How to Get Rid of Rats in Your Home and Garden

How to Get Rid of Rats in Your Home and Garden
By Coatesy /

Rats are annoying pests that spread hazardous diseases and can cause serious damages to properties in a surprisingly short time. The most common rat species found in Australia are the brown and the black rat, and they can multiply at a rapid speed. That is why it is important to act quickly at the first signs of those pests.

If you have already noticed a sign of a rat infestation in your home or workplace, then probably you are wondering how to get rid of it. Read on to learn the best ways to deal with a rat infestation and how to prevent any future rodents from entering your property.

What attracted the rats to your house?

The first step of getting rid of rats is to understand what actually brought them to your property. There are a few things that create a rat-attractive environment. By removing them you can reduce the chance of a rat infestation.

  • Easy access to food - Rats are omnivores. They eat everything, even non-food items. Rats can sniff out open food packages, bags of pet food, uncovered garbage bins or birdseed. Surprisingly as it may sound, rats also feed on fabrics like leather and fur or even soap.
  • Source of water - Rats are not only after food but also after water. This is the basic instinct of any living creature. Anything from leaking pipes or split hoses to pet bowls can be a potential source of water for rodents.
  • Plants - If you have a garden and plants that grow fruit and vegetables, you are potentially providing food for rodents. Rats can feed on a variety of fruit, and any fallen food on the ground should be quickly discarded.
  • Smells and odours - Rats have a very developed sense of smell that is even better than that of dogs and cats. They can detect the smell coming from garbage containers and food left out in the open. As already mentioned, rats feed on everything. This also includes food already digested by other animals. If you have pets at home, you should know that rats can be attracted by the smell of pet food and pet waste.
  • Warmth and comfort - Rats are warm-blooded creatures and, as such are drawn to warm places where they can nest with their pups. Areas near heating systems or behind appliances make ideal locations for rat nests.

How to get rid of rats in your home and garden?

Even though some people like to raise rats as pets, wild rats can be very dangerous and troublesome. They can cause serious property damages and are a health hazard because of the many diseases they carry. In order to avoid stressing over your health or home condition, it is essential to act quickly once you’ve noticed a rat or a sign of one in your house or garden. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you prepare and know what to do in order to get rid of a rat infestation.

Inspect the area

The first step you need to take is to inspect your house and garden. You will need to determine the rat species (it is better to know what you are dealing with), the population size and the location of their nest and burrows. As the saying goes, you need to know your enemy. Watch out for any signs that can help you, such as droppings, noises, rub marks and footprints. It will be good to know where the rats are coming from.

Clean and dispose

The rats have chosen your home as a shelter because they have been attracted by food, water, or some kind of smell. Make sure to clean and dispose of any food and waste that might be a potential attraction to rodents. This can include fallen fruits and vegetables in your garden, pet food and waste, water or garbage.

Seal gaps

Rats manage to find their way into homes through even the smallest gaps and holes. A hole the size of a coin won’t stop a rat as they are able to squeeze through any space. Having this in mind, seal any gaps that you can see in your interior or exterior walls or the floor. You can use caulk, wire wool, cement or metal kick plates to fill in any visible gaps.

Consider trapping

A common rat control method is trapping, and sometimes this can be effective. There are three main methods you can use to catch rodents. Those are snap traps, live traps or bait stations. Traps will need to be set on the routes rats use or near food sources. Areas where rat signs have been noticed are ideal for this. Regularly check traps and baits and make sure to dispose of dead rats as soon as possible to avoid odours, infections or insect infestations.

Warning: Make sure you place traps where children and pets don’t have access.

Use natural deterrent methods

If you want to avoid trapping the rats, you can use natural rat repellents. Rats tend to avoid certain products. Try using ammonia, bay leaf, black pepper, cloves, peppermint oil or castor oil to keep the rats away.

Contact professionals

Sometimes rats can nest in cavity walls or places with difficult access, so the best solution would be to ask a professional for help with the rat infestation. Moreover, rat infestations on larger scales are extremely difficult to be handled with simple methods. In such cases, you will need to contact a professional pest control company that will know how to deal with bigger rat populations in a safe and effective way.

How to prevent rats from coming back?

Even after you have managed to get rid of the annoying rat infestation at your home, the danger of rats returning is real. The best way to prevent this from happening is by adopting some habits that would make your house and garden inhospitable to rodents.

Cut any access rats used to have to food and water. Never leave food out in the open for long, and keep your garden tidy from fallen on the ground fruit and unharvested crops. Always scoop your pet’s waste as soon as possible and clean animal cages often. Make sure garbage bins are always closed. Regularly check for potential entry points and seal any gaps. Also, you can use some natural repellent products to set a rat barrier around your property.


  • Rats are dangerous. They multiply quickly, cause property damages and carry hazardous diseases.
  • There are certain things that can attract rats to a house, such as easy access to food, water and warmth. Limiting those can prevent rat infestations.
  • Getting rid of rats is possible with DIY methods, but the most efficient and safe way is by contacting a pest management company.
  • Even when you have cast aside a rat infestation, rats can return unless some prevention measures are taken.

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