If you’ve heard any noises in your walls, you aren’t crazy – some animals can make their way inside them and build a nest. Even though it might seem like nothing could get inside them, walls are a favorite nesting spot for rats. But how in the world do they get in? Sometimes they can slip in cracks, but they can also create their own entry points as well. You’d be surprised by the strength of their jaws and teeth.
The Astonishing Jaws of Rats
As rodents, rats have teeth which are constantly growing. In fact, rat teeth grow about 1.4 mm per day. This means that they must constantly gnaw on materials to grind their teeth down, to prevent them from growing into their skulls. This makes almost any hard material in your house fair game as a rat-chewing object.
Not only are rats incessant gnawers and biters, they are extremely powerful for their small size. Though exact figures are hard to pin down, rats have an incredibly high bite pressure considering their size. Most people measure that rat bites exert more force per square inch than alligators and sharks.
10 Materials in Your Home Rats Can Chew Through
- Wood, like pantry cabinets, as they raid groceries, baseboards as they travel back and forth from a nest, furniture, wood beams in an attic, or the wood behind walls.
- Cardboard, including any boxes used for storage, like cereals, pasta, pet feed, paper goods, or sentimental items.
- Drywall inside and outside walls, attics, and ceilings.
- Plastics, including food storage containers in a pantry, water bottles, and liters of soda. Pet food stored in plastic tubs in a garage is also vulnerable.
- Aluminum, like in flashing, caps, under metal roofing, or aluminum siding. They may gnaw on soda cans, shopping bags, toothpaste containers, and many other daily products.
- Electrical wiring, such as the cords powering television, internet, lamps, and appliances. Older electrical wires may have aluminum.
- Soft concrete may include concrete walls, pavers, patio, or porch slabs. Posts around fences and gardens are usually set with smooth concrete.
- PVC piping, including the materials for HVAC ducts, plumbing, washing machines, dishwashers, and drainage systems.
- Brick for covering the outside of a home, driveway, or patio.
- Lead is found in the paint, toys, stained glass, dishware, and some jewelry in older homes.
The hardest materials a rat can chew through are wood, thick beams, and boards that provide structural support. They can also chew through soft brick and concrete that is not cured correctly. Rats may make a small crack in the brick-and-mortar surrounding your chimney into a big hole that causes bricks to fall apart, exposing your home’s interior. Cracks in concrete surfaces also make it easier for rats to chew larger openings.
4 Things in Your Home Rats Cannot Chew Through
- Steel, like sinks, ovens, refrigerators, steel beams, steel wiring in ductwork, and fencing.
- Iron to reinforce concrete and other structures. Some homes have iron sewer pipes, cisterns, or water piping. Some use it as a decorative material.
- Solid concrete, like many home foundations.
- Stones for building barriers around the foundation of a home or as exterior siding, veneered interior walls, and flooring.
How to Avoid Rat Infestations
The best way to keep rats out is by making sure that you eliminate any food sources around your home. Rats won’t fixate on your house just because they want to come in; most of the time rats move into a home it’s because they have found a consistent food source.
Another good way to keep rats out is by sealing any potential entry points around your house. Though rats can make a way inside if they really wanted to, they will generally take the path of least resistance such as holes or cracks in the exterior of your home. Make sure windows, doors, soffits, eaves, vents, and pipes are properly sealed, and you will have a better chance of avoiding a rat problem.
If a rat or two does make it in, it isn’t the end of the world. There are ways you can get these disgusting and problematic pests out. The best thing you can do when you first notice signs of rats in your home is to call Critter Control®, the leading animal control experts in the industry. Every rat infestation is different, but our years of experience has taught us how to pinpoint the problem and solve it efficiently and safely. Call us today for a free inspection at 305-258-3587.