How To Get Rid of Rats in Walls?

rats in walls
You can remove rats from your walls using a combination of traps, bait, blocking any holes that provide access, keeping your home and property clean, and removing sources of food and water.

Rats can be incredibly destructive. From burrowing through walls and chewing electrical wiring, and insulation to carrying diseases and fleas that pose a certain health risk to your loved ones and pets, the pests can be a nuisance.

Among the places they like to hide at home is in walls. You can reclaim your home by learning how to get rid of rats in the wall.

Signs You Have Rats in The Wall

Knowing if you have rodents in the wall might be challenging unless you see an alive or dead rat. Here are some telltale signs you have rats in the wall:

  • Scurrying or squeaking sounds
  • Soft footstep or running sounds at night
  • Gnawed on or chewed ducts
  • Disturbed insulation
  • Shredded paper nests or furniture stuffing
  • Rub marks akin to an accumulation of grease and dirt
  • Nibbled on wooden spoons, containers, or food packages
  • Piles of rat droppings on the ground, in the basement, or the area behind a stove

What Do Rats Sound Like in Walls?

Rats make scratching noises as they move around. You might also hear them squeaking or gnawing on something.

At night, you might hear soft footsteps or running sounds. With many rats, the noise might be loud enough to wake you up.

Is It Normal to Have Rats in The Walls?

Well, it depends. If you live in an urban area, chances are high that your neighbors have rats in their walls too. According to a recent study, 14.8 million households reported seeing rodents (rats or mice). 

Tampa is the most rat infested city in the country. So, if you’ve got rats in your walls, you’re certainly not alone.

close up of rats face

How Long Can Rats Live in The Walls?

Rats eat different food sources, so if there is food in your wall voids, they will likely move in and remain there for long. So how long do rats live in the walls? It depends on the food source.

If there is a consistent food source, rats can live in the walls for months or even years. Without the food source, they will eventually move on. But even if the rats are gone, the damage they’ve done can still be there.

Once they’re in, they can start gnawing on wires and insulation, creating fire hazards. Additionally, they deposit urine and feces everywhere they go, spreading disease.

How Long Does It Take a Rat to Chew Through a Wall?

Rats are known for their ability to chew not only through a wall but also piping, wires, insulation, floors, etc. They can inflict severe damage to the home.

Rats capable of chewing through a walls of soft drywall or plywood can do so from less than two hours to one week. A wooden wall doesn’t stop them for long. A thicker wooden wall might take them a couple of days or weeks.

Even the most determined and vigorous rat cannot chew through a hole in a ceramic, cured concrete, or brick wall. Here are some of the walls rats can chew and pass through:


Drywall is a common wall material in homes. It has compressed gypsum sandwiched between two layers of paper or fiberglass.

Drywall is easy for rats to chew and create holes in, allowing them access to your home.


Wood walls are common in today’s homes. Rats can easily chew through wood, creating a large hole to squeeze through.

Cinder Block

Cinder blocks are handy in basements and garages. While they are not as easy to chew through as drywall or wood, rats can still create small holes they can squeeze through.


Plaster walls are less common than drywall, but rats can still chew through them. Plaster is a combination of lime, sand, and water applied to walls and dries hard.

Rats can also squeeze through small cracks and openings in walls. Check for any damages or holes in your walls and have them repaired to keep rats out.


Plywood is handy as a temporary wall material with layers of wood glued together. Rats can easily chew through the plywood.


OSB, engineered wood with strands of wood glued together, is usually used as a subfloor or sheathing. Rats can chew through OSB.

Non-Cured Concrete

Often used in walls and foundations, non-cured concrete is wet concrete that has not yet hardened. The fact that it’s non-cured means it features more water than cement. It’s not strong enough yet—making it effortless for rats to chew.


Fiberglass or glass fiber is a reinforced plastic material that rats are known to chew through. They can chew through fiberglass wall panels or wall coverings.

Glass fiber is popular with rats as it offers them protection, comfort, and warmth from predators.

How Do You Get Rid of Rats in The Walls?

Have you established you have rats in your walls? You can do several things to eliminate them:


First, try to figure out how they are getting into your home. If you can find the entry point, seal it with steel wool or hardware cloth.


Setting traps remains a standard method for catching and getting rid of rats. Set out traps inside your home and check them regularly.


Alternatively, you can try baiting the rats with food and water outside your home to lure them away from your walls. It’s prudent to avoid poison bait traps because once a rodent dies and decomposes, the smell in the walls is unbearable.

If the rat infestation is severe, contact a pest control company or exterminator immediately.

rata trapped in a cage

How To Keep Rats Away from Your Wall?

Rats in the walls can cause a lot of damage to your home by chewing on electrical insulation and wires, which can lead to fires or other accidents.

Their urine and feces can also spread diseases to humans and pets. Keep rats away from your walls by doing the following:

Fill Gaps, Cracks, And Holes

Rats can squeeze through tiny spaces, so it’s essential to seal up any gaps, cracks, or holes that you see in your walls. You can use caulk, steel wool, or mesh to fill these openings.

Remove Sources of Food and Water

Rats get into your home in search of food and water. To keep them away, ensure you don’t have any food or water sources they can access.

Keep your food in airtight containers and fix any leaks that might be providing rats with a water source.

Cover Garbage Cans Always

Another way to remove food sources is always to cover your garbage cans. Rats rummage through garbage in food, so keeping them covered will help to keep rats away.

Get Rid of Clutter

Rats are into nesting in cluttered areas, so getting rid of clutter in your home can help to keep them away. Store items in airtight containers and effectively clean up floors and surfaces.

Trim Limbs, Shrubs, And Trees

Rats are climbers. They can climb trees and shrubs to get into your home, so trimming them back can help keep them away.

Remove Their Habitat

Rats will also build nests in areas that are dark and secluded. To remove their habitat, keep your home clean and free of clutter.

You can also seal gaps or holes that might give rats a place to nest.

Use Traps

If you have rats on your walls, you can use traps to catch and remove them.

You can use different rat traps, including electronics, glue, and snap traps. Be sure to choose one that is right for your situation.

Check Your Neighborhood

Suppose you have rats in your walls; likely, other homeowners in your neighborhood do as well. To prevent the problem from spreading, be sure to check your area for signs of rats and consult your neighbors to take action to get rid of the rat problem.

rat near a brick wall


Erika is a Denver, CO native. She graduated top of her class with a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Bioscience. She’s passionate about the protection of wildlife and humane management of varmints. On this blog, Erika shares in-depth tips on everything varmints from guides, and removal, to detection and prevention.

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