How to Get Rid of Rats in Your Drains

Drainpipes offer a safe place to shelter for many animals, but the most common rodent taking residence in your drains are rats! It is thought that the majority of rat infestations start due to defective drains or pipes. After all, a rat only needs a small crack or hole to squeeze through before they make their home in your drainage system.

Getting rid of rats in drains and sewers involves a step-by-step process that includes locating and blocking the access point by using copper wool, installing a ratflap, and trapping.

Removing rats from your drain or sewer

Drains and sewers provide a convenient access point for rats to enter your property, and due to the presence of water and waste, it makes them difficult to detect. Drawn to your drain pipes by the smell of food remnants such as fat, oil, and grease and insoluble items such as wet wipes and sanitary goods, there are plentiful resources for rats to make a good home.

Once in your pipes, drains, and sewers, these rampant rodents cause no end of damage and can easily enter the walls of your property before running around your building or home and even popping up in your toilet!

A step by step guide to getting rid of rats in drains

It is important that when you hear or see rats in your drainpipes, that you act immediately. For where there is one rat there will be many more lurking around your property and within your pipes. Here we outline some simple steps for getting rid of rats in your drains.

Step 1: Locate the rats in your drain

You may have noticed that your gutters are blocked, your pipes have started to creak, and your water is flowing slower than usual. These are all warning signs that there is something sinister going on with your drainage system.

The most important step when ridding rats from your drains is to investigate how and where the rats are coming from. This can be as simple as looking for misshapen, cracked, twisted, or bent pipes; gaps in your brickwork surrounding gutters and drains; or listening out for scrapping and scuttling near sewers and within walls.

If you are struggling to find an access point, we would recommend calling a pest control or drainage company that can undertake a full CCTV drain inspection for you. This will allow you to understand everything that is going on underneath your home, the exact location of your infestation, and to see the severity of the problem you face.

Step 2: Blocking rats from further access

Once you have spotted the problem, it is important to get it fixed. This includes repairing any broken drains, patching up small holes in pipes using copper wool (see at Amazon), which is difficult for rats to chew through, and installing a rat flapĀ (a gate-like structure that provides a barrier to entry).

use a rat flap to stop rats from accessing drains
Stop rats from accessing drains by using a ratflap or non-return valve. Image credit:

Step 3: Preventing rats from entering the drain

Rats like to live in places where they are in close proximity to food, water, and shelter. By removing these sources, you leave your rodent foes no choice but to move elsewhere. Therefore, it is important that you think carefully about what you place down your plugholes and regularly maintains the areas around your sewers and drains.

Food debris, once cooled, not only smells enticing to small twitchy noses but will stick to the sides of your pipes and make a tasty snack for rats and mice.

Fibrous materials such as wet wipes, diapers, and sanitary products remain relatively intact when flushed away, leaving a ready-made nest for rodents to rest.

Shrubs and tree limbs provide the perfect hiding place and thirsty tree roots often aid rats in creating small cracks and entry holes in order to access pipes and drains.

Step 4: Catching rats in drains

If you want to catch rats within your drains, we strongly recommend that you use traps as opposed to poison. Although most rat poison can be used outside of the home, it is important to remember that they are highly toxic and can be harmful to other animals and wildlife.

If your infestation is small and you want to catch rats in a humane manner, then a live rat or mouse trap is the perfect solution providing you have the time to be relocating rats far away from your property. If you are happy to handle dead rodents, we would strongly advise either an electric trap or even an automatic gas rat trap as snap traps are not always as effective. For more information on which rat traps to set and purchase, please click here.

Next, you need to make sure that you pick an appetizing bait that attracts rats to it. We advise using something sticky as this makes it tricky to snatch and scamper. The longer the rat lingers, the more chance you get of catching it! Place your traps where you know rats run and for the first few days, try to resist setting them at all. This way you will build up the trust of the rat and it would take long before he puts his whole head in, in order to feast. You can also use a bait station to secure poison.

Step 5: Checking for dead rats in drains

It is important that you check your traps regularly once they are in full working order, as you don't want decomposing bodies left lying in your sewer for any great length of time. Rats are nocturnal by nature so are far more active at night. Check your traps in the morning but remember to wear protective gloves for removal and carry a zip-close plastic bag in order to seal and dispose of.

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Damaged and broken drains can give rats easy access to the main drainage systems, giving them a free run of your sewers and pipes. It is the stuff of nightmares and can be extremely distressing for property and business owners alike but can be easily prevented through regular maintenance of your drainage system. If, however, you are in the unfortunate position of spotting rats in your drains, then these simple steps above should enable you to eradicate them.