How to Get Rid of Rats in Your Attic

It might start with the soft sound of little feet. Maybe you hear scurrying overhead one night or see teeth marks and rodent droppings on the edges of the furniture you have stored in your attic space. Pretty soon, all the signs point to the same conclusion—you have a rat infestation in your attic.

With the wide array of traps, poisons, and other rodent-removal tools on the market, it can be difficult to know how to start tackling a house mouse problem. Should you try to tackle the problem yourself with an old-fashioned mouse trap and cheese to take care of your mouse infestation? Or is this a job for a pest control professional.

In this short guide, we’ll explain the best rodent control methods for rat removal, proofing, and prevention. 

How Do I Know If I Have Rats In My Attic?

It can be challenging to know whether rats in your attic are the culprit for the noises you hear at night. But it’s important to confirm the source of your problem, as a family of raccoons or squirrels may require a different pest-control solution. Understanding how to get rid of squirrels in the attic can be different than taking care of a rat or mice infestation. 

Rats are nocturnal and usually shy, so you may never actually see a live rat in your attic or home. Instead, you should look for the signs that point to the unwelcome visitors.

The following are all signs that you have rats in the attic:

  • You hear scratching or scurrying sounds 
  • You notice scraps of hair or mouse droppings
  • There is a noticeable smell

However, it’s best to consult with a pest or wildlife removal specialist to confirm that rats are actually the source of the issue.

How Do I Get Rid of Rats?

No one likes sharing their home with rats. Aside from being off putting, rats spread diseases and cause property damage, so it’s essential to address your rat problem right away. 

Once you’ve confirmed that rats are truly the issue, there are three crucial steps to get rid of rodents in your attic. 

Step One: Exterminate 

*Something to note: Although we are recommending extermination as the first step to getting rid of rats, here at Attic Construction we can easily work in attics with live rat activity and still garner fantastic results. 

There are several different methods of getting rid of rats. But not all methods are created equal. Certain extermination solutions are better to ensure you’re protecting nearby wildlife, your pets, and children in your household. 

When you’re researching how to get rid of rats in attic, you’ll likely encounter the following products:

  • Live traps – This type of rat trap consists of a small cage. It is called a live trap because the animal is kept (as the name suggests) alive. Although this might seem more humane than killing them, relocating animals may leave behind orphans, and relocated animals rarely survive.
  • Glue traps – These can be as simple as a tray coated in a sticky adhesive. Unfortunately, they are an ineffective and inhumane method of pest control. Large rats can pull themselves free, and those that do get caught suffer prolonged, painful deaths from exhaustion and dehydration.
  • Snap traps – Old-fashioned traps use a bait station to attract rats. Then, a spring-loaded bar comes down and kills the rodent instantly. Snap traps are an effective and humane way to deal with rodents—if you can actually get them interested in the bait. Since rats are highly intelligent, they know to avoid unfamiliar objects. They might also have a nearby food source that is more enticing than testing the snap trap.
  • Rat poison – It is best to exercise extreme caution when using this method yourself. Otherwise, you risk accidentally harming children, pets, and local wildlife.1 A qualified pest control professional can lay out poison bait in areas of minimal risk to other creatures.

Whichever method you use, it is vital that you kill 100% of the rats in your house. Rats breed extremely quickly—a single female can have up to 5 litters a year. If any individuals are left alive, your rat problem will be back in no time at all. 

If you are uncomfortable with killing rats or simply want to make sure the job is done right, you should consider professional rodent removal.

Step Two: Keep Rats Out

The most important step to getting rats out of your attic is to prevent them from getting in. Your attic is warm and dry and filled with lots of prime nesting material. Rats see your attic as an inviting place to settle down and have a family, and they will do anything they can to get in.

Roof rats, the pest most likely responsible for your home’s infestation, are incredibly agile and excellent at breaking into your home. They can run up power lines, scale buildings, jump up to four feet, and squeeze through any hole larger than a quarter. They can even chew through wooden doors and windows to gain access to your house2.

So how can you keep them out?

Rat-proof your attic.

To rat-proof your attic, you’ll need to find 100% of the paths rodents are using to get in. You should cover any holes larger than a quarter with rat-proof material such as sheet metal. If this seems daunting, check out the rodent proofing services from Attic Construction.

Step Three: Decontaminate Your Attic

Congratulations, you’ve gotten rid of your rat population! But—your work is not over yet. Here’s why there’s still a few things left to do before you can breathe a little easier:

  • Though the rats are gone, evidence of their presence certainly isn’t. Rat feces and urine left behind after an infestation may aggravate allergies and cause diseases such as salmonella and the potentially life-threatening hantavirus.3 
  • Rats can chew through walls or even electrical wiring, creating fire hazards and power outages.

Decontamination is best left up to professionals with protective equipment. 

Reclaim Your Home With Help From Attic Construction

You might not spend much time in your attic, but that doesn’t mean you want to find rat feces amongst your holiday decorations!

While solutions like glue traps and snap traps can feel more affordable in the short-term, you need a long-term solution to your rat problem.

At Attic Construction, we have highly trained professionals ready to decontaminate your attic and make your home safe again. Likewise, our attic-proofing services ensure that critters of all sizes will stay out. Get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation.


  1. Pennsylvania Game Commision. Rodenticide Toxicity.
  2. CDC. Disease Vectors and Pests.


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