Have you noticed holes or marks on your baseboards? Are there urine odors or droppings in your kitchen? Do you hear rustling sounds? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be dealing with a loose rat in your home. Here are some steps to eliminate the problem.

Make Sure You Aren't Inviting Any More Pests into the House

Despite being larger than mice, juvenile rats may be able to squeeze through holes the size of a quarter! Go around your home and check for any nooks and crannies that may need caulking. Do you have any pets? Look into raised dog- or cat-food bowls so that there are not crumbs on the floor and so rats don't have access to water sources. Make sure that you check outside your home as well. For instance, some rats can get in through rain gutters, so make sure these have screens.

Set Poison or a Trap

As long as you don't have children or pets, it's okay to set down some rat poison. These poisons come in meal bait or pellets. The rat will be attracted to the poison, but it will contain. These poisons are anticoagulants, meaning that they will prevent the rat's body from recycling vitamin K and eventually they will bleed to death. Again, these poisons aren't just dangerous to rats, but they can be dangerous to children and pets if they're ingested.

A safer option is to stick a trap between a hard-to-reach area for pets and children—like between a fridge and a wall. If you don't have any children or pets, you can set the trap out in the open. Set it parallel to the wall. Rats like to run along walls since it gives one side of their body protection and quick access to their holes.

Traps are great because you won't have to deal with poisons. Plus, poison can take a while to kill the rat, so it may die in a location that is hard to reach. When you have a set trap, you will know exactly where the dead rat will be, and you can dispose of it quickly.

Use some bacon, cheese, or peanut butter in your trap. You don't need a lot for the trap to work. In fact, it's better to use as little bait as possible since a rat could eat a portion of the bait without setting off the trap. Check your trap every day, and when the rat is caught, remove it while wearing gloves. Be sure to spray the area with disinfectant afterward.

Call an Expert

There are many reasons to call in a professional. If you have more than one rat, it can be hard to keep track of traps and poison pellets. A pest control professional can be incredibly helpful if you have more than one rat you're dealing with. If you aren't keen on using poisons, some pest control companies have eco-friendly ways of removing the rat—they may be able to remove the rat without killing it!

For more information, contact companies like 1st Solution Pest Control.