat in. Luckily, there are more traps than what you see on tv. Most are only effective if you have one or two rats. Keep in mind, calling on a professional is your best bet here.

  • Snap Traps – cheap and effective. Bait is placed on the tray and when the rat attempts to eat the bait, a spring mechanism is activated and a thick metal wire is released down onto the rat. Also, the force of the metal wire can break the rats neck. If you have kids, look for a less severe plastic version. You will get the same results, but less likely to hurt a human.
  • Glue Traps – simply put, a thick glue covers a plastic board. The more the rat investigates and moves once on the plastic board, the more the rat gets stuck. Eventually the rat dies because it cannot move to eat or escape. Mostly used indoors so that dirt and debris don’t stick to the glue before a rat can be trapped.
  • Electronic Traps – metal-plated, tunnel-shaped trap that holds bait towards the back wall. As soon as the rodent enters the tunnel to get to the bait an electric shock is sent through the device and instantly kills the rodent. Battery operated and safe to humans. The electric shock is strong enough to kill a rodent, but not hurt a human or house pet.
  • Live Animal Traps – typically a rectangular cage with a trap door. The rodent is lured into the cage with food bait, once in the cage a pressure-sensitive plate is activated and sets the trap door to close. Now you can relocate the trapped rat or rodent. This is the most humane way of saving the rodent.

How Much Does It Cost

Rat extermination can be very costly. It all depends on the size of the house to inspect and the number of rats that are present in the home. A standard rat extermination costs between $250 and $700. Also, you could see the costs balloon up over $1,200 if the rat infestation is really bad. Make sure you plan your expenses ahead of time so that you aren’t shocked by the final extermination price.

Other Recommended Maintenance

While you are looking into getting rid of rats from your walls, you might also consider researching how to remove the smell. When rats or mice die in our walls or air conditioner ducts they begin to decay and the smell flows through your ac vents. This is a great time to figure out the best ways to get rid of the smell.

During the daytime, you can see if there are bed bugs in your home. Hopefully, you don’t find any, however, good sunlight, a flashlight, or magnifying glass will help you.

Next, you should look into attic condensation. If your attic has condensation in it, this can become a direct source of water for rats and other rodents. It is a great idea to figure out how to get rid of attic condensation so that pest infestations do not occur.

Lastly, explore the idea of keeping birds out of the attic. Birds can be a food source for rats. If you end up with birds in your attic, then rats can enter the attic through the same opening. If you happen to have birds in the attic, immediately work to get them out. They can cause a major amount of damage to your attic as well as attract other rodents.

Rats will eat through wires.
Rats will eat through wires.

When Do I Call A Professional

The best way to get rid of rats in your walls is by calling on your local pest control team. Additionally, it might seem like a good idea for you as a homeowner to attempt the trapping and extermination of rats from your walls. However, it is best to leave this project up to the professionals. You want to make sure that the infestation is handled in an environmentally friendly manner. In addition, the pest control team can recommend repairs after the removal of the rats.


Having a rat infestation is never an ideal situation so depending on where you live will determine the type of rat that infiltrates your home. Even one rat in your walls could be a nuisance as they carry diseases and their poop pellets could become a smelly issue.

Make sure to call on your local pest control team. In addition, you can determine the extent of damage caused by the rat(s) by reaching out to your local home inspection team. In some cases, your local home inspection team also has a pest control service. Call on Gray Pest Control for all your pest control needs in Jacksonville, FL, and surrounding areas.