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KILLING RATS | Solve Your Rats Problem

Updated on January 9, 2015
Rat Spreading Diseases
Rat Spreading Diseases

Killing Rats

Read about killing rats in your home, business or landscaping. Find solutions for your rats problem and facts about rats spreading diseases. Learn how to kill rats and watch a video.


This article explores the frightening dangers underlying a rats problem and why killing rats is the only solution to the threat they pose. Here you will also find facts about these rodents to identify their presence on your property and find the best ways to kill rats.

Rats Problem
Rats Problem

Rats Problem

Killing Rats Before They Kill You

Rats harbor more than 40 diseases which infect humans. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service:

"Rat-borne diseases are thought to have taken more human lives in the last 10 centuries than all the casualties of all the wars and revolutions combined."

And rats contaminate everything they touch.

A rats problem in a home or business is not just a nuisance; it is dangerous. Rats are carriers of multiple diseases and so are the fleas which come with them. Consider this list of rat-borne horrors:

1. Brucellosis (can be fatal and symptoms can continue for years even with treatment)

2. Hantavirus (lung and kidney failure - even with treatment, the lung infection has 50% fatalities)

3. Leptospirosis (can be fatal)

4. Rabies (kills over 50,000 per year)

5. Rat Bite Fever or Streptobacillosis (potentially fatal without treatment)

6. Salmonellas (can be fatal)

7. Trichinosis (often fatal)

8. Tuberculosis (kills 2 million people a year)

9. Typhus Fever (killer of millions)

Rats in New York City
Rats in New York City

A Rat Problem

And we wouldn't want to leave out the granddaddy killer of all, the Bubonic Plague, which wiped out a third of Europe (over 75 million people) in the 14th century. This scourge is still around and the mortality rate is about 70% without treatment.

Most of these diseases can be spread by rat urine, mucous and droppings, contaminated dust particles, and from fleas which have bitten infected rats. In other words, you don't have to come in direct contact with rats; it's enough just to be where they have been.

If you know you have a rats problem and you or someone in your household or business is feeling a little 'under-the-weather', seek immediate medical attention.

Rats Problem - A Best Seller

Rats: Observations on the History & Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants
Rats: Observations on the History & Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants

In Rats, the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Robert Sullivan spends a year investigating a rat-infested alley just a few blocks away from Wall Street.


Killing rats is headline news in major cities throughout the world: Paris, London, New York City, Atlanta, New Orleans, Chicago, Baltimore, Boston, – all are plagued with a rats problem.

The rats infestation is so bad in New York City that the municipality operates a Rat Information Website, which gives the latest rats report for every neighborhood.

A Rat's Teeth
A Rat's Teeth

Rat Bites

Unlike most mammals, a rat's front teeth never stop growing. Therefore, these rodents are constantly gnawing at something as a means of trimming their constantly growing teeth.

Take a good look at the photo of a rat's teeth. Those teeth bite people, too, especially infants and the infirm. According to the New York City Health Department, over 100 people are bitten every year by rats in that city alone.

In the U.S. there are more than 14,000 cases of rat bites every year, and some of those bites are fatal to the victims.

Worldwide, cases have been reported of babies having their toes completely bitten off or their faces mauled by rats. One unfortunate man had his penis bitten off by rats while lying in a hospital bed in India and he bled to death.

Roof Rats Chew Electrical Wiring
Roof Rats Chew Electrical Wiring

Roof Rats

If all of the above isn't enough to convince you that a rats problem can be deadly, did you know that rats can cause fires?

Rats can and do chew through almost anything, including lead plumbing pipes and concrete. One of their favorite things to chew on is electrical wiring.

It has been estimated that over 25,000 fires in the U.S. every year are caused by rodents chewing electrical wires. If that isn't scary, consider the fact that most insurance policies do not cover a property fire if it was caused by rats.

Rat Droppings
Rat Droppings

Rats Problem Facts

If you've got a rats problem you need to understand the enemy. In the U.S., the rat population equals the human population: one rat for every man, woman and child. Put a pencil to it.

Soon, humans will be outnumbered by them. If you have rats in your home or building, you have a ticking time bomb. And the rats you harbor will never just go away.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health released a scientific study that proved rats seldom journey more than a block away from their home nest. And rats are communal. There's no such thing as a solitary rat. If you've found one rat, you have a cluster of rats. Not only that, but a pair of rats produces 900 offspring in a single year and a few rats soon become a colony.

Rat Prints
Rat Prints

Identifying a Rats Problem

If you suspect you have a problem with rats instead of mice or squirrels, look for these signs:

1. Rats leave a constant trail of urine.

2. Rat droppings (pictured) are about 1/2" long and are pellets like little worms. Mouse droppings are much smaller and look like black rice.

3. Rats usually leave signs of gnawing and shredding.

4. Rats generally follow the same trail, often leaving a tell-tale brown smudging on walls.

5. Rats will leave footprints (pictured) in dusty areas.

6. Rats feed at sunup and sundown and this is when you might hear scratching inside walls or in the attic.

Standard Rat Traps
Standard Rat Traps

Rats Problem Solutions

Unlike mice, rats will die within three days without water. If you can seal off an area where you know there are rats and where there is no access to water in plumbing pipes, your rats problem will be solved in four days.

If you don't know where the rats are nesting, you have some detective work to do.

The rats enter a premise through holes, gutters, sewer pipes, torn or chewed screens, etc. Carefully inspect the exterior of your home or building to identify possible entry points and seal them.

Immediately, do the following:

1. Remove clutter and debris from the exterior. Stacks of firewood and lumber are favorite rat habitats.

2. Keep all pet food in aluminum cans with tight lids. Never leave uneaten pet food in the pet's dish. Pet water dishes must be kept away from rat infested areas.

3. Stop feeding the birds until your rat problem is gone. Rats love birdseed and birdbaths.

4. Secure lids on all garbage cans, inside and out.

5. Repair all leaky faucets and remove standing water, inside and out.

6. Keep all food in sealed areas in the kitchen only.

7. Forget about buying standard rat traps.

Rats can eat through lead and concrete, let alone aluminum or traps with just sticky paper. And standard rat traps will never kill enough rats to make a difference.

Rat Zapper
Rat Zapper

The Best Way to Kill Rats

Remember that you aren't dealing with a single rat but with a colony. That's why the standard rats traps won't solve a rats problem. Also, a trap that resembles the old-fashioned mouse trap won't work when there are rats as big as cats!

The best way of killing rats is with a Rat Zapper. The Victor M240 Electronic Rat Zapper is the best trap-and-kill product on the market. It zaps rats with 8,500 volts, killing even large rats quickly and humanely. The instructions are easy to follow.

This trap is safe to use in homes with children and pets. You just add a little peanut butter and your rats problem will be solved in about 24 hours.

The batteries in this unit are enough for 50 kills.

One clear advantage of this trap over other methods of rodent control is that it can be used safely outdoors. When a neighborhood is infested with rats, it takes a concerted effort by all residents to eradicate the rats. Consider a neighborhood campaign to have everyone buy one of these electronic rat traps.

Live Traps

There are people who want to trap rats and release them into the wild.

If you choose the live trap, be aware that you must deal with releasing the rat without harming yourself or others. A rat can jump 3 feet from a standstill. You must be prepared to deal with the rodent the way you would with a rattlesnake.

Also, remember that rat urine and droppings contaminate air and dust. And, the trap must be disinfected before you take it back home.

If you decide to release the rodent, do so at least five miles away from your property and any residences. But remember – if you've found a rat, there are at least a dozen more nearby. You must continue to empty this trap and set it again to be rid of your rats problem.

Rat Poisons

If the above doesn't solve your rats problems, you have three choices.

#1: You can use rat poison. One of the problems with rat poison is that the rats go somewhere to die. That might be inside your walls, air ducts, plumbing pipes and sewage drains. This could result in a more difficult situation than you ever imagined. Also, poisons are dangerous in homes with children or pets. If your pet or a neighbor's pet eats a rat that has been poisoned, the pet will be poisoned, too. In many areas, poisons may only be purchased by licensed contractors.

#2: Many cities and counties offer free vector control services. Call and arrange an appointment for an inspection.

#3: Call in a professional pest control and rodent exterminator company. Yes, it will cost money, but these services know what they are doing and should guarantee their work.

Professional Rat Killers

Disinfectant for Rat Clean-up
Disinfectant for Rat Clean-up

Cleaning Up After Killing Rats

Areas where the rats have been must be carefully disinfected with bleach, either by you or a professional exterminator.

Always wear rubber gloves and a mask that covers your nose and mouth when cleaning up rat droppings and rat urine.

Remember that every place rats have been can harbor fatal diseases.

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    • LongTimeMother profile image


      5 years ago from Australia

      lol. Living off the grid gives one a completely different perspective on bathtubs. We have one bathtub in a shade house growing vegetables, one we use to hold water for animals to drink, and another one outdoors which we only use when we are panning gold.

      The only place I don't have a bathtub is in the bathroom ... although we are planning to put one in a new bathroom some day soon. :)

      Ah, another reminder of how different life is here from New York city ...

    • Writer Fox profile imageAUTHOR

      Writer Fox 

      5 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      Just don't use the bathtub and be sure to disinfect whatever bucket you use because the diseases which rats can transmit are deadly!

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      5 years ago from Australia

      lol. Like I said, I know nothing about rats. :) I do, however, have a couple of buckets that might accept 16" if I ever do have a rat plague.

    • Writer Fox profile imageAUTHOR

      Writer Fox 

      5 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      Hi LongTimeMother: That is a great idea. The live trap above is 16" long, so you would have to have a really big bucket for that to work. Thanks for your input!

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      5 years ago from Australia

      I don't know anything about rats (fortunately) but I have a live mouse trap similar to the one you show above. Worth mentioning that I don't use the live trap to relocate mice. As soon as there's a mouse in it, I dump the trap in a bucket of water. The wire mesh means air won't get trapped in the trap so the whole trap drops to the bottom and the mouse drowns quickly. It should work the same with rats.

      Tip out the bucket and empty the dead body into the bin.

    • Writer Fox profile imageAUTHOR

      Writer Fox 

      5 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      You don't want to buy something that just annoys rats. They are still alive and running around your property. The zapper, on the other hand, kills rats inside the trap. Unless your dog is the size of a rat, he can't enter the trap. What is harmful to a dog is getting bitten by a rat or eating a rat which has been poisoned.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      Recently a man in a store tried to sell me this gadget that you plug in. It emits a high sound that annoys rats and mice and keep them out of the house. Does this gadget work, and would it be harmful to my dogs?

    • Writer Fox profile imageAUTHOR

      Writer Fox 

      5 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      Dear Fee: Your rats problem is severe and dangerous, especially with a new baby on the way. The rat zapper is the best solution for your situation and you should have your neighbors get one, too. If you don't take care of it now, the situation will only get worse and someone may be bitten. To empty the trap, you just tilt it into a garbage sack. It's not difficult at all. Please give it a try before the baby comes!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I darent go in my loft, my sons go in...i am pregnant and my sons are 16 and 20...we have lots of rats both in walls and loft and i am in a mid Terrance house. I hear them day and night and i have paid council 60 a time, set poison out and tried to fill every hole i found but nothing gets rid. Even if i bought one of these it means going back up there and removing it, the thought making my sons do that is sickening. I can't afford to move. No one seems to be able to help me get rid of them.

    • Writer Fox profile imageAUTHOR

      Writer Fox 

      6 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      Cool! I hope more people become aware of how serious a problem a rat infestation can be.

    • ologsinquito profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      I'm pinning this to my Things You Really Need to Know" board.

    • Writer Fox profile imageAUTHOR

      Writer Fox 

      6 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      You don't want a pet cat to be infected by diseased rats or to be exposed to fleas from rats. The electronic rat trap is the best solution to a rats problem.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      get a cat

    • Writer Fox profile imageAUTHOR

      Writer Fox 

      6 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      Many people don't realize how serious a rat problem is in their communities. If you ever see a swarm of rats again, call your city health department to kill the rats! The example you gave is scary and I'm so glad you shared it here. I wish more parents would teach their children about the dangers of these rodents!

    • moonlake profile image


      6 years ago from America

      Very good information. We have never had rat problems here or in our house. The town we lived in had rat problems. There was a pet store downtown and we could stop by there at night and see the rats playing in the front window hundreds of them. Right next door McDonalds. When we lived in that town, our 3 year old son walked outside and I heard him say "oh puppy." I looked out and it was a rat someone must have poisoned him and he walked into our yard. I scooped up our son and never again let him go out the door ahead of me, so worried he would touch one.

    • Writer Fox profile imageAUTHOR

      Writer Fox 

      6 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      Thank you for your comment, DDE.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      KILLING RATS SOLVE YOUR RATS PROBLEM a useful hub and well explained on such problems

    • Writer Fox profile imageAUTHOR

      Writer Fox 

      6 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      I totally agree!

    • ologsinquito profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      That's one ugly creature in your intro photo :)


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