Tips to Prevent Roof Rats from Entering Your Attic

A rat on a piece of wood.

Hardly anyone feels obligated to defend their hatred for vermin such as mice and roof rats. Partly, it is because rats, spiders, snakes, and mice are traditional among the most despised of all animals. But rats, of all these animals, are the most destructive.

They typically hide in an attic and will chew through almost anything, including plastic, wood, metal, drywall, and many other materials to get where they want to go. With few exceptions, most homeowners will go to great lengths to keep rats from entering their home and disposing of those that do. For homeowners who would like to know how to deal with roof rats, here are six tips that will allow you to effectively deal with rats.

1. Learn Where Rats Live and the Routes They Use

Typically, rats prefer to live and build their nests in attics where it's dark and where there are routes, such as ducts, pipes, channels, and openings to other parts of the house where they can gain access to food and water.

2. Learn What Kinds of Foods Rats Eat

By understanding the kinds of foods rats eat and where they usually find water, you can more effectively keep from attracting, or supporting them. Rats are typically voracious. They eat anything and everything, including:

Fruits with high water content (such as oranges and grapefruits)






Tree bark




Animal hides


Pet food

Rats will chew through virtually anything to get to water. Their favorite water sources include:

Leaky faucets



Lawn sprinklers


Irrigation water


3. Learn How You Can Seal Your Home

A rat outside.

Rats can squeeze through holes as small as a quarter. And because they can chew through most materials, you'll need to know what materials you can use to seal holes and small entrances to your home. One effective material you can use — because in trying to chew through it, it cuts the rats' mouths — is diamond mesh used on stucco wall coverings. Holes such as those used to run pipes for laundry washers and dryers, outside faucets, telephone, and television cable. On your roof, seal off openings such as vent pipes.

4. Caulk all Exterior Wall Cracks

Use a heavy grade of steel wool, copper mesh, or metal scouring pads, to fill cracks and holes in exterior walls. Rats can easily climb pipes, rain spouts, cables, and other vertical objects where holes can provide an entrance to your home. In entrances you cannot seal, you should set rat traps. You'll know where to set these traps if you find scratch marks on wall insulation and other surfaces near openings or cracks.

5. Yard Clean-Up

A rat outside.

Remove rat food such as fruits and nuts that have fallen from trees. Keep pet food in enclosed or sealed areas. Keep pet feces off your lawn. Avoid filling bird feeders during months that rats are active. Store bulk food in containers that rats cannot enter. Keep garbage in cans that have tight lids.

6. Set Traps

Set rat traps in areas with less human activity, such as laundry rooms and tool sheds. For bait, use peanut butter with a scant amount of it on the trap trigger.