Rats aren’t just pests—they’re also health hazards.
Carrying a cocktail of disease and bacteria, rat droppings can fester on floors and infest food, while rat bites carry the risk of kidney-destroying “rat bite fever.” To make matters worse, even the smallest rat infestations can decrease the value of your home.
With rat infestations not covered by most home insurance providers, it’s crucial to avoid them in the first place. In this quick guide, we’ll cover what attracts rats and what you can do to prevent them.
What Attracts Rats?
Like any other animal, rats are always looking for food, shelter, and warmth. Unlike other animals, however, rats have an extremely heightened sense of smell. It’s this sense of smell that allows them to home in on even the smallest bits of uncovered food and waste products.
To make matters worse, rats are also very nimble and able to fit into the smallest places. As a result, they’ll be drawn to any opportunity for food or shelter.
Here are some of the most common things that attract rats.
- Food: Leaving food out or in unsealed containers is probably what attracts rats the most. With their super sense of smell, rats can detect when even the smallest morsels are ripe for taking. Plus, unlike that one Pixar movie, rats are far from discerning gourmands, meaning they’ll eat just about anything.
- Warmth and Shelter: When they’re not gorging themselves on whatever they can find, rats love to cuddle up in a warm, comfortable place—often with other rats. However, just as they’re not picky with food, they also don’t need a king-size bed and a heater. Instead, rats are perfectly fine in whatever nooks and crannies they can squeeze into, especially if there’s some warm insulation to keep them comfy.
- Garbage and Waste: Remember how we said rats weren’t picky? Well, it gets worse. In addition to eating “normal” food, rats are also perfectly fine eating garbage and—we’re really sorry about this—waste and excrement. We’d elaborate, but we’re sure you get the picture.
- Water: What better way to wash down a feast of dropped food and rotten trash than a few drops of water from a leaky pipe? It may sound like a joke, but leaking plumbing is a favorite water source for rats. Rats may also be drawn to other water sources, such as gutters, storm drains, and even standing water.
- Clutter: Scraps of paper, cardboard, and rags may not seem very comfortable to us, but they’re heaven to rats! As they seek out places to stay warm and eventually nest, rats will try to stay close to places with a ready source of bedding material.
- Indoor Plants: Though usually not enough to attract rats on their own, indoor plants—especially vegetable and fruit plants—are a sweet deal for rats in houses that already check off some of the other boxes.
How Do You Keep Rats Away?
Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to keep rats out. Preventing an infestation almost always comes down to eliminating what attracts rats. As we’ll see shortly, that mostly means correctly storing food, sealing cracks, and keeping things clean and tidy.
- Securely store food: Keeping food in sealed containers is the most effective way to prevent a rat infestation. Try investing in airtight containers for storing dry goods, and be sure not to leave food out on the counter too long.
- Fix leaking pipes or other water sources: Fixing leaky pipes won’t just help keep away rats—it may also save your plumbing from rust and your home from water damage. Also check for other water sources that may be accessible to rats.
- Keep clean: Above all, keeping your home clean and tidy is usually enough to keep rats away. While that doesn’t mean clean homes can’t get infested, reducing clutter, trash, and waste will at least leave little incentive for rats to settle in.
What if I Already Have a Rat Infestation?
Once you notice even the smallest signs of a rat infestation, don’t delay. Rats multiply very quickly, and observing droppings or live rats is often the sign of a much bigger problem.
If you need to humanely remove an existing rat infestation or want to prevent a future one, call Animal Capture Wildlife Control at (310) 551-0901. Our team is ready to serve both home and business owners throughout Los Angeles county.