Rats in the Attic? Here’s How I Gently Moved Them On … for Good!

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3 min read

One fateful night this spring, my partner and I woke with a start. Someone was scampering right above our bedroom ceiling … and they had tiny feet! As the scurrying continued, we realized that a rat had made our attic crawlspace their home. Rats sleep during the day and spend their nights seeking food, playing, and gathering resources, which, as you might imagine, isn’t compatible with our schedule.

Instead of reaching for cruel glue traps or poison or calling a “pest control” company, we were determined to address the root cause of the problem and figure out how this little guy was entering our attic in the first place. We got to work and set up two Ring cameras to get full video coverage of the attic. Pretty quickly, we had video of Mr. Rat’s comings and goings at our fingertips.

Thanks to the cameras, we were able to identify our visitor’s point of entry: a hole in the roof under some tiles. We quickly sealed up this exit during the day and set humane catch-and-release traps stocked with peanut butter and avocado in the hope of catching and relocating Mr. Rat. Much to our surprise, he ignored the feast. He also didn’t seem at all bothered that the hole had been plugged. Clearly, he had another way in, and the next time he appeared on our Ring cameras, he’d brought some friends along—and they were all “joy jumping,” a behavior also known as freudensprung.

Before long, we learned that Mr. Rat stuck to a very regular schedule—leaving the attic at sundown, coming and going all night long, and returning at sunrise to sleep.

With that timetable in mind, we put one of our cameras up on the roof and waited for the sun to set. Like clockwork, he popped up on the roof. We quickly plugged this second hole, and off he went to find another place to call home.

With only a couple of roof patches and some motion-sensing cameras, our problem was solved and we were sleeping soundly once again. Best of all, we did all of this without hurting anybody!


The Problem With ‘Pest Control’ Products

Some people don’t realize that typical “pest control” products—poisons, snap traps, and glue traps—do nothing to deter rats or prevent them from entering buildings, so they don’t solve the problem. The companies that make these products aren’t interested in effective, long-term solutions. They make their money from consumers who have a persistent rat problem and repeatedly buy these cruel and ineffective items.

And “pest control” companies charge an arm and a leg to plug holes all around your house and may not even solve the problem. But identifying how rats are getting in allows you to actually fix the problem.

It’s always worth it to spend a little extra time getting to the root of the problem so that you can avoid inflicting suffering on gentle animals again and again.

What Can I Do About Rats in My Attic?

Every space is different, but this strategy can be adapted using the following basic tools:

  • At least one motion-sensing camera
  • One humane rodent trap
  • Tasty treats, like peanut butter
  • Creativity and patience

If you rent, implement your own solution before calling management. You’ll find compassionate solutions and advice on advocating for them here.

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