Madison County, Huntsville Rat Control Situation:
Hi David, I found your website online -- very informative for removing rats and squirrels from attics. My problem is the animal(s), which I'm guessing are rats or mice because they only scratch at night, is in the ceiling, but there is no attic or crawl space. The structure is a two story condo and the scratching sound is in the same location for the past 2 - 3 nights: in the ceiling of the small landing between the two upstairs bedrooms. There is a recessed light in that ceiling, and removing the light cover does provide a small access into the ceiling. The actual hole is about 6 - 7" wide, but there is an old-style light can in the hole, which only has a few small openings in it. Last year prior to painting the ceiling we removed the light cover and down came some animal droppings. Even though we weren't hearing any animal noises at that time, we set two Victor mouse traps which we were able to fit inside the small openings. We didn't catch anything so eventually, we just put the light cover back on. Now, there is very active scratching in the ceiling a few inches from the light so there is definately something alive in there. If it's a mouse, we can probably set a trap like we did before and I believe there is enough of an opening to remove the trap with a mouse in it. If it's a larger critter like a rat, we may or may not be able to set the larger trap and/or remove the trap with the dead animal because the opening may be too small. Even if we are successful at trapping and removing the animal, there is little access to remove the droppings or see if they've done any damage in there. Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Nicole in Huntsville AL
Between floors is hard. If you can get a trap inside, great. You still need to Inspect the house and find out how the rodents are getting inside and seal up every single last entry/exit hole and gap with steel.
Huntsville Rat Control Tip of The Week
How Likely Is It That A Rat In The Attic Will Have A Nest Of Babies?
Rats are among the most common pest animal species that people may have to deal with around the home, and because they are quite small they can often be quite elusive little animals to deal with as well. They are quite good climbers when it comes to moving around a domestic property, so if you are worried about rats, they won?t necessarily be around ground level. Because the attic or roof space of most domestic properties is rarely used, it can often be the dark quiet place where rats can get a foothold and build a nest without being noticed by the people living beneath.
Do Rats Have A Mating Season?
Like most wild animals, rats in the wild do have a mating season, where they will normally copulate and impregnate female rats in the spring, and then the female will then give birth a few weeks later, and can then have a few litters over the summer. However, the reason for the mating season is that in rural areas there are limited food sources available during the winter months, so it is impractical for rats to mate during these months. However, over recent decades, a growing number of rats are actually giving birth throughout the year because food sources are also present throughout the year, so whatever time of the year you discover rats in the attic, you may find there are babies there too.
How Often Will Rats Give Birth?
Because of how quickly rats can go from mating to giving birth to a litter of baby rats, a female rat can often be back and ready to mate again within a few weeks from giving birth. This means that in some cases female rats can give birth to up to ten litters a year, so the population of rats from one breeding female can increase very quickly. It is also worth noting that a baby female will actually become sexually mature herself after around six weeks from birth, so the possibility for a rat population to expand very quickly where there is sufficient food is certainly there.
Dealing With Rats In The Attic
When it comes to dealing with a rat infestation, the first step is to identify where in the attic the rats are active, and while taking the appropriate precautions, look for areas where there is a buildup of rat droppings. You should then place several rat traps in these areas of the attic, along with a small amount of food as bait, and the next step is simply to watch and wait. You should remove any rat carcasses as they are caught in your traps, and then re-lay the trap with a new serving of bait, and you should then continue this process until you no longer see any signs of fresh rat activity, and when you are no longer catching any more rats. You will then need to carry out the appropriate repairs.
What To Do With A Nest Of Baby Rats
In some cases you may actually find a nest of baby rats in the attic, and if they are very young they will often be unable to look after themselves, and will ultimately die if they have to live without the support and feeding from their mother. Because of how common they are, baby rats are rarely suitable to be looked after by a wildlife rehabilitator, so in this case the most humane thing that you can do will be to kill those baby rats as humanely as possible.