Rats: Are They Coming For You?

The head of a gray Dumbo rat on a white background, she sits in a clay plate and looks out, putting her front paws on the edge.

If you’ve seen the movie Willard, you know the disastrous results that come from trying to raise your own private rat army to take vengeance on your enemies. Despite this cautionary tale, every year we see one or two failed attempts, and when it all inevitably falls apart, the rats have to go somewhere. Here are a few tips to keep them off your property.

Rats can enter your house through holes in wood, brick, pipe—even the venting for your clothes dryer. Once inside, they’ll roam around the infrastructure, chew through wood cabinets and help themselves to food in cardboard containers. Store grain products in glass or metal containers. Potatoes and onions are also safest kept in the refrigerator or in metal or glass containers.

Outside, rats can nest in brush and compost piles and can burrow into wood piles that are on the ground. Storing wood in a box can take away potential shelter.

Bird feeders are another attraction for rats and other pests; same with any pet food you leave outside, and even any pet waste you leave in your yard. If you clean up after your pets and put your trash out for pickup in a sealed container, you can remove some food sources.

Remember: All it takes is one super-intelligent, charismatic rat to get the ball rolling. Don’t give in!