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Below are some photos of the types of damage rats can cause when they live in an attic of a house. If you need help with a rat infestation, click on this map of Professional Rat Removal Companies serving every town/city in the USA.
Here we've got a a photo of a chewed electrical wire, then insulation that has been pooped all over and trampled down and peed all over (probably needs to be replaced) and then a picture of foam that's been chewed off from around a pipe. Do Rats Destroy Insulation In An Attic?
Some of the worst damage can be in the form of rat waste - lots of feces and urine, which stinks up the insulation, and actually lures in new rats, and even rat predators, by the scent.
Some more chewed electrical wires. If the wires are touching wood, which happens quite commonly in attics, yes, it can start a fire. The fire hazard from chewed electrical wires is one of the biggest risks of having rodents in your attic. They just have to chew, to wear down their teeth, and they'll chew on anything - they seem to like wires for some reason.
Here's a general photo that I took in an attic - all kinds of damage from rats, and a pretty typical scene - brown smudges from rat grease, chewed wires, lots of poop, etc. Now that you know about the different types of damage rats can cause, the below links should help you:
Rat removal info - main rat removal information page.
How are rats getting in - this is what you need to read if you want to solve the problem.
How to trap a rat - you're going to have to trap a few as well, so you need to read this too.
How to get rid of rats - just another general guide.
Rat in building - general information on different parts of buildings rats get into.
Rat repellent - do repellents and rodent deterrents work?
Pest control for rats - why to never hire a regular pest control company to do rat work.
How to kill a rat - another guide, helping to humanely solve the problem.
Rat prevention - some tips to keep rats away, and lessen the number in the area.
Rats in the attic - a good guide to one of the most common problem areas with rats.
Photos of rat poop - for identification purposes.
How to Get Rid of Rats and a Nest in the Attic - a guide to removing nests in the attic.
How Do I Get Rats Out Of a Wall Cavity? - how to remove rats from wall cavities.
Noises Rats Make When They Live In Your House - how to identify common rat noises.
I will now address some of the more common questions that I receive about rats getting into a building:
Rat damage in the attic - most commonly to the insulation and wires, but if you've got PVC plumbing in the attic, they'll chew that as well, causing water leaks. They sometimes chew on the wood raftors too.
Rat damage in the basement - the usual, chewing on whatever you don't want them to chew on, from wires to plumbing to your personal goods. Plus all the rat feces they leave behind.
Rat damage in the car - in cars, rats chew on wires and hoses and can cause quite a bit of damage.
Rat damage in the garage - yes, they can get in your car, and all of your other goods in the garage. I've seen them chew on all matter of stuff, and wreck many goods.
Rat damage in the garden - they chew on crops, which is frustrating.
Rat damage in the kitchen - they chew on an contaminate food, and they also chew on stove and refrigerator lines.
Rat damage in the restaurant - same as above, and they can get your restaurant condemned by the health inspector.
Customer Rat Email: Hi - I spoke to a wildlife removal company on Monday about servicing a property. This is an old 1925 wooden bungalow that has been turned into a duplex rental property (2/1 in front and 1/1 in back). Tenants in front unit have been hearing scratching in the unfinished attic above them. Noise usually occurs between midnight and 3 am. They have also noticed some of the food chewed in the pantry, and the final straw was a water line behind the refrigerator that was chewed and caused a small flood. Based on everything we have read, it sounds like it is probably tree rats. Handyman has tried killing and/or catching them without any luck. Also, handyman can't see how they might be getting in. a wildlife removal company said he was going by the property on Monday and would get back to me. We discussed pricing and I asked him to go ahead and start the process of sealing up any access points and then set the traps. He called on Tuesday and I missed his call. I called back and left message. I called again today, Wednesday, and left another message, but have not heard back yet. Sorry to bother you, but just wondering if you are going to be able to address the issue for me. Could you please let me know one way or the other? We have some very concerned tenants and we really need to update them about what is happening w.r.t. this. Thank you - Cindi
My Response: What city do you live in? Did you call someone from my directory? It's important that you get this rat problem solved before they cause more damage. And perhaps you should have your electrical wires in the attic checked - they chew those too!