Understanding Critters in Your Attic: If You Find One Rat, Are There Likely More?

If you’ve seen a rat scampering about your attic, you likely have a number of immediate questions. These may well include:

  • Is the rat I’ve seen likely the only one in my attic?
  • What are the basic facts about rats?
  • What are the dangers of rats in the attic?
  • What do I do about a rat infestation in my attic?
  • How do I deal with the aftermath of a rat infestation in my attic?

Number of Rats in Your Attic

After seeing a solitary rat in your attic, a primary question you certainly will have is: Are there more? The short answer is yes. If you actually see a rat in your attic, there almost certainly are other rats nesting in your attic.

If the infestation of your attic is of recent origin, there may only be a limited number of the critters in the space. If the rat infestation commenced even a few weeks prior, the population may already be what fairly can be called a sharp increase. Rats breed with abandon. Females have relatively short gestation periods. Rats reach sexual maturity in a matter of weeks following their birth. 

Basic Facts About Rats

Rats generally are nocturnal animals. Thus, they are more apt to be active at night than during the day. With that said, these critters are not solidly nocturnal and can be seen and heard at times during daylight hours as well.

Rats have incisors that grow during the course of their lifetimes. As a result, these animals gnaw – and gnaw a great deal. They can gnaw to create pathways into an attic and elsewhere in your home. The can gnaw on materials in the attic to create nesting material. `

In addition to eyeballing a rat in your attic, other signs that you have rats in your home include:

  • Scratching sounds
  • Scurrying sounds
  • Squealing noises
  • Gnaw marks
  • Rat droppings

Dangers of Rats in Your Attic

Rats infesting your attic can present a danger to you, your family, and the structure of your home itself. Rats can carry diseases. In addition, rat droppings can carry viruses and bacteria as well. The possibility exists that dangerous pathogens can survive in rat droppings for a period of time, even after they dry out. Dried rat feces crumble easily, which can result in droppings dust becoming airborne.

In addition to potentially carrying diseases, a rat infestation in your attic can also result in damage to the physical structure of your home. As mentioned, rats gnaw. This gnawing can result in damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and electrical wires. Indeed, a full 25 percent of all residential fires stem from rats and mice chewing on the outer coating of electrical wires, exposing them. These wires become serious fire hazards in an attic (or elsewhere in your home).

Rat Infestation in Your Attic

If you have a rat infestation in your attic, you cannot delay in addressing the problem. You can attempt to combat and eliminate a rat problem in your attic on your own. You can attempt to battle rats through the use of traps or poison.

Created generations ago, even yet today one of the most effective do-it-yourself means of eradicating rats from your attic is through the use of the T-bar snap trap. This rat elimination strategy is also considered to be the most humane.

If you don’t want to go to battle against rats in your attic on your own, hire a pro. A rat elimination professional has the experience and equipment necessary to effectively (quickly and thoroughly) eliminate these rodents from your attic.

Dealing with the Aftermath of a Rat Infestation in My Attic

Issues regarding rats in your attic are not over once they physically are eliminated. You have two other tasks at hand.

First, you must take steps to defend your attic, and home more generally, from a future infestation. This includes ensuring that holes through which these rodents can enter are properly plugged.

Second, you need to be certain that rodent droppings and associated waste are thoroughly and safely removed from the attic. As noted previously, rodent droppings should be considered biohazards. Thus, you should not make contact with this waste without using biohazard-rated personal protective equipment. In fact, because dry droppings can crumble with dust containing germs becoming airborne, a person shouldn’t enter an attic without donning personal protective equipment that includes a HEPA mask or respirator to guard against inhalation.

There are specific steps that need to be followed to remediate rodent droppings from your attic that include safe removal of the waste and thorough sanitization of the contaminated area. An advisable course is to retain the services of a skilled, experienced rat droppings cleaning company. Such a pro has the background necessary to ensure that this waste is safely and thoroughly eliminated, restoring your attic (and home) to a wholesome condition.