Home » What Causes Rats To Come in Your House? [17 Things That Attract Rats]
why do rats come in the house?

What Causes Rats To Come in Your House? [17 Things That Attract Rats]

Rats are known to target dirty and unkempt spaces, where food, water, and warmth are plentiful.

That can make it confusing if you have a clean home, but rats can still be drawn to these homes. Rats are opportunistic pests, and it doesn’t take much to attract their unwelcome attention.

Rats may come to your home if there’s access to foods, such as cereals, meats, fruits, nuts, or berries.

Heat sources like gaming systems, ovens, and central heating draw them in as they’re a source of warmth and comfort. Papers, clutter, insulation, and houseplants make attractive nest-building materials.

Electrical wires are fun to chew, easy to make into nesting materials, and warm to rest in. Unsecured garbage cans and outdoor plants that are overgrown are all enticing.

Why Do Rats Come in the House?

Rats are hardwired to seek creature comforts. So, they’re always on the lookout for food, water, and shelter. They need to find warm areas to set up nests, birth their pups, and raise them safely.

Rats are naturally attracted to human settlements, which allow them to enjoy the warmth and comfort that’s lacking outdoors, especially during the winter.

What Attracts Rats To Your House?

Rats are attracted to many things, but specific factors can be found in any home that can attract rats. If you have a rat infestation, identifying these factors can enable you to eradicate these pests.

1/ Poor Hygiene

You need to assess the standard of hygiene of your home. Rats are drawn to environments that are dirty and unkempt. Rats are more likely to enter if your property is littered with food wrappings, empty cans, and other household trash.

Proper garbage disposal and regular cleaning will discourage rats from nesting in your home. When cleaning, wipe kitchen counter surfaces to remove food crumbs that may be luring these pests in.

2/ Easy Access

Rats are also likely to enter your home if the structural integrity has been compromised. If you have holes and crevices on your walls, for instance, it is easy for rats to squeeze through these openings and gain entry into your home.

One way you can remedy this is by sealing all holes and cracks in your walls, roof, and ceiling. Use rat-resistant materials, such as solid concrete or steel wool.

Alternatively, smear a homemade rat-repellent in rat holes and openings, such as peppermint oil or citronella. The strong smell from these natural extracts will discourage rats from nesting in your home.

3/ Water Sources

Faulty plumbing and broken water pipes can attract rats to your home since they are a reliable water supply. Repairing your worn-out and leaky pipes will not only make them more resilient against rats. It will also cut off their source of water.

If you keep pets such as dogs or cats, you should also remember to keep their water bowls away during the night. This will deny them an alternative water source, thus forcing them to look elsewhere.

Pet Water Bowls

The presence of pet water bowls in your home may attract rats. It guarantees an adequate water supply. Put your dog’s bowl away at night to discourage rats that may be on the prowl for sources of water.

4/ Presence of Trees and Bushes

Trees and bushes are attractive to rats because they provide secure spots to hide from predators. It’s not uncommon for rats to build nests on top of trees and inside bushes.

Furthermore, tree overgrowths extending over your roof provide a platform to access the roof or attic of your home. To mitigate this, you should ensure that the trees and bushes in your yard are regularly trimmed.

why do rats appear in houses?

5/ Poorly Stored Food

As highlighted, rats are drawn to people’s homes primarily for food, shelter, and water. If you have food lying around unattended in your kitchen, rats can pick up the smell and sneak into your home to have their fill.

Ensure all your meats are wrapped properly and refrigerated. If you have any seeds and cereals in your pantry, store them in glass jars. Seal them tightly with lids to prevent access.


Rats love cereals because they’re high in fiber. Rats can hold onto pieces while nibbling on them and feast on a large quantity before getting full. Even if you disturb a rat, it can get several grains to store and eat later.

If you keep foods such as oats and corn in your pantry, you need to ensure they’re stored in glass containers. Guarantee that they’re sealed properly to prevent rats from accessing them.


Rats will eat any food, but they rely on fruits, vegetables, and berries in the wild. However, rats are omnivores, meaning they can consume animal protein as well. Protein-rich foods are great for their health, filling, tasty, and aromatic.

Red meat, chicken, and fish will be enticing to rats. They can pick up on the smell easily. As such, it is wise to always keep your meats refrigerated so that rats cannot contaminate them.

Fruits And Berries

Rats love sweet treats such as fruits and berries, and they often forage for them in the wild. If you have these in your house, rats are likely to come around your property in search of them.

Worse yet, fruits and berries often have powerful smells, which rats can detect from several yards away. Leaving fruit out on the counter, especially if it’s over-ripe, can easily draw rats in from outside.


According to Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals, rats usually consume food depending on their energy requirements. For most wild rats, nuts are an essential part of their diet. They supply a high amount of energy needed to seek out shelter and other sources of food. Some nuts that rats love include:

  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts

If you leave these lying around your kitchen or on the floor, rats are sure to come. Since rodents love nuts so much, many homeowners use them for bait when setting rat traps.

Pet Food

Rats can eat anything, as long as it is made of plant or animal material. Pet food is no exception. Leaving your pet’s food in the open overnight provides a convenient food source.

To deter rats from eating this, make sure you keep any leftovers away during the night. Additionally, store your pet’s food in containers that rats cannot chew through.


Rats eat various types of birdseed. The small seeds and larger grains are nutritious, easy to chew, and simple to hide. Any birdseed that’s scattered around your home may attract rats to your property. If you own a bird that regularly flings seed out of its bowl, you should vacuum the mess up regularly.

6/ Clothing

Rats love cluttered areas since they guarantee safety from predators, such as cats and dogs. If you have a pile of clothes lying around, it is easy for a rat to hide there for a long time without being detected.

7/ Heat Sources

Rats need a warm environment to build nests and bring up their offspring. Since people’s homes have heating systems, rats are drawn to them. They can also find heat sources against:

  • Small electric heaters
  • Gaming systems
  • Computers
  • Appliances like washers and dryers
  • Refrigerators
  • Dishwashers

Even the underside of your warm oven can be a great hiding place for rats. In the winter, rats will often enter people’s homes to shelter from the cold weather.

8/ Paper And Books

Any materials made from paper are fodder for rats. They can chew through it easily with their long, sharp teeth. Paper fiber can be a source of food, fun to play with, and useful for nest-building. Storing books and other paper materials in lidded boxes can protect them from being damaged by rats.

9/ Leaking Pipes and Faucets

Faucets and leaking pipes in homes are enticing to rats. They offer a constant supply of water. Consequently, repairing pipes and hoses cuts this water supply and discourages rats from nesting in your home.

10/ Indoor Plants and other Vegetation

Since rats feed on many things, including seeds and flowers, having indoor plants in your home can draw attention from these rodents. They not only consume these plants for food but also use them for nesting material.

11/ Outdoor Plant Overgrowths

Rats dislike open spaces where predators can easily spot them. Instead, they like to build nests in overgrowths since they serve as protection from predators. By failing to trim down and groom your yard, you might be unwittingly giving rats a safe hiding spot.

why am I getting rats in my house?

12/ Clutter

Cluttered areas are attractive to rats because they allow them to hide from predators, such as cats and ferrets. Furthermore, clutter provides material for building nests.

You should pick up clothing, tidy up the paper, take out the trash, and rearrange storage boxes. You can also check over storage areas regularly to break up nests and disturb any rats sniffing around.

13/ Pet Waste

According to the Institute of Environmental Toxicology, rats are among a species of rodents that practice coprophagy. This translates to eating feces, both their own and poop belonging to other creatures. If you keep a pet, its digestive waste may be a source of extra nutrition for rats, thus luring them to your property.

14/ Unsecured Garbage Cans

Leaving your garbage can unsecured can attract rats. They will easily pick up on the smell of food waste. To prevent this, you need to ensure your garbage cans are emptied regularly and sealed tightly with a lid.

15/ Insulation

Insulation composed of materials such as foam boards and fiberglass is attractive to rats. They may have edible fibers and also conduct warmth, making them a prime nesting spot.

Rats will often burrow through the insulation of the home’s walls and attic to build their nests. These tunnels can also be a great place to rest, store food, and travel along to create foraging paths.

16/ Cracks and Crevices on Walls

Homes that have holes and cracks on the walls are particularly tempting for rats. They offer easy access. This is why sealing all entry points is important when it comes to preventing rat infestations.

17/ Electrical Wires

Rats are attracted to electrical wires. They are round and easy for rats to grasp when chewing. Rodents mainly chew wires to grind down their teeth. They also use bits and pieces of chewed-up wires to build their nests.

If the rats aren’t chewing, they may still hunker down around electrical wire conduits since they provide a secure place to hide from predators.

Keeping your home tidy and getting rid of clutter reduces potential nesting areas for rats. It also denies them materials that they would otherwise use for nest building.