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How to Deal with Rats

Simply put, rats are gross. Nobody wants these creatures in their inner sanctum. Here’s how to cope.


  • Step 1: Seal your home Keep rats away by sealing cracks and crevices, including underneath doors. Make sure vents and crawl spaces are covered with steel mesh or metal screening.
  • TIP: Small rats can fit through holes the size of a quarter, so seal well.
  • Step 2: Store food properly Don't leave food out – store it in rat-proof containers. Clean up crumbs. The same goes for pet food, which rats also love. And make sure all of your garbage cans are tightly closed.
  • Step 3: Reduce clutter Clutter offers cozy spaces for rats to settle down, so clean up your house! Check all rooms, basements, and attics from top to bottom.
  • Step 4: Clean outside Don’t leave uneaten pet food sitting around outside. Use rodent-proof birdfeeders, and make sure seed doesn't spill. Remove dog waste, keep firewood off the ground, trim any branches that hang over your roof, and plant bushes at least 3 feet away from your home.
  • Step 5: Watch for signs Watch for signs of rats, such as damage to food containers or woodwork, plus the appearance of nests or droppings. Listen to hear them rustling inside your walls.
  • Step 6: Put out traps Put snap rattraps along walls and in corners of infested areas. Bait the traps with dried fruit or peanut butter mixed with cheese or oats. While wearing gloves, dispose of any dead rats by bagging or wrapping them in plastic and throwing them outside in the garbage.
  • TIP: Wash your hands with hot water and soap after disposing of a rat—even if you’ve used gloves.
  • Step 7: Call a pro It’s not recommended that you use poisons unless they’re absolutely necessary. If this is the case, call a pest-control professional. One way or another, if you’re determined, you can get rid of rats!
  • FACT: Did you know? Every 48 years – following the flowering of a rare type of bamboo – the Indian state of Mizoram battles a plague of rats that destroys their rice paddies, stored grain, and crops.

You Will Need

  • Rat-proof storage containers
  • Mechanical snap traps
  • Dried fruit
  • peanut butter
  • cheese
  • and oats
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plastic wrap or a plastic bag
  • Steel mesh or metal screening (optional)

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