Rats do not hibernate. In fact, they are quite active during winter. Hibernation is a method for many animals, from bears to bats, to survive the cold weather of winter. Without needing to migrate to warmer temperatures or trying to find food in difficult cold conditions, hibernating animals have evolved to be able to dial down their metabolism in order to survive winter.

How Do Rats Survive Through the Winter

Rats need a warm environment with easy access to food and water to survive through the winter months. By the time snow starts to fall in the northern part of the country, if rats haven’t found a place to winter over, they will begin to die.

Because rats are ill-equipped for winter, they head for the warmth of manmade spaces. In residential areas, they build nests in your attic, chimney, walls, and basements. In more rural areas, barns and sheds are popular places for rat nests. They like dark places that are safe from predators and humans.

All About Rats

Rats are agile animals that can climb and jump easily. They can fit through a space as tiny as the diameter of a pen, so any small gaps in your foundation, windows, and doors become an invitation for them to make your home their home.

Rats are nocturnal and live together in family groups. Once within your home, they dig and gnaw extensive tunnel systems, within which they build chambers for storing food and their nests. Their tunnels lead to and from the food sources in your home. In the process of gnawing and digging, they cause serious damage to your house by tearing insulation to build their nests, gnawing on wood and electrical wires, and contaminating food and animal feed.

Rats are active year-round, especially when living indoors. Just one pair of rats can produce between 800 to 1000 offspring each year. And, since their young become sexually active at two to four months old, you can imagine how quickly a serious infestation can grow.

What to Do When Rats Are in Your Home

Rats leave behind telltale signs that are quite clear:

  • Feces on countertops, in drawers, underneath the sink, and inside pantries that are larger than those of their mice counterparts
  • Scampering noises within your walls at night
  • Gnaw marks on walls, cabinet doors, around electrical sockets, and on cardboard boxes of food such as pasta or rice
  • Black oily smudge marks made up of oil and filth that rats leave behind as they run alongside walls and baseboards.
  • Strange dog behavior, such as staring at a wall, barking or whimpering at a wall or the underside of the refrigerator
  • The distinct musky smell of rat urine

A homeowner can take steps to make a house less attractive to rodents, such as sealing all gaps in your home, including where pipes and wires are and covering vents with mesh, keeping all crumbs off counters and out of pantries, fixing any water leaks, and maintaining a yard clear of debris. However, when temperatures begin to drop in the fall, rats will often find their way in, especially in northern states where the climate can be lethal to them. Once inside, and because they are prolific breeders, it is imperative to call Critter Control so we can eradicate the rats before they inflict costly damage or put your house at risk of an electrical fire.

Critter Control’s expertly trained wildlife specialists will assess your situation, create and implement an eradication plan, institute exclusionary techniques to help prevent a future infestation, and restore your home to its original state.

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Customer Reviews

Kirk D.
It has been very effective at reducing the number of mice, lizard, and snake sightings. During one visit Edgar removed a rattlesnake he came across. We may see a snake maybe two to three times during the spring and summer months, but it has been far less than before.

Serivces: Wildlife & Rodent Control in San Diego
Robert B.
Full service. Excellent job of extracting raccoon, cleaning all animal waste, sanitizing, and spraying anti-parasitic substance. They closed all potential ports of entry, though the work did not match the vinyl, and it looks kind of tacky. They added blown insulation, which added a lot to the cost. They provide a one year warranty against animal intrusion, with an option to extend the warranty at the end of each one- year period. They were willing to work with me one the price. I will probably extend my warranty, and will definitely use them it the future.
Gene F.
I was really impressed by these guys. Got a call within a few hours of making an inquiry. Had a rep out to inspect the situation by the end of the week, and when they laid out the timeline they kept if not exceeded listed times.

Rob, Travis, and Jim were all professional, polite, and courteous and after months of hearing squirrels in my ceiling they are gone and the repair to my flashing looks excellent. Can't recommend these guys enough.
Bob I.

Jeff was incredibly professional and helpful. I'll use them again and would recommend them to anyone.
-Detroit, MI
Richard L.

Critter Control did a great job of evaluating our house for sites of entry after we found bats and a squirrel in our attic. They completed their work promptly and professionally.
-Seattle, WA
Kenneth H.
We heard some noise from the corner of our house. Concerned that it could be inside we called for an inspection. Jessy arrived as scheduled and conducted a complete inspection of our home. Based on a recording we made he determined we had a tree frog on our roof. I was pleased that we didn’t have any rodent in our house. And his inspection could a few spots I can tighten up around my house. I am very happy with the outcome.
-New Hampshire
Lee F.
We have a vacation home in Western Mass and haven’t been there much during the pandemic as we live and work in Atlanta, GA. On our most recent visit we noticed that we had some rodent intrusion as well as some un-welcomed wildlife who decided to make our vacation home their home.

We contacted Critter Control and Mr. Cahoon was quick to set up an appointment as we wouldn’t be in town very long. He came out and assessed our issues. He informed us of our options to both eradicate and control future intrusions. Keeping in mind that wildlife is wildlife! He quickly got to work eradicating the rodents and wildlife from our home and addressing the intrusion issues. We feel much better leaving our vacation home for periods at a time knowing that Mr. Cahoon and Critter Control did their job and did it right! Thanks again!
Mary L.
We bought an old cabin last spring , it was used for years as a summer vacation cabin, therefore maintenance wasn’t a priority. After our project to remodel started, we found evidence of mice droppings.

We immediately called Critter Control and they came and gave us a reasonable estimate to remove all remnants and insulation. They sanitized and replaced with new insulation and sealing up points of entry .

Seeing their professional work made us feel confident and secure that the problem was solved ! Everyone we worked with continued to show professional and respectful work. Highly recommend this company! We continue to use critter control monthly to be sure we are mice and bug free!


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