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Rats may live and have baby nests inside your wall, they might just use the wires and pipes in your walls as a personal highway system to get in and out of the attic, or one or more rats could get accidently stuck inside a wall, and die there of starvation. I’ve dealt with all three of these scenarios, and they’re all equally maddening for the owners of that wall.
If you’re hearing scratching noises from inside your wall, you should take immediate action. If you’ve already determined that rats or mice are the ones causing all the noise – which is usually the case, but you could also be dealing with squirrels, raccoons or opossums – you first need to figure out where’s the entry hole they use to get in. The same method you would use to get rid of rats from your attic applies to scratching sounds in the wall, or to rats going up and down wires and pipes inside the wall. All entry and exit points around the house need to be seal shut, and then you need to proceed with trapping the rat(s). I always recommend dealing with rats with the help of lethal snap traps, but you can’t really set these traps inside the wall. Traps will need to be installed in the attic or wherever else in your home you see rat signs and rat paths. Once the rats are trapped and disposed of, decontamination will be necessary so that new rats or other animals won’t be attracted by the lasting rat waste and rat grease odors.
A rat falling down the wall and getting stuck there is no joking matter. If not removed, the rat will die and start rotting in your wall. As you can imagine, this will create a terrible smell. And even if you’re willing to suffer through the time it takes for a rat carcass to decompose, remember, where there’s rat, more rats will come, if they’re not already there. Oh, and that terrible smell I’ve just mentioned? Other hungry rats might think, ‘I want to go to there.’ And more rats get stuck in the wall.
If the rat is already dead and smelly, there’s no other sane option than to remove its corpse. This will probably have to be done by drilling a whole in the drywall where the carcass lies. It’s very difficult for the untrained nose to be able to make out the exact place from where the smell comes, and if you can’t figure it out, I recommend that you contact an experienced pest removal professional that will be able to quickly locate the exact spot that needs drilling. On the off chance that you have access to the spot from the attic, and you can reach the carcass, you can try and get it out with snare pole.
If the rat is stuck inside the wall and still living, you have the same two options. If the architecture permits, which is not very likely, catch the rat from up in the attic by capturing it with a snare pole, or by lowering a rope for the rat to climb on. If that is not an option, you need to locate the place where the rat is stuck, and cut a hole directly through the wall. You can then either pick the rat up with a towel or protective gloves, or you can set a trap right there, and wait for the rat to come out directly into the trap. The final steps entail disposal and cleanup. For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does rat removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of rats - my main rat removal info guide.
Example rat trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Rat job blog - learn from great examples of rat jobs I've done.