The Hidden Dangers of House Rats: Protecting Your Home and Family

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House rats are unwelcome visitors to any household. They are damaging and destructive, creeping around and penetrating walls, electrical wiring, appliance lines, and insulations. On top of everything, these pests chew furniture items and urinate on things.

Aside from being an annoying and unpleasant sight, rats are dangerous and pose serious health concerns to humans and other household pets.

Globally, house mice and rats are known for spreading and transmitting around thirty-five illnesses, including leptospirosis, plague, salmonellosis, and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, through feces and urine. 

Have you seen rats around your home and are scared of what they can do not only to your house but you, your family, and your pets?

Don’t worry because in this blog post, we will cover the dangers you need to know about rats and give tips to get rid of them and prevent them from coming back.

Are House Rats Dirty?

Usually, house rats are pests that are often thought of and viewed by humans as unsanitary. After all, their fleshly tails and furry bodies look filthy. 

However, house rats are not the type of dirty sewer creatures we think of them. These beings take the time to clean and groom themselves. 

In fact, according to Jennifer Graham, rats groom themselves more thoroughly and frequently compared to cats.

Are House Rats Nocturnal?

House rats are well-known and recognized as nocturnal creatures. That means these little beasts are most likely awake and active during nighttime.

Research showcases that, in general, rats and mice do their playful activities around one and a half hours after the sun sets until one and a half hours before the sun rises.

During this time, rats are eager and ardent, looking for possible food sources and exploring their surroundings.

Usually, at nighttime, when everything’s quiet, rats are energetic and playful, looping around and engaging in different activities such as climbing on objects and chasing each other. But as the dawn comes near, these furry little beasts will go into a slumber for their much-needed shuteye.

How Big Are House Rats?

House rats are typically medium in size to large-body rodents. In general, the bodies of these little creatures are usually longer than five inches and have an average weight of 18 ounces or more. Brown house rats reach an overall length of 16 inches. 

Compared to black house rats, brown rats are much bigger and heavier, with an average weight of 0.5 to 1 pound. On the other hand, black rats have a full-length measure of thirteen to fifteen inches, including the tail, and weigh about 0.3 to 0.6 pounds.

There’s no strict or definite measure of how big a rat can get. Different factors are involved in determining their length and weight, such as age and sex. Overall, a rat’s species is the ultimate criterion in knowing how big or heavy these creatures can reach. 

Do House Rats Bite?

Generally, house rats won’t attack anyone or anything and prefer to avoid people and lounge around quiet and peaceful surroundings instead.

But when these animals are cornered or shocked, they will not hesitate to jump up and bite as a defense for themselves. House rats have large teeth and usually give painful bites when feeling threatened or scared.

How Dangerous Are Rats?

One of the main reasons house rats are unwelcome in households is that they are very dangerous to human health.

Around the globe, house mice and rats are well-known for spreading around thirty-five diseases infecting humans and household pets. Scratches and bites from rats can result in fevers and illnesses.

Most significantly, the urine of rats is mainly responsible for the harmful spread of leptospirosis, resulting in kidney and liver damage.

Leptospirosis can be contracted once a human inhales or handles the rat’s scat. In addition, serious complications, including cardiovascular problems and liver and renal failure, may arise, too.

What Diseases Do House Rats Carry?


The presence of rats in your household or place of business should raise the alarm and be a deep concern for you. The bigger the rat infestation gets, the more bacteria and pathogens will circulate in your home’s air. 

And it’s not just the air they can pollute; they can also spread diseases through urination and defecation on your home’s surfaces.

Besides leptospirosis, there are other dangerous diseases. Below is a list of several kinds of diseases that these house rats carry:

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

This disease is usually transmitted from direct contact with a rat’s bodily functions or a bite. The common symptoms of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome often include flu-like symptoms such as shortness of breath, fever, and fatigue. Initially, you might only feel under the weather, but once diagnosed, you may need to call an exterminator.

Rat-Bite Fever

As its name suggests, rat-bite fever results from scratches and bites. Its usual symptoms manifest in headaches, nausea, fever, and rash. Rat-bite fever only occurs from direct contact with a rodent, resulting in broken skin.


One can get salmonellosis from food or drinking water polluted by rat urine. This disease has symptoms of nausea, fever, and diarrhea.

Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis 

This disease occurs from direct contact with the house rat’s urine or saliva. More often than not, symptoms of this illness will last a long time, and one might end up having neurological damage. The symptoms could include nausea, aches, encephalitis, and meningitis.

How to Prevent House Rats from Entering the House?

The most effective way to avoid massive rat infestation is to keep them at bay in the first place and prevent their dramatic entry through different areas of your house.

Believe it or not, once these house rats begin to nest and settle inside the home, getting rid of them proves to be quite tricky and challenging.

So, here are three steps you can take efficiently to prevent house rats from entering your house for good.

Cover Up

House rats always want to find any possible points of entry into the home, like gaps, cracks, and holes. So, whenever possible, check your house for any openings and seal them with the proper materials.

Make use of plaster, steel wool, hardware cloth, and cement. If there’s space around your doors or windows, weather stripping can be effective for sealing it. Covering these entry points is effective for house rats or mice control.

Improve Sanitation

Rats have the reputation of being quite resourceful. They will always find a way to seek food resources around the household, so it’s best to diligently deal with them by improving sanitation. Seek to cover trash bins or garbage bags at all times. 

Also, eliminate all possible traces of food, like leftovers from your other pets. Pet food can attract house rats in the home. To keep these little beasts at bay, improve sanitation, clean, and minimize food sources and water. Rats will eventually leave if there is no food for them.

Make Use of Baits and Traps

Get rid of the existing populations of house rats by setting up baits and traps. Keep the traps and bait where pets and children cannot reach them. 

How to Get Rid of House Rats in Your Home Fast?


Nobody likes to live in a home with rats or mice. While they can be annoying and creepy, these creatures are dangerous to human health. Fortunately, below are tips to help you rat-proof your home.

Inspect the Whole Household

The rule of thumb dictates that before you can eliminate house rats, conduct a full-house inspection to locate possible hideouts and nests. Pay special attention to damaged cracks, appliance lines, drains, vents, and spaces for visible access points.

Use Natural Deterrent Methods

Natural deterrent methods prove to go a long way when eliminating all rats. Use home remedies like cloves, peppermint oil, black pepper, and cayenne pepper around the household’s exterior to prevent house rats from entering. 


Indeed, house rats are dangerous to our health and houses. They harbor illnesses, contaminate food sources, and cause damage and destruction around the home.

Luckily, the tips we have provided above, from covering gaps, cracks, and holes in your house to using natural deterrent methods like cloves, peppermint oil, black pepper, and cayenne pepper around the exterior of your home, can help you eliminate them and prevent them from infesting your home.

To learn more about rats in your home, read our article – “Can Clean Houses Get Rats?”