Brown rat on a tree trunk at night in natural environment.

Are Rats Nocturnal?

Rats are household pests that can cause damage to your home and pose health risks to you and your family. Knowing more about their behavior and nesting habits can help you better understand how to eliminate them.

We will look at the different types of rats, their nesting habits, and some common ways people rid their homes of them.

Key Pest Points:

• Rats are nocturnal creatures and are most active at night.
• They prefer to stay in dark, secluded places and often live in attics, basements, or crawlspaces.
• These rodents consume almost anything and often feed on pet food, garbage, and small animals.

Where Do Rats Live?

Rats are everywhere around the world and can live in diverse environments. They tend to hang out in cities with plenty of food and shelter. Here are some of the places they might call home:

  • Sewers and drains: Rats are drawn to sewers and drains due to the warmth and shelter they provide. They also have access to food in these environments.
  • Garbage cans: Garbage is a great food source for rats, so it’s not surprising that they often make their homes near garbage cans.
  • Attics and walls: Rats can enter homes through tiny openings in walls or attics. They will then nest in these areas if they feel safe enough.
  • Basements and crawl spaces: These areas can provide shelter from cold weather and offer places to hide.
  • Garages and sheds: Rats can seek shelter in these areas, especially if they are cluttered or not well-maintained.
  • Gardens and parks: Don’t be surprised if you find rats in your garden or local park. Rats can hide in vegetation and feed off of fruits, vegetables, and seeds.

These days, rats are living in even more places as they become bolder and less afraid of humans. So, it’s important to be aware of their presence and take steps to prevent them from entering your home.

the rat hides under wooden planks and looks out.

How to Identify Their Nesting Areas?

Identifying rat nesting areas is essential to effectively eliminate them from your home. Here are some ways to identify their nesting areas:

  • Droppings: Rat droppings are a clear sign that they are nesting in your home. Look for small, dark pellets often found in corners, along walls, or drawers.
  • Tracks: Rats leave behind tracks and footprints that can help you locate their nesting areas. Look for tracks in dusty or muddy areas of your home.
  • Odor: Rats have a distinct smell that can be described as musty or earthy. If you notice an unpleasant odor in your home, it could be a sign of a rat infestation.
  • Nesting materials: Rats use various materials to build their nests, including shredded paper, fabric, and insulation. Look for these materials in areas where you suspect rats may be nesting.
  • Identity noises: Listen for rat sounds such as scurrying, squeaking, and chewing. These noises are typically heard at night when the rats are most active.

It’s not easy to determine the exact nesting areas of rats, but paying attention to these signs and taking action can prevent an infestation in your home.

The Diet of a Rat

Rats are omnivores, meaning they will eat both plant and animal matter. Their diet typically consists of the following:

  • Fruits and vegetables: Rats love fruits and vegetables and eat almost any produce.
  • Grains and seeds: Rats are notorious for eating grains and seeds, so they are often found in homes with bird feeders.
  • Meat and dairy: Rats will eat meat and dairy products if they are available, including pet food and leftovers.
  • Insects and small animals: Rats are opportunistic feeders and will eat insects and small animals if available.

It’s important to know what rats eat so that you can limit their access to food sources in your home. Tying up trash bags, removing pet food, and not leaving leftovers out are all ways to help prevent rats from getting access to food.

Are Rats Nocturnal or Diurnal Animals?

Rats are mostly active at night because they’re nocturnal animals. However, they can be active during the day in less populated areas. There are many reasons why rats prefer the dark:

  • Avoiding predators: Rats have many predators, including birds of prey, snakes, and cats. By being active at night, they can avoid many of these predators.
  • Foraging for food: They are usually active in the dark, and since they are not often spotted, they can scavenge for food much more freely.
  • Conserving energy: Rats are active animals and must save energy daily. By sleeping during the day and being active at night, they can conserve energy and avoid the heat of the day.

Rats are adaptable animals, so their activity patterns may vary depending on their environment. In places with low human activity, they tend to be more active during the day.

Brown rat walking through water at night.

Sleeping Habits of Rats

The rat’s sleep patterns allow them to be active for longer periods. Here are some of their sleeping habits:

  • Rats are usually more active during the hours just before sunrise and sunset.
  • Sleepy rats go where they feel safe, usually in hidden and dark spots.

Understanding the sleeping patterns of rats can help you identify when they are most active and help prevent an infestation. If you notice an increase in rat activity at certain times, limit their access to food sources and eliminate hiding places.

Natural Ways to Get Rid of Rats

Rats can be difficult to eliminate, but some natural methods can help you eliminate them from your home. From natural scent repellents to traps, here are some natural ways to get rid of rats:

  • Peppermint oil: Rats hate the smell of peppermint oil. You can purchase peppermint oil, then place a few drops on cotton balls and put them in areas where you suspect rats are hiding.
  • Cayenne pepper: Rats cannot tolerate the heat of cayenne pepper. Sprinkle some cayenne pepper around areas where rats are likely to hide.
  • Natural predators: Owls, cats, and snakes are natural predators of rats. By attracting these predators to your yard, you can help keep the rat population under control.
  • Vinegar: Rats are repelled by the strong smell of vinegar. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water and spray the solution in areas where rodents are likely to hide.
  • Keep your home clean and tidy: Rats are attracted to clutter and mess, so keeping your home clean and tidy is a simple way to discourage them from entering your living space.
  • Seal all entry points: Rats can fit through small openings, so it’s essential to seal all cracks, holes, and gaps in walls, floors, and ceilings.

By using these natural methods, you can help keep rats away from your home and avoid the need for chemical-based products. But remember that these methods may not work in all situations, so it’s essential to contact a professional pest control expert if you suspect an infestation.


Will rats come out during the day?

Rats are primarily nocturnal creatures and will typically stay hidden during the day. However, rats may become more active during the day if they feel threatened or if abundant food sources are available.

Where do rats hide during the day?

Rats will typically hide in dark, secluded areas during the day. This can include attics, basements, crawl spaces, and even inside walls. It’s crucial to inspect these areas regularly for signs of rat activity.

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