Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


Rats in the Attic

     The previous blog, RATS!......,talked about rats in the basement.  This time I will talk about Attics, where infiltration by rats and other vermin into the home is perhaps the most prevalent.  Often there is a network of trails visible in the insulation.  Sometimes the infestation is so bad that I have to call for the professional removal of the insulation.  Rodents can damage wiring hidden in the insulation and find there way into walls and the rest of the home.  In the picture below we can see the tell-tale "body-grease" on the plastic exhaust duct being used as a roadway into the attic from the roof vent.  The roof vent is missing its screen.  (The duct should also vent to the exterior at a roof vent cap with a back draft damper----subject of a future blog.)  rats in the attic

     Again, all openings into the attic must be eliminated to prevent re-infestation.  A very common point of entry is all along the gutters of the home.  If rats can get to the roof (from trees/bushes/ivy too close to the home or even along the electrical wires from the street) they can usually find a way into the attic along the gutters.  Proper eave flashings can eliminate this problem.  In the picture above the primarily entry point was at the roof vent with a missing screen.

Charles Buell


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Comment balloon 8 commentsCharles Buell • January 13 2008 12:52PM


So Charles, is there a problem if you seal the holes while the rats are INSIDE the house? Any thoughts on this?
Posted by Al Maxwell, Real Estate Agent (Keller Williams) over 12 years ago
Thanks Charles! I've seen those dirt trails along duct work and always wondered in the back of my mind what it was from.  Rat "body grease" doesn't sound appealing, but that makes complete sense.
Posted by Jen Hudson, Stanwood, Camano & Arlington, WA (Windermere Real Estate/M2, LLC) over 12 years ago
Al, thanks for visiting my blog, Rats are pretty tenacious and would most likely "eat" their way out.  They can usually make even the tinyest hole bigger.  Better to let the PCO "feed" and/or trap them:)
Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 12 years ago
Jen, once you know what they look like, you find them in places you wish that you didn't:)
Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 12 years ago
I had mice who decided to chew up a rope hammock I had stored in a shed.  They used it to make a nest.  The only problem was the built the nest in the engine of my riding lawn mower.  I'll leave the rest of the story to your imagination.  
Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 12 years ago


The problem I see with this blog you wrote is typical of your negative thinking. That is, it is written under the assumption that all rats are bad. Where is that coming from? Huh? How would this be changed, the tone of it, for example, if you were to assume that some rats are standup guys and gals.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 12 years ago

Had some racoons in the attic yesterday afternoon.  Could hear at least two of them rummaging aorund up there.  Didn't stick my head up.  I ain't fussing with them.


Racoon entry to attic by the Central Kentucky Home Inspector


One of the poor fellas had fallen into the house as the ceiling woudln't support them.

Racoon entrance into the house by the Central Kentucky Home Inspectors


Posted by Erby Crofutt, The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY (B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing ( over 12 years ago

Steve,  How long does a bag of dog food last for those rats of yours?

Erby, I think raccoons are scarier than rats.  One time I went in the crawl space and when I got far enough from the entryway the raccoon skedaddled out.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 12 years ago