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How to Locate a Dead Rat

Richard Toole

It can be very upsetting to be a homeowner when he discovers rats in his house. Not only do these rodents leave droppings everywhere, they carry diseases that can be harmful or even fatal to humans and house pets.

Some rats may look cute, but they can be deadly to you and your family.

There are several methods you can use to kill rats, such as standard kill traps, live traps and even poison. If you do use poison, you run the risk of a rat dying inside a wall or ceiling, which can be very difficult to find.

  1. Look in any area in which you placed rat poison. The rat may still be close to the poisoned bait, so check these areas first.

  2. Check areas in the kitchen for droppings. Droppings are an indication of consistent rat activity, and the rats are likely to die in areas in which they spend a lot of time. The kitchen is always a good place to look because rats will always search for food once they are inside your home. Check your pantry, and around any shelves holding food. Look around any bags of pet food, as rats will gnaw their way into the bags.

  3. Use your nose. The best tool you have to locate a dead rat is your sense of smell. There isn't really a high-tech way of finding the dead rodent; you simply must put your face against a wall and inhale through your nose. If you smell nothing, move several feet down the wall, and sniff the area. Continue smelling the entire wall before you move to another area.

  4. Get a ladder and use your nose to check the ceiling. If you think you've located the room in which the rat has died, don't forget to smell the ceiling. There are plenty of gaps and spaces in between the ceiling and the room or roof above it, and the rat may be located there. Smell one area of the ceiling, then move the ladder several feet and check that area as well.

  5. Cut a hole in the wall or ceiling. Once you've narrowed down an area that contains the dead rat's location, you must find and remove the body. Make a shallow rectangular cut into the drywall with a handsaw. Be careful to cut only about an inch into the wall or ceiling so you do not hit any electrical wiring or insulation. Shine a flashlight into the hole and look for the rat. Put on some rubber gloves and remove the dead rodent. Place the rat into a plastic bag and dispose of the body.