Preventing Rat Infestation


If you see rats in your neighborhood, contact Metro Call at 311 and they will contact the Department of Inspections, Permits & Licenses for an investigation.

If you reside in a single family residence, and have a rat problem, the Department of Inspections, Permits & Licenses may place rat bait at your property. 



Rats can be a serious problem for residents. The information provided here can help you identify, control, and eliminate them. These techniques can be used for the common house mouse too. Rats have a tremendous ability to adapt to their environment and quickly reproduce. Rats have been associated with jaundice, bubonic plague, and typhus and are responsible for more human illness and death than any other mammal. Rats can carry as many as 35 diseases that affect humans and livestock.

The Facts About Rats

  • There are an estimated 200 million rats in the United States– nearly one rat for every person!
  • One pair of rats could have 15,000 descendants in a year.
  • A rat can gain entrance through any hole larger than a half-inch in diameter.
  • A rat can gnaw through wood, plaster, plastic, lead pipe, aluminum, cinder block, porous concrete, adobe brick, metal conduit, soft rubber, cardboard, paper and cloth material.
  • When a rat gnaws or chews, it can exert a force of approximately 24,000 pounds per square inch.
  • A rat can fall 50 feet without serious injury.
  • A rat can jump 3 feet vertically and 4 feet horizontally from a flat surface and reach upwards of 18 inches.
  • Rats can tread water for three days and can swim in open water up to one half mile, against swift currents, through floor drains and toilet bowl traps.

(Source: Overland Park Kansas, Preventing Rat Infestation Manual.)

Signs that you may have a rat problem:

Chewed areas around doors, windows, utility lines and packaged goods, especially where food is kept.

Holes and fresh diggings around foundations, under floors, sidewalks, platforms and ditches.

Fresh droppings are a sure sign that you have a rat problem. Look behind objects, near walls, and in places seldom cleaned or disturbed.

Tracks in dusty places. If not visible, dust flour along suspected runways and observe for a few days.

When rats travel, they rub against walls to find their way. Look for darkened areas along walls next to pipes, beams and openings where rats are suspected.


  • Make sure outside faucets are turned off and are not leaking.
  • Control standing water.
  • Do not leave water dishes out for pets.
  • Check for leaking water pipes or faucets.
  • Remove any water standing in the basement.


  • Remove food scraps spilled around trash containers.
  • Do not dispose of garbage in boxes or paper bags or in cans without lids.
  • Dispose of food scraps and wrappers. Do not leave them out in the open in your home.
  • Do not leave food on the stove or on tables between meals.
  • Do not leave pet food out overnight, in or out of doors. Also, remove pet feces.


  • Do not allow trash to accumulate in yards and alleys.
  • Cut all high weeds, tall grass and unkempt bushes.
  • Do not store firewood against buildings.
  • Keep doors closed when not in use. Use a good spring and galvanized metal keeper to ensure that doors close and stay closed.
  • Close all holes in walls, foundations, floors, and around pipes with cement and sheet metal.
  • Get rid of unneeded items stored in basements, cellars, or attics.