Finding out that you have a rat living in your house is not the kind of surprise you really want to get. If you do have a rat, there are things that you can do to help you get rid of it.
Secure Food Storage
One thing that you can do is to make sure that all your food is stored as securely as possible. Open packages or loose food can easily become a smorgasbord for a rodent. Making sure that you put all that food into other packaging will make it harder for the rats to get to them. Get plastic or glass containers to store things like bread, sugar, rice, and cereal. Keep in mind that rats can chew through plastic, but plastic containers are going to stand up better than paper or cardboard will. The plastic will also help to contain crumbs as well as any odors from the food. As a side benefit, storing your food in airtight containers can help to keep it fresher longer, so it will stretch your grocery dollar.
There are a variety of rat poisons that you can use. Most of them come in a package that you can just open up and place where you think the rat is or around access points. Make sure that you don't touch the poison with your hands and that you wash your hands thoroughly after placing it. You might want to try using latex or nitrile gloves as well so that you don't have to worry about touching it. If you have pets or young children, poison might not be the best choice because they can get into the bait and it could make them very sick.
Another thing that you can do to get rid of rats and to make sure they don't come back is to block the access points that they are using. The thing is that rats are nimble and tricksy suckers. Basically, as long as their head can fit into a hole, they will be able to fit the rest of their body through it. They kind of fold themselves down and slide through. So, you are looking for small holes as well as larger holes. You can seal up the holes to keep them from coming in. It would be a good idea to use a wire mesh around the hole. You can also put steel wool and some cayenne pepper or another similar product around it. The rats don't like chewing on the metal and the pepper will irritate their eyes and nasal passages.
If you have rats and you can't get rid of them yourself, you can always call a pest control service and have them come in and do the removal for you.Share