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How Do Rats Get in the House?

How Do Rats Get In The House?

Rats are annoying little creatures who often find their way into homes and buildings whether you will invite them or not.

You may have heard that even the White House has Rats, which is correct. Keeping them away from your home requires more than rat poison or trap.

It would be best to find out how they got into your home in the first place; only then can you effectively shut them out.

So, look around your home and find out if there aren’t small rat-shaped entries in the corners of your building.


Rats are stubborn and will put in a lot of effort to get into a place that offers shelter and food. They can sniff out any openings or create new ones for themselves.

  • Rats can climb trees and walls and use hanging trimmings as ladders to enter your home.
  • Rats can fit into holes that are smaller than they are, so the size of the hole doesn’t matter. All holes should be sealed off.
  • If the rat in your house often disappears into a particular hole, that’s your hint on how it gets in.

When locating rat entry points, do not leave any corner unchecked. This includes rooms you do not frequently use, like your store, attic, old cupboards, or corners in your garage.

In the following headings, we will discuss nine simple ways rats get into the house and how to look out for them. We have also added more detail by answering some commonly asked questions.

9 Ways Rats Get in the House

Ways Rats Get In The House

Rats are opportunistic creatures. This means they will take any chance to enter your home, whether it’s a door that stays open a little longer than it should or a gap between a pipe and your sink.

Depending on the structure of your home and what areas afford them easy access to food or water, here are the most likely ways rats may come into your home.

1. Open Doors and Windows

Open Doors And Windows

Leaving your doors or windows open longer than necessary is dangerous, especially where rats are concerned.

You would not likely stand guard to watch or chase off any rats who may want to climb into your window or enter through the open door.

So, keeping your doors and windows closed as securely as possible is better. This will prevent any spy rats from finding their way into your building.

2. Garbage Cans

Garbage Cans

Garbage cans are an excellent food source for rats that do not care much for hygiene or freshness. Usually, garbage cans have leftovers of cooked food, food particles, or even crumbs from pet meals.

The smell of food is usually the attraction that invites rats to rummage through garbage cans, especially if it is close to the woods or in areas with vegetation; rats may come out to eat and scurry away.

However, when you pay less attention to your trash, a rat might be hiding inside your garbage and taking a hike with you back into your home.

Another instance where rats could come through the garbage is when you leave your trash out, and it doesn’t get picked up in time.

If you take your trash back in without emptying it, you may also be carrying a rat or two trying to finish lunch into your home. Such rats would find comfy spots and may never venture back out.

3. Gaps in Foundation

Gaps In Foundation

Rats like to make burrows next to solid structures, often steering them toward building foundations. It’s common to find rat burrows near home foundations, although you may have to pay close attention.

While digging their shelters, they have been known to stumble on cracks or gaps in the foundation. This encouraged them to squeeze in, typically in search of refuge.

Such gaps or cracks can lead rats into your building itself. Since they have no trouble climbing walls, it’s only a matter of time before their wonderful smell leads them into your home.

4. Torn Netting

Torn Netting

When nets cover certain parts of the house, you must ensure these stay intact.

Pests utilize holes or damages as an entry into your home. When window netting or screens get damaged, it provides an opportunity for rats to scurry in or climb through at their convenience.

The beautiful aroma of our meals or the prospect of a warm shelter during cold weather could also attract such rats.

They can slip through small holes or gnaw to make them bigger to fit the largest-sized rodents.

5. Downspouts


Rats are good climbers. If there is an opening somewhere, they will find it by climbing up and around your house, searching for a way in.

Downspouts that do not have proper fixings could be open at the base giving rats an entry through your roof.

If your downspouts are open, rats will climb up and find a way through the roof into your attic or any comfortable ceiling parts.

All they need to survive is access to water, a warm environment to shelter themselves, and build a nest and food.

Since they aren’t the only pests, who go around looking for openings into your home, small rodents could fall victim to wild rats.

They could even sustain a living by feeding from your garbage can and returning to the roof to shelter themselves or other colony members.

The only way to keep rats from climbing through your downspouts is by fixing gutter screws or chicken wire to cover the base firmly.

6. Roofs


There is a specie of roof rats. And they did not earn the name just because of their soot-like appearance. These rats, like elevated places and roofs, are a prime choice.

You may have spotted one or two climbing telephone cables or trees. These rats find it easy to climb onto roofs, and the damage they cause is no joke.

If your building has a weakened structure, these rats could fall through the roof or have a jolly stone running through the ceiling.

7. Vents and Chimneys

Vents And Chimneys

Open vents and chimneys are also classic routes for rats. Without a damper, rats can even choose to hide in your chimney.

Of course, this only works when chimneys aren’t used, for instance, in warm months. Also, chimneys with ill-fitting caps can allow rats to squeeze through.

Remember that they can enter holes that are much smaller than they are. So, ensure your damper is in place when your chimney isn’t used.

Even if they climb through, they won’t be able to enter your home. Tight-fitting caps are also necessary to ward off busybody rodents.

8. Chewing Their Way Through the Wood

Chewing Their Way Through The Wood

Strong teeth and a strong will make a lousy combination regarding rats and home furniture.

Although rats would ordinarily not set their time chewing wood, they will do so if it serves their purposes.

For instance, where a small hole exists between wooden boards and walls, rats could scratch and chew the wood to make a giant hole to squeeze through or shelter in.

Deckings and wooden furniture are not left out of the mix. If a rat has chosen to hide in a wooden chair, it’s probably chewing the wood to make more room for its growing family.

9. Climbing


Rats are at good climbing up with trees or decorative trimmings.

So, if you think your attic window is too high up for them to reach, think again.

Any extending tree branches can be used as a ladder or swing rope to climb into your building.

If you have trees or plants whose stems or branches have grown close to your home, you should trim them.

Besides rats, annoying insects or snakes could slip in the same way.


Rats can find their way in if there is a hole, a crack, or a gap.

As we have highlighted above, they can use any entrances you typically use to access your home and improvised doorway.

The responsibility now lies on you to ensure that such places are sealed off and damaged areas are repaired to prevent rats from sneaking in.

It would be best to keep your trash covered tightly so they don’t hitch a ride that way.

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Tell Where Rats Are Getting In?

Although rats can be said to be a little intelligent, stealth is not their forte. If rats have been through an area, there are often telltale signs left behind. Here are a couple of things you should look out for:

  • Scratch or bite marks along wooden edges, especially close to plumbing fittings and near wooden entrances.
  • Littered droppings.
  • Scurrying noises. If you frequently pick up sounds of scurrying rats in a specific part of your home, searching such places may yield the answers you seek.
  • Rats leave footprints. These may be small and hard to see, but a close look at dusty areas may lead you to their secret doors.

How To Tell How Many Rats Are in Your House?

There is no scientific formula that can help to determine how many rats are in your house accurately. However, their droppings are one central pointer in discovering rat presence and quantity.

Rats leave small dark-colored droppings around the areas where they live. Typically, rats leave up to 50 droppings daily to mark their territory.

So, if you keep finding increased loads of droppings, you can gauge whether you have a couple of rats or fewer.

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