How to Rid Your Home of Roof Rats

Updated February 21, 2017

You hear scurrying sounds in your attic after you have retired to bed, and you wonder what creature has taken up residence in the upper part of your home. While many different rodents can gain entrance to the attic of a house or building, many times the unwelcome visitors are roof rats. These rodents not only can keep homeowners awake at night, they also cause property damage and are known to carry and spread diseases that can be harmful or fatal to humans. Elimination of these rodents is legal, yet it will take a methodical and consistent approach to realise success.

Eliminate all possible food sources for the rats. Tightly cover all garbage cans, and do not leave pet food outside when your pets are not eating. Store bulk foods, such as animal food, in tightly sealed containers. Pick up any fallen fruit or nuts from trees on your property. Harvest citrus crops in a timely manner, and get rid of any unwanted fruit immediately.

Trim all tree branches to a distance of at least 3 feet from your roof. Severely prune any heavy shrubbery, vines or ground cover that exists on the property. All of these afford protection for roof rats.

Locate all possible entry points to your home. Inspect the eaves, roof and attic for open areas that will allow the roof rats to enter. Make the necessary repairs or alterations to prevent the rodents from gaining entrance. For instance, repair or replace any rotting boards.

Place 12 to 20 large rat snap traps in the attic and garage rafters of your home. If you have items stacked and stored in your attic, place traps on top of the items. Bait the traps with peanut butter, nutmeats, raisins, prunes or gumdrops.


Consistently set traps and bait them until there are no more signs of roof rats.


If you choose to use live trapping methods, destroy the rats humanely. Releasing the rats elsewhere will only cause a problem for someone else.

Things You'll Need

  • Tight-sealing containers
  • Chainsaw
  • Hedge trimmers
  • Pruning tool
  • 2-by-4 inch boards
  • 12 to 20 large rat snap traps
  • Rat bait (peanut butter, raisins, gumdrops)
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About the Author

Based in Texas, Cynthia Measom has been writing various parenting, business and finance and education articles since 2011. Her articles have appeared on websites such as The Bump and Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.