Rats, especially the brown rat species we have in Georgia, are scarily skilled at getting into houses. They can climb anything, squirm through the smallest cracks, and generally find ways to get inside your home, especially as the winter days start getting colder. So if you hear or see a rat (or their droppings) but can't figure out where they're coming from, here are a few of the most common entry points we have found:
1) Vents Throughout Your House
Vents connect outside air and indoor air. This is an important job. However, they also allow two things into the outdoors: Heat and the smells of cooking or food. Those will draw hungry rodents, which will then look for ways to chew open vents or find ways around them. All vents, from attic openings to bathroom vents, could be possible entry points for hungry pests. Once inside, they often make a beeline straight to pantries, cupboards, or other stores of food.
2) Near Pipes
Pipes need to go run the house, which means they must pass through walls. In many older Georgia homes that means a lot of holes awkwardly cut for plumbing and electrical lines' sake. Those holes are like highways for rats, which eat around the pipes to make the holes larger until they can climb through. Poorly sealed or insulated pipes are a very common entry point.
3) Cracks in the Foundation
The general rule says that rats need an opening of around 2 inches to get inside a home. We've seen a few entryways that seem to break this rule, though, so it's important to seal up any cracks in your crawlspaces or basement. Any openings here make it much easier for rats to get inside. Also pay close attention to areas where weather-stripping has worn thin or vents are broken – basically, seal any possible ground-level openings.
4) Poor Attic Insulation
Attics with casual insulation may not do much to seal openings where your house meets your roof. These openings are perfect little corner gaps for rat entry! Fortunately, these gaps are pretty easy to see on a clear day with a little searching. These can be easily fixed with a guaranteed sealing project, which can also help you save on heating bills!
5) ...And Yes, Toilets
Yes, it's not just an urban myth. Rats really can swim up your toilet. Fortunately, it's very rare!