How far do rats travel from their nest? Rats are smart and busy animals that stay active mostly at night. They usually travel around 100 feet and up to 300 feet from their nest, but sometimes they can go as far as a mile or even more.

A rat’s home is also called a burrow. Where they live depends on where they are. Forest rats make nests close to the ground, while city rats might build nests on tall buildings or in trash cans.


How far do rats travel from their nest

How Far Do Rats Travel from Their Nest?

How Far Do Rats Travel from Their Nest

According to the Department of Public Health, County of Los Angeles, Each night, rats can travel from 100 to 300 feet from the nest in search of food. Sometimes, if they can’t find enough to eat, they might go even farther.


Rats usually stay near their nests and do not explore too much, unless they need to. Brown rats in the Eastern United States usually go around within 100 to 200 feet far.

Rats usually move around during the night to stay hidden. They do this when they want to find food and water. If rats live near food, they might not need to go far. But rats that don’t have food nearby might have to travel a long way to find it, sometimes even hundreds of feet.

Certain rats, especially those in the countryside, move with the seasons. In the fall, they move from fields to homes, looking for our food and the warmth of our shelters. Rats always want to live near food sources.


How to Tell if You Have a Rat Problem

If your home is rat-infested, you can be certain their home is close by, maybe even in your house. But unlike mice, rats like to live outside instead of inside. Rats are not as good at hiding as mice. They are bigger, louder, and easier to spot.

If you see signs of rats in your home at night, they probably have a nest just outside. Especially in rural places, rats find lots of spots near their food to make nests.

Rats are not good visitors in gardens, so you want to control them. Even if you are dealing with rats in your garden or your yard, you want them removed as soon as possible.

You will need pest control experts to get rid of severe rat infestations. They will typically employ special traps and bait to remove them from your property.

Rats are pests found in many places. They can harm your property and spread diseases. If you think you have rats at home, watch for these signs.

DroppingsRats leave tiny, dark brown or black poop as they walk in your home.
Rat OdorRats have a powerful smell that’s often described as a musty or musky odor.
TracksWhen rats move into your home, they make narrow, pointed tracks on the ground.
ScratchesRats scratch surfaces to show their territory, and you can see these scratches on those surfaces.
BurrowsRats dig tunnels in the ground to make their homes close to houses and where there’s food. They can spread diseases, like the bubonic plague, which makes people very sick. Rats like to live in places with lots of food, such as garbage cans, sewers, swamps, and gardens.

Rats Live Where in the House?

You probably already know that rats can mess up your stuff and expose your household to sickness. Rats carry bugs that can hurt people too. They make nests where they live and typically hide in dark spots like sewers, basements, and attics. Usually, they pick holes and dark spots to protect their babies from danger. Yet, when those spots are not around, they might settle in piles of clothes or near dirty dishes.

The first thing to do when trying to find a rat’s nest is figure out where you have seen or heard rats squeaks or gnaw sounds. Rats are active mostly at night, but they leave signs like droppings and chewing during the day.

Next, look for their marks, like gnawing on wood or plastic, droppings, and things they have chewed on. If you cannot see any signs, check for small holes in walls, torn insulation, or droppings on the floor.

If you still do not find anything, the rats might be gone. You could get help from a pest control person to handle it professionally.

How Big Can a Rat Nest Be?

A rat’s nest might be really tiny, like a few inches, or quite big, up to a few feet. The size depends on how many rats there are, how old they are, and how long they have been there. However, experts compare the average size of a rat’s nest to the size of a cereal bowl.

The burrows can have a depth of up to 18 inches and may contain tunnels extending up to 3 feet, accommodating multiple rats. As for Roof rats, they construct their nests above ground, as implied by their name. You can commonly find their nests in locations such as trees, attics, and areas covered with vines or bushes.

If your apartment has rats, they might have a bigger nest. If you see rat poop in the crawl space or on the floor or wall, they are likely nesting there. therefore, it is safer to get pest control instead of trying to remove them yourself.

How Many Rats in an Average Nest?

Usually, a rat’s nest has about 5 to 10 or up to 12 rats on average. The number of rats in a nest can change based on things like the nest’s size and how many rats are there.

Lots of homes deal with rat nests, which show up in places like the attic, basement, or under the house. Rats use stuff like insulation to build these nests.

How to Eliminate a Rat Nest

Rats are crafty creatures that build their nests using materials like paper, cloth, and food wrappers. Inside your home, they love hiding in places like the spaces between walls, under furniture, and even under sinks. If they can’t find a spot indoors, they will opt for your garage or shed. Outdoors, they dig into soil, mulch, and grass, or even build nests under your deck or porch. You might also find their nests in leaf piles, bushes, and woodpiles.

Call the Experts

The safest and most effective way to get rid of a rat’s nest is to call professionals like Bon Accord. They have the proper tools and expertise to remove the rats and their nests safely.

DIY Removal

If you prefer to tackle the problem yourself, follow these simple steps:

  1. Find out where the rats are coming in and going out.
  2. Use rat traps or poison to eliminate the rats. Make sure to place these where rats frequent but out of reach of pets and children.
  3. Once you are sure all the rats are gone, it is time to remove their nest. Use gloves and dispose of it in a sealed bag.
  4. Clean the area thoroughly to get rid of any germs or diseases the rats might have left behind.

Rat poison can be harmful to pets and children if ingested. Always be cautious when using it. Rat nests can also carry diseases, so handle them carefully.

How Do Rat Entry Points Appear?

Rats can get into your place through various spots such as:

  • Holes in the roof or walls
  • Gaps in the foundation or floor
  • Even the drains
  • Open doors and windows

If you are having a hard time finding where the rats are coming in, here are some things you can do to help:

Once you have found where they are getting in, you can close those spots or get help from a pest control company nearby.


So, how far do rats travel from their nest? Rats are quite the explorers but usually stick close to home. They typically travel between 100 to 300 feet from their nests to find food and water. However, some rats can venture as far as a mile or more, especially if they are in search of sustenance. Their activity is mostly nocturnal, and they prefer to stay hidden while they go about their business.

If you notice signs of rat activity in your home, it is likely that their nest isn’t too far away—possibly even within your property. You need to act fast, whether it is setting DIY traps or calling in the experts to prevent any potential damage or health risks.

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