What happens if you disturb a rats nest? Seeing a rat running in your home or business can be really worrying, but finding a rat’s nest is even scarier. Rat nests can be dangerous because they are usually made of things that can catch fire easily, like paper and cloth. Besides wrecking your place while building their nests, disturbing a rat nest can also make you sick.

If you’re curious about what happens when you try to destroy a rat’s nest, want to know what to do if you accidentally disturb a nest of rats, or are looking for the best way to get rid of a rat’s nest, here’s some helpful information. Keep reading to learn what could happen if you try to take away a rat’s nest by yourself.


What Does a Rat’s Nest Look Like?

Rat nests are kind of like bird nests, but they are made from soft stuff around your house, like paper, cardboard, and ripped cloth.

Rats usually make nests in cozy spots close to food to take care of their babies. Rats are tough, but they need specific things to make nests.

If you notice a yucky smell, it might mean there’s a rat nest. However, if you are not sure if it is a rat nest, check for other signs like chewed cords, furniture, insulation, or messed up food packages.


Where to Find Rat Nest

Rats often hide under decks and make nests in hidden spots there. Sheds and other buildings are good for rats too, as they can dig.

You can find where they get in by looking around the edges of these places. Rats also like to burrow near walls.

In garages, look for gaps around doors or chewed holes at the bottom of wooden doors, since rats can get in through those holes.


What Happens if You Disturb a Rats Nest?

What Happens if You Disturb a Rats Nest

A rat’s nest in your home might scare you and is often irritating. But it is important not to rush into removing it. Disturbing a rat’s nest can lead to various problems. So, what happens if you disturb a rats nest?

1. Rats May Bite You

Rats are not usually mean, but they are territorial and can be stubborn. If they are stressed, they might act aggressively by biting or chasing. Rats might carry harmful germs that can spread to humans.

2. Infection

If you get bitten by a rat, that can make you really sick. Rats have yucky stuff in their spit that can cause infections like rat-bite fever. If you don’t treat it, it could be super dangerous. And if you don’t clean the bite wound well, it might get infected and cause even more health problems.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rat bite fever includes the following:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain or swelling (about 5 in 10 people with RBF have this)
  • Rash (occurs in about 3 out of 4 people with RBF)

Also, symptoms usually begin 3 to 10 days after contact with the bacteria but can be delayed as long as 3 weeks.

3. Moving Rats Around

If you try to get rid of a rat’s nest, the rats might just go somewhere else in your house. This could make the problem even harder to fix. Besides the danger of getting hurt or sick from messing with the nest, trying to get rid of them might make them start a family in other hidden spots of your house, causing more trouble on your property.

4. Rebuilding

What happens if you disturb a rats nest? They will rebuild the disturbed nest. Rats are persistent and adaptable creatures. If their nest is disturbed or destroyed, they might attempt to rebuild it in the same location or nearby. Rats use various materials to construct their nests, including paper, fabric, and other scavenged items.

How Many Rats Live in a Nest?

Usually, rats live together in houses with lots of good spots to hide nests. A rat nest usually has around 5 to 10 rats, but the number can change if the nest is new or if there are baby rats. Sometimes, they make lots of nests close by, which means more rats in one place.

The species of rats can also determine how many of them you will find in a nest.

Rat SpeciesPreferred HabitatTypical Nest Size
Norway RatsBurrowsA few individuals to a dozen or more
Roof RatsElevated areas (attics, trees)Generally smaller than Norway rats
Ship RatsNear ports and on shipsVaries widely
Field RatsFieldsVaries based on availability of food and shelter

Experts have also found that food availability, predation (areas with more predators may have smaller nest sizes, environmental conditions, human activity, and season can affect the number of rats you find in a nest.

Do Rats Return to the Same Nest?

Most rats will come back to their nest, even if it is disturbed. Rats really like having their own space, so they work hard to make a comfy home. If they find a good spot to live, they usually will not leave it easily. Usually, rats won’t leave their nest unless a pest control person comes to help and treat the area. Below are factors that determine if rats will return to the nest:

  1. Rats return to nests they deem safe from predators and hazards.
  2. A nearby consistent food source encourages rats to return.
  3. Known environments are more appealing for rats to revisit.
  4. Social bonds in colonies make rats more likely to return.
  5. Female rats often return to known nests for birthing.
  6. Low human disturbance encourages rats to return.

However, a disturbed or destroyed rat nest will likely be abandoned. Other reasons rats won’t return include:

  1. Lack of food may force rats to find a new nest.
  2. High predator activity can make rats abandon their nest.
  3. Seasonal factors may cause rats to change nests.

How to Get Rid of Rats Nest

Often, getting a professional pest control company is the best way to remove a rats nests. But if you want to do it on your own, here are some safe tips to help you:

  1. Get rid of the rats – Before taking out a rat’s nest, you need to catch or get rid of all the rats using traps or poison. Once you’re sure there are no more rats, you can start taking away the nest.
  2. Take out the nest – When you’re getting rid of rat nests, you need to be careful to stay safe. Wear gloves and goggles to protect yourself. This stops you from breathing in dust from the nest that might have rat poop in it. Rat poop can have germs that make you sick, so it’s important to be careful.
  3. Clean up – Use bleach to clean and make the nest and nearby places germ-free. Put all the stuff, even the nest, in a bin outside. Getting rid of rats and their nests can be hard and not safe, especially in places that are tough to reach. If it’s tough, it’s better to get help from pest control pros.

Tips to Stop Rats from Nesting on Your Property

You want to take measures ahead of time to stop rats from coming to your place to nest. Rats like to make homes where they can get food, water, and a place to hide, like in people’s houses. So, do the following so you don’t have to worry about what happens if you disturb a rats nest in the first place.

  1. Keep your trash in bins that close tight, and block any holes in your house and shed so rats can’t get in. Rats can fit in tiny spaces, even as small as one inch, so check for big gaps under doors or cabinets and close them up.
  2. Also, make sure to check your place often for any signs of rats, like tiny bite marks and stuff piled up in corners where rats might be making nests.
  3. Keep your living area neat and clean to stop rats from making homes in your house. It’s the same idea for your garden, especially when it’s cold and rats are looking for a warm spot to stay.
  4. Check for rats in usual spots like sheds, compost heaps, and stacks of firewood. Do not leave garbage outside and keep things tidy to not tempt rats. These tips will help you keep rats away from your garden.

Why is a rat’s nest such a big problem?

Finding a rats’ nest is a problem because it means rats are living there. If the nest is in your house, garden, or place, you’ll have a lot of rats.

Having a lot of rats is a big pest problem that affects your health, the health of your employees, and public health.

Let me explain why a rats’ nest is a big problem.

1. How Many Rats Are There?

The number of rats can change based on the rat type. Brown rats usually have 5 to 15 in one nest. Sometimes, there’s been up to 100 in one nest.

Inside, nests usually have 5 to 10 rats, but there might be more nests with grown-up and baby rats in a group.

2. Rats Multiply Fast

Each female rat can produce up to 40 babies per year. Their short reproductive cycle means they can conceive within 48 hours of giving birth. A small infestation can grow into a large colony quickly if not adequately dealt with.

3. Rats Stick to Their Homes

Once rats make a nest, they might come back even if it’s been messed with. They’re smart about where they live, and once they work hard to set up their homes, they usually stay there.

4. Health and Property Risks

Rats break things and make big holes by chewing and digging. They have lots of sicknesses that can hurt people, and they leave poop and pee around.

Where will you find a rat’s nest?

Rats make homes inside and outside. They stay close to food and usually don’t go more than 300-500 feet from home.

Rats build nests all year round. In summer, they look for food outside, but they come inside in winter. They might even dig tunnels that go from inside to outside.

1. Outdoor Environment

Rats like to have a safe place to live and enough food. They look for places where they won’t be bothered. They usually build their homes close to buildings or sheds with lots of plants to hide in. They also search for trash cans or places where there is food like vegetables. If you see small holes near where rats live, they’re usually about 2-5 inches deep.

2. Indoors

Inside buildings, rats might create a cozy home in an attic or within walls. Warehouses also offer lots of shadowy spots and boxes for them to hide in. Rats like to be near food and water, so you will often find them close to kitchens or break rooms.

You might see chewed holes in walls that they use to get inside. Since they usually come out at night, you might not know they’re there until they’ve already multiplied a lot.

Conclusion on What Happens if You Disturb a Rats Nest

As explained, when you disturb rats nest, they can flee, defend, relocate, or return to nest again. Whether the nest is in your house, garden, or business, that is a problem. The issue with a nest is that there are usually a lot of rats living there, and there might be more than one nest.

Taking away a rat’s nest may not be something you can do on your own. Just using traps won’t solve the problem. Therefore, it is much better to engage a pest control expert to permanently remove rats from your home.

Key takeaways

  • When rats get stressed out, they might start acting mean by biting or chasing.
  • Messing up a rat’s nest can cause a lot of problems.
  • Calling experts from a pest control company is the best thing to do to remove a rat’s nest.
  • You can stop rats from coming by doing things beforehand, like cleaning up, locking trash bins, and closing holes.
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