If you hear scratching, scurrying, or squeaking sounds coming from inside your walls, you likely have rats or mice taking up residence in the empty spaces. Dealing with a rodent infestation can be frustrating and worrying, but there are steps you can take to remove the pests and prevent them from returning.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The sounds of rats or mice in walls usually indicate active rodent infestation. To get rid of them, inspect for entry points, set traps, use rodenticides, and seal up any holes.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the potential causes of rat sounds in walls, signs of an infestation, methods for removing rats humanely or with traps and poisons, tips for sealing up entry points, and steps for preventing future infestations.

What Does It Mean If I Hear Rats in My Walls?

If you hear rats in your walls, it is a clear indication that you may have a rodent infestation in your home. Rats are nocturnal creatures and are known for their scurrying and scratching noises, especially when they are nesting or searching for food.

While it can be unsettling to hear these sounds, it is important to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage to your property and potential health risks.

Rodent Infestation

A rodent infestation occurs when rats or mice invade your home and multiply rapidly. They are attracted to areas with a readily available food source, such as garbage cans or pet food left out overnight.

Rats can fit through small openings, as they can squeeze their bodies through holes the size of a quarter, while mice can enter through even smaller gaps. Once inside your walls, they create nests and tunnels, causing damage to insulation, electrical wiring, and structural components.

If you suspect a rodent infestation, it is essential to take immediate action to prevent further damage and potential health risks. Contacting a professional pest control company can help identify the extent of the infestation and develop an effective plan to eliminate the rodents from your home.

Entry Points

Rats can enter your home through various entry points, which may include gaps in doors or windows, cracks in the foundation, or openings around utility pipes. They are excellent climbers and can access your attic or upper floors by scaling trees or climbing up drainpipes.

It is crucial to inspect your home for any potential entry points and seal them off to prevent rats from entering.

Sealing off entry points should be done carefully to ensure that rats cannot chew through the barriers. Using materials such as steel wool, caulk, or wire mesh can help prevent rats from gaining access to your home.

It is also important to trim tree branches and shrubs away from your house to eliminate potential pathways for rats to enter.

Health Risks

Apart from the nuisance of the noises they create, rats in your walls can pose significant health risks. They can carry various diseases, including hantavirus, leptospirosis, and salmonella. Rats can contaminate food and surfaces with their urine, droppings, and hair, which can lead to the spread of harmful bacteria and parasites.

If you suspect that rats are present in your home, it is crucial to take precautions to protect yourself and your family. Avoid contact with rat droppings or urine, wear gloves when cleaning affected areas, and sanitize any surfaces that may have come into contact with rats or their excrement.

It is always recommended to seek professional assistance for rodent removal, as they have the knowledge and expertise to safely eliminate the infestation and prevent future occurrences. Additionally, they can provide guidance on preventive measures to keep your home rat-free.

Finding Signs of Rats

If you suspect that you have rats in your walls, it’s important to look for certain signs to confirm your suspicions. Rats are nocturnal creatures, so you may not see them during the day, but there are several clues they leave behind that can indicate their presence.


One of the most evident signs of rats is their droppings. These are small, cylindrical pellets that are typically dark in color. If you find droppings in your home, especially in areas such as the attic, basement, or near food sources, it is a strong indication that rats are present.

Rub Marks and Grease Stains

Rats have oily fur, and as they navigate through tight spaces, they often leave behind rub marks and grease stains. These marks can be found along walls, baseboards, and other surfaces that rats frequently travel along.

Look for dark smudges or stains that are easily visible, as they can indicate rat activity.


Rats are known to leave footprints, especially in dusty or muddy areas. If you notice small tracks with four toes in a row and a fifth toe slightly behind, it’s likely that rats are present. Tracking powder can be used to determine the frequency and location of rat activity.


Rats are skilled diggers and often create burrows in attics, crawl spaces, or outside near the foundation of a building. These burrows can be identified by the presence of holes or tunnels in the ground.

If you find any signs of burrowing, it’s a clear indication that rats have made their way into your property.

Chewing Damage

Rats have a constant need to gnaw on objects to keep their teeth sharp. Look for signs of chewed wires, wood, or plastic in your home. Rats can cause significant damage to electrical wiring, which can be a fire hazard. If you notice any chewed objects, it’s important to take immediate action.

Urine Stains

Rats mark their territory by urinating in specific areas. This can result in urine stains that are visible under UV light. If you suspect rat activity, you can use a black light to identify these stains and determine the extent of the infestation.

Remember, if you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to address the rat infestation promptly to prevent further damage and potential health risks. If you’re unsure about the presence of rats or need assistance in dealing with the issue, it’s best to consult a professional pest control service.

Removing Rats Humanely

When it comes to dealing with rats in your walls, it’s important to prioritize the safety and well-being of both the rats and yourself. There are several humane methods you can employ to remove rats from your walls without causing harm to these creatures. Here are a few effective strategies:

Live Traps

Live traps are a popular choice for those looking to remove rats from their walls humanely. These traps allow you to capture the rats without causing them any harm. It’s important to choose a trap that is specifically designed for rats, as this will ensure that they are not injured during the capture process.

Once the rat is captured, it’s essential to release it into a suitable environment far away from your home. This could be a nearby wooded area or an open field. By using live traps, you can safely relocate the rats without causing any harm to them.


Another humane method of removing rats from your walls is through exclusion. This involves identifying and sealing off any entry points that the rats may be using to access your home. By blocking these access points, you can prevent rats from entering your walls in the first place.

It’s important to thoroughly inspect the exterior of your home for any gaps or cracks that rats could use to gain entry. Common entry points include gaps around pipes, vents, and utility lines. By sealing off these areas with materials such as steel wool or caulk, you can effectively exclude rats from your walls.


Using repellents can also help in removing rats from your walls in a humane manner. There are several natural and non-toxic repellents available that rats find unpleasant and avoid. These include peppermint oil, ammonia, and predator urine.

Simply soak cotton balls or rags in these repellents and place them strategically near the areas where you suspect rats are active. The strong odors emitted by these repellents will deter the rats from staying in your walls and encourage them to find alternative shelter.

It’s worth mentioning that while repellents can be effective in deterring rats, they may not provide a long-term solution. It’s important to combine repellents with other methods such as exclusion to ensure that rats are completely removed from your walls.

Remember, when dealing with rats in your walls, it’s crucial to approach the situation with empathy and care. By using live traps, practicing exclusion, and utilizing repellents, you can safely and humanely remove rats from your walls and restore peace to your home.

Using Rodenticides to Kill Rats

If you’re dealing with a rat infestation in your home and can hear them scurrying around in the walls, using rodenticides can be an effective solution. Rodenticides are chemical substances specifically designed to kill rodents, including rats and mice.

They come in different forms and can be used in various ways to target and eliminate these pests.

Types of Rodenticides

There are several types of rodenticides available on the market, each with its own specific mode of action. The most common types include:

  • Anticoagulant rodenticides: These are the most widely used rodenticides and work by interfering with the blood’s ability to clot. This leads to internal bleeding and eventual death of the rat.
  • Acute toxic rodenticides: These rodenticides work by causing immediate poisoning in rats, leading to rapid death. They typically contain highly toxic substances such as zinc phosphide or bromethalin.
  • Cholecalciferol rodenticides: Cholecalciferol, also known as vitamin D3, is toxic to rats in high doses. These rodenticides contain elevated levels of cholecalciferol, which cause the rats to suffer from hypercalcemia and ultimately die.

It is important to note that rodenticides are toxic substances and should be used with caution. Always read and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure safe and effective use.

Bait Stations

When using rodenticides, it is essential to employ bait stations. Bait stations are specially designed containers that hold the rodenticide safely and securely. They prevent access to the bait by children, pets, and other non-target animals, while still allowing rats to enter and consume the poison.

Bait stations come in different shapes and sizes, but all function in a similar manner. They typically have small openings that only rats can fit through, protecting the bait from being accidentally ingested by unintended targets.

Safety Precautions

When using rodenticides, safety precautions should be taken to protect both humans and the environment. Here are some important guidelines to follow:

  1. Always wear gloves and avoid direct contact with the rodenticide.
  2. Place bait stations in areas where rats are likely to frequent, such as along walls or near entry points.
  3. Keep bait stations out of reach of children and pets.
  4. Regularly check and refill bait stations until the infestation is under control.
  5. Dispose of empty bait containers and any unused rodenticide properly, following local regulations.

Remember, while rodenticides can be effective in eliminating rat infestations, it is crucial to use them responsibly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re unsure about the best course of action, it’s always wise to consult with a pest control professional who can provide expert advice and assistance.

Sealing Up Entry Points

If you can hear rats in your walls, it’s important to address the issue promptly to prevent further infestation. One of the most effective ways to keep rats out of your home is by sealing up their entry points.

Rats can squeeze through small openings, so it’s crucial to identify and seal any potential access points.

Cracks and Holes

Inspect your walls for cracks and holes, as these are common entry points for rats. Pay close attention to areas where pipes or cables enter your home, as rats can easily squeeze through even the tiniest gaps.

Use a sealant or caulk to fill in any cracks or holes you find, making sure to cover them completely. This will help prevent rats from gaining access to your walls.

Around Pipes

Pipes are another common entry point for rats. Inspect the areas around pipes, both inside and outside your home. Rats can easily crawl through gaps in the walls or floors where pipes pass through. Use steel wool or wire mesh to block these openings and make it difficult for rats to enter your home.

Remember, rats can chew through materials like wood and plastic, so it’s important to use a sturdy barrier.


Vents, such as those for your HVAC system or dryer, can also be entry points for rats. Inspect these vents and make sure they are properly sealed. Consider installing mesh screens over the vents to prevent rats from getting in while still allowing proper airflow.

Keeping these vents secure will help keep rats out of your walls.

Doors and Windows

Don’t forget to check your doors and windows for any gaps or openings. Rats can easily slip through small cracks or damaged weatherstripping. Replace worn-out weatherstripping and use door sweeps to seal gaps at the bottom of doors.

Install window screens and repair any damaged screens to keep rats from entering your home through these openings.

By sealing up entry points, you can greatly reduce the chances of rats getting into your walls. However, if you suspect a rat infestation or are unable to locate and seal all entry points, it’s best to seek professional help.

Pest control experts have the knowledge and tools to effectively eliminate rats from your home and prevent future infestations.

Preventing Future Infestations

Dealing with a rat infestation can be a frustrating and unpleasant experience. Once you have successfully eradicated the rats from your walls, it’s important to take steps to prevent future infestations.

By addressing key areas such as sanitation, landscaping, and regular inspections, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of rats returning to your home.


One of the most effective ways to prevent rats from infesting your walls is to maintain a clean and sanitary environment. Rats are attracted to sources of food and waste, so it’s crucial to eliminate any potential food sources and keep your home clean. Here are some tips to improve sanitation:

  • Store food in airtight containers
  • Dispose of garbage regularly
  • Clean up spills and crumbs promptly
  • Seal any gaps or cracks in your home where rats can enter
  • Keep pet food stored properly

By implementing these sanitation measures, you’ll make your home less appealing to rats and decrease the chances of them returning.


Believe it or not, your landscaping can play a role in attracting or deterring rats. Rats are skilled climbers and can use overgrown vegetation or trees as a means of gaining access to your home. Here are some landscaping tips to help prevent rat infestations:

  • Trim back trees and shrubs that are close to your home
  • Remove piles of debris or wood that can serve as hiding spots for rats
  • Keep your yard clean and well-maintained
  • Avoid overwatering your lawn, as rats are attracted to areas with abundant water sources

By maintaining a well-groomed yard, you can minimize the chances of rats making their way into your walls.

Regular Inspections

Regular inspections are essential for detecting and addressing any potential entry points for rats. Conducting routine checks of your home’s exterior can help you identify and seal off any openings that rats can exploit. Here are some areas to focus on during inspections:

  • Check for gaps or cracks in your foundation
  • Inspect vents, pipes, and chimneys for openings
  • Ensure that doors and windows are properly sealed
  • Examine your attic and crawl spaces for signs of rodent activity

If you notice any potential entry points, it’s important to seal them off promptly to prevent rats from entering your home.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to rat infestations. By implementing proper sanitation practices, maintaining your landscaping, and conducting regular inspections, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of rats returning to your walls.


If you hear rats scratching and scurrying within your walls, it likely signals an active rodent infestation in need of removal. With diligent trapping, poisoning, and sealing up of entry holes, you can get rid of the rats and prevent them from returning.

Implementing prevention measures like sanitation, landscaping barriers, and regular inspections will also help deter rodents long-term. With a proactive approach, you can effectively eliminate rats from your walls and protect your home.

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