What Attracts Rats? 5 Reasons You May Have Rat or Mice Problems

what attracts rats

They may seem cute, with their pointed faces, quivering whiskers, and furry bodies but rats and mice are more dangerous than you think.

Rats and mice spread more than 35 different diseases, including Salmonella, rat-bite fever, murine typhus, infectious jaundice, and the plague. 

Their urine, fur, and dander trigger asthma attacks and allergies.

They also cause major damage each year by chewing through wood, drywall, and insulation and causing fires by chewing through electrical wires.

So what attracts rats to your home?

Here are 5 common reasons you may have rat and mice problems. 


Food is one of the most common reasons a rat or a mouse will enter your home. 

Like all rodents, both rats and mice and always on the lookout for food because they probably don’t have a stable source of it.

Rats and mice will eat anything you leave out, including pet food, but apparently, their favorites are peanut butter, chocolate, and bacon (not cheese!).

Leaving out food is also one of the most common causes of an infestation.


Like food, left out, unsecured trash is also what attracts mice and rats.

Trash is the perfect marriage of two of the things rats and mice need the most: food and shelter.

Rodents love trash so much, many large and densely populated cities, and the resulting heaps of trash, face uncommonly high rat infestations. 

Rats will live in the trash both inside and outside. 

Clutter and Debris

Clutter and debris are almost as important as food and water to rodents because it provides a shelter and protection from larger animals and the elements.

The best shelter for rodents is one that is warm, covered, safe but also close to food and water sources. 

This includes areas like basements, crawl spaces, garages, sheds, attics and even areas in your ceiling.

Easy Entry

An infestation of rats and mice usually happens because they have found easy entry into your home. 

Rats and mice can squeeze through even the tiniest of cracks and holes no more than ¼ and ½ of an inch in size. 

These tiny holes can be what causes rats to come in your house. 

The average home is going to have dozens of these tiny entry points; under the garage door, roof vents, crawl spaces, and areas around pipes and vents.

Want to know if your home has any of these tiny entry points? We can help


Surprisingly, water is also what attracts mice to your home.

Like food, mice and rats and always looking for a supply of water and many homes unwittingly provide the perfect source.

Dripping pipes, pet bowls of water, leaking sprinklers and other sources of water attracts these rodents into your home. 

They are also attracted to outside fountains and birdbaths. 

What Attracts Rats and Mice: The Bottom Line

By learning what attracts rats and mice, you can practice prevention and lower the risk of having an infestation of these dangerous rodents.

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