How to Remove Rats in Your Loft: Fast & Simple Rat Removal Tips
Rats are known as ‘commensal rodents’, which means they enjoy living around humans and watching our day-to-day activities. They are very comfortable living between us and the longer they are left to nest, the more problematic they become. Our lofts and attics make for great nesting and breeding places for rats as they are dark, quiet and often well-insulated.
Most rats are adept climbers, so they will have no problem climbing up walls and through pipelines to enter your loft.
Why is this a problem?
Rats are able to produce up to eight litters a year and each litter can contain up to 10 babies. That means two rats can swiftly become 20 and that’s when you will require professional rat control intervention.
However, there are some fast and easy ways to get rid of rats in your loft before they become a serious problem. We’ve outlined a step by step guide to identifying and swiftly and humanely removing rats from your loft.
Step 1 – Identifying the Rats
Before you start laying traps, it’s important to identify the rat you’re dealing with in order to select the best trap and appropriate location. There are two rats native to the UK, they are:
The brown rat – far more likely to be found in lofts as opposed to black rats. Brown rats are larger than black rats, have shorter tails, a blunted snout and are commonly found in fields and gardens.
The black rat – less common than the brown rat, black rats are typically found in seaside towns and near ports. Both rats are adept swimmers but black rats are adept and will have no problem climbing and swimming through drainways to infiltrate properties. Black rats are smaller, have a pointed nose and long tails.
Step 2 – Sign of Rats in the Loft
As rats are nocturnal animals, it is often very difficult to spot them in broad daylight, let alone catch them. They do however, leave tracks to help us identify areas they have been. There are a few key clues to look out for.
- Rat droppings – when you go to inspect your loft, look out for rat droppings in the corners of the room and other dark places where rats may like to nest. Droppings resemble brown rice grains and can be found anywhere. Rats poop on the move, so it’s not uncommon for you to discover droppings all across your loft or attic.
- Noises in the loft – rats are most active at night and you may hear them scuttling around the loft or in the ceilings late at night.
- Gnawing – rats like to grind their teeth on woods and plastics, so be sure to look out for gnaw marks on sills and skirting boards in your loft. Rats are also able to chew through wires, so watch out for this.
- Smudge marks – rats are notoriously unhygienic creatures and pick up dirt as they travel through fields, sewers and pipelines. As they prefer to keep to the shadows and hug walls as they travel, it’s easy to spot smudge marks and smears along skirting boards. Look out for these marks both inside and outside of your attic or loft.
- Rat nests – slightly more difficult to look out for as rats usually bury their nests outside as they are less likely to be detected underground. However, it’s unheard of to find a nest in a domestic or commercial property, especially if the area is high up and out of reach from humans. Look out for garden debris, wood chippings and torn up carpet, as these are common materials used for nest building.
- Rat footprints – easy to spot in lofts, attics and high-up areas where dust has gathered and footprints can be easily seen.
Step 3 – Using Rat Traps in Lofts
Fortunately, there are a number of traps and deterrents you can use to eliminate the threat of rats and stop them from returning to your loft. The majority of all rat traps can be effective in trapping and killing rats, but what’s equally, if not more important is trap placement.
- Snap traps – the most common rat trap, snap traps are used to catch rats and kill them instantly. They work by luring the rat onto a pressure lever (usually baited by peanut butter or something sweet) and upon contact with the lever, it clamps shut, killing the rat.
Placement – be sure to place the snap trap at the suspected nest site or travel route of the rat. If your attic or loft is dark, place the trap somewhere safe so you don’t walk into it.
- Live traps – live traps spark a rats natural curiosity into exploring a trap that appears like a nesting location. The rat enters one way and is then trapped, as it cannot exist where it entered. These traps are great for humanely catching rats and relocating them after capture.
Placement – with no risk of children or pets becoming harmed, live traps can be placed anywhere in the loft. It’s a good idea to place it near the suspected nest site of the rat, or around locations where droppings have been sighted.
Any of the above should help you successfully identify, catch and safely remove rats from your loft. There are other traps, such as glue traps, but this trap in particular has been deemed somewhat ineffective due to the boards not being strong enough to detain the rat.
If you find that the function is growing larger or traps are failing to work, please contact our professional pest control team for further information.
Rats prefer attics and lofts because they suit their nesting requirements; dark, quiet and rarely disturbed. Infestations can happen swiftly if the area is not routinely used for inspection.
You should be able to hear scratching and scuttle across the floorboards of your loft. Sometimes, the rats may find their way into the walls and floorboards below the attic, as they are able to squeeze into very tight areas.
All rats are dangerous because they are natural harvesters of bacteria and disease. Rats can cause severe health problems to both pets and humans, especially if either are bitten or ingest rat faeces, urine or a droppings.
Yes, rats prefer to make nests in lofts because of the quieter surroundings and dark corners.