Although you might not like to think about it too much, rats are all over the place. If humans inhabit an area, there's a strong chance that these rodents are nearby, too. The rat preference for being around people is no mystery, though. When humans are around, food abounds -- a goldmine for lucky rats.
Outdoor Hiding Spots
Rats can be found living outdoors in a wide array of habitats. They're usually big on underground burrowing. Some of them reside in small openings below homes. Others set up residence under stones, high grass and bushes in yards. Rats also often hide out below heaps of wood, as long as the wood is mostly ignored. Many rats make their burrows right next to gates, outhouses and terraces. Some of the burrows they inhabit are as far down as 18 inches in the dirt.
While it's common for rats to live in low locations, not all of them do. Black rats, or roof rats (Rattus rattus), for example, usually prefer to hide out and rest away from the ground. Many of them scout out nesting locales up in trees. Many of them reside in the upper portions of man-made buildings, as well -- think attics of two-story homes.
Indoor Hiding Spots
If you're concerned that rats might be hiding out inside of your home, make a point to look in all of the key spots. Areas in the middle of walls, cramped basements and crawl spaces are all favorite rat hideaways. They also like to hang out in tight and narrow spaces such as those below and in the back of closets, cabinets and tubs. Some of them even hide out in empty drawers.
Manage your pesky hiding rat worries by getting to the bottom of things -- and uncovering all of their potential hiding spots. Temporarily move furnishings and storage to see if you can find any evidence of the rodents. The presence of fecal matter is a strong clue. If the stools are new, they should appear smooth. If they're not, they should appear grayish and tough in texture. Rat stools are frequently found close to food stashes. You also might notice signs of chewing activity, often on cords and on doors. If you have any reason to believe that rats are indeed hiding in your home, look at your home's exterior to see if you can find any gaps that are at least as big as quarters. If you do, promptly cover them. Be extremely diligent about food, too. Make sure your trash cans all have secure lids. If your pets don't eat all of their food, clean it up immediately so it doesn't attract rats. If your cat or dog seems especially fascinated by your walls, it also could signify rats on the premises.
- New York State Department of Health: Controlling the Rat
- County of San Diego: Rat Control Tips
- University of Georgia School of Forest Services: Rats and Mice
- Newfoundland Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation: Mice & Rats
- King County: How to Get Rid of Rats
- The Humane Society of the United States: What to Do About Wild Rats
- MSPCA Angell: About Rats and Mice
- London Borough of Hounslow: Rats
- Baltimore County Maryland: Rat Facts
- Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife: Rats