How Do Rats Get Into the home?

In this article, you’ll find out how rats get into the house. If you were looking to find out about mice instead, you can find more information in our how do mice get into the home article.


Discovering a rat in the house is one of the most dreaded pest dilemmas of all. Known for dwelling in drains, these long-tailed creatures carry harmful diseases, can chew through almost anything, and leave dangerous trails of urine and faeces behind them.


The best way to avoid rats is to stop them coming in your home, but how to do they gain entry in the first place? Unlike mice, rats are known for their shudder-inducing size, begging the question of how they’re able to sneak into our homes unnoticed.


The answer lies in the fact rats have a remarkable ability to mould and morph to fit through even the tightest gaps. In fact, some rats can work their way through a hole as small as a quarter! Add to this the fact that rats will gnaw through anything that gets in their way and it soon becomes apparent how rats are able to sneak into our homes without breaking a sweat.


Some of the most common routes rats take into the house are:


  1. Gaps and holes in outer walls: Holes are often made in our houses’ outside walls to allow for piping and electrical wires, but if these aren’t sealed properly it provides the perfect opportunity for rats to gain entry.
  2. Pipes and guttering: Rats can both climb up pipes on the outside of your house to gain access to your roof, or crawl through them if there are any gaps or cracks that let them in.
  3. Roofing: Whether they access your roof via a pipe or something else, once they’re there, rats will seek out any gaps or crevices and squeeze through them to get inside your house.


Other vulnerable places that can be utilized by rats include gable vents, ridge caps, eave gaps, soffit vents, fascia boards, roof joints and loose siding.


Can rats climb?

Yes! Rats are highly adept at climbing, which is actually one of the reasons they were able to migrate around the world in the first place – through climbing up the sides of ships and hiding on board them. Rats can travel up trees, pipes and other vertical surfaces at a high speed, and can even climb up walls.


Unlike mice, rats don’t tend to struggle with slippery materials either. Some rats are better at climbing than others, like the roof rat (the clue’s in the name!), as well as the Norway rat.


A number of anatomical factors contribute to rats being so good at climbing, including their sharp claws and textured pads which can grab onto almost anything. Their distinctive long tails also come in very handy when it comes to balancing and can be used to wrap around surfaces to provide extra momentum when climbing.


How do rats get in the attic?

Because of their exceptional climbing abilities rats can quickly scale a house, arriving to the top via conveniently placed pipes. They may also make their way over to your roof from a nearby tree. Once they’re up there, it only takes one or two miniscule cracks in your roofing for the rat to gain entry into your attic.


Because attic spaces tend to be unoccupied, rats from elsewhere in the home may make the journey up there too. Next, all that’s left for them to do is to settle into your attic space and – provided there’s access to food and water – make your home their home for the foreseeable future!


Rats are fast, nimble and intelligent creatures, but they are plenty of ways to keep them out of your home. Browse our site for tips and tricks on dealing with pest problems, so you can keep your home just the way you like it – totally rat-free!


If you’re also wondering how mice get into the home, then read our article to find out everything you need to know.