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What Do Rats Eat That Could Cause a House Fire?

Picture of Molly Paws
By Molly Paws on October, 10 2017
Cartoon illustration of rats munching on anything

Do you hear that scratching? It seems to be coming from above. Maybe there’s a bird on the roof? Maybe it’s a tree limb scratching at the turrets? Or maybe it’s a RAT!

Anyone who’s dealt with a rat before knows they can get into anywhere and they’ll eat almost anything. They’re not particularly in the least about what they put in their bodies. In the pest community, they’re public enemy #1. Why do rats have such a bad reputation? They happen to have a flair for destruction. They simply love to nibble on the most expensive items in your home. So, what do rats eat?

What Do Rats Eat?

*Sniff* *Sniff*

Do you smell that? It smells like smoke. FIRE! Rats are blamed for up to twenty percent of all house fires every year. That means two out of every ten house fires were the result of a rat mistaking wiring for a delicious dish of spaghetti. And why wouldn’t they? Both wires and spaghetti are long, thin, and HOT. So hot that if a rat does nibble at a wire, they’ll either start a fire or get electrocuted. An electrocuted rat is okay until you realize one… the horrible smell coming from your attic or crawlspace from a decomposing rodent. Two, half your kitchen appliances no longer work because the wire the rat ate caused a short-circuit in your electrical system. Later you’re presented with a dead rat and a bill for $500 – $1500 or more for replacing your wiring. Consider it a cheap lesson. Replacing wiring is one thing, replacing your entire house from fire is something else entirely.

Wires aren’t the only item in your home a rat loves to call “lunch.” Rats are rather particular to plastic. Plastic tartare, plastic with a side of garbage, plastic over plastic, it doesn’t matter. That means your water pipes are as good as on a rat’s dinner table. A few nibbles at a water pipe and WHOOOOSH there goes your water bill, not to mention hot showers and flushing toilets for a while. It also means you just paid for the Plummer’s son to go to college.

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Rats Can Damage My Car?

Cars are also not immune to rats’ monstrous appetite. Not that rats like tires. If given an alternative they’d rather eat something else, like a fuel line. You didn’t know fuel lines tasted so yummy? To a hungry rat, they might as well have been prepared by a five-star restaurant.  Rats love to nibble away at all the tasty plastics and hoses in your car. If the car happens to be warm from being driven, that’s all the better to a rat. What better place to curl up in and get warm while having a nice snack?


How can you keep from paying for costly repair bills due to rat damage? There are many ways you can keep rats from nibbling away at your bank account. If you know you have a rat, try setting traps. Use peanut butter or other tasty morsels to lure rats into traps and simply escort them away. When using any type of traps though, be cautious the rat is either dead or can’t reach you. Rats can carry deadly diseases.

If you know you have a rat in your house, avoid using poisons. Many poisons on the market take time to kill rodents, which means you not only run the risk of still having a potential disaster on your hands, you’re also faced with when the rodent does die the decomposing smell may just drive you out of your own home.

Using mothballs is another way to keep rats from destroying your property. Rats hate the smell of mothballs. Toss a few into your attic to prevent rats from sticking around for long. This technique is great for cars too. Use a pair of nylon pantyhose cut into four lengths and place two to three mothballs in each, tying them off at each end. Place each of those over your four tires to prevent rats from camping in your engine. Just be sure to remove them before driving again.

For car wiring as well, you can use pepper spray to coat the wires. Rodents will leave them alone. Reapply every six months. Be sure to create a laminated sign that the wires are covered with pepper spray. Post the sign with duct tape in a safe place inside your car’s engine compartment. You don’t want your mechanic getting sick… no matter how much you feel, he’s overcharged you.

Contact a Professional

If your rat problem is driving you up the walls, then it’s time to call in the professionals. The pest and vermin team at AIPM will put an end to your rodent problems once and for all. AIPM is owned and operated by University graduates who majored in Biology and Pest Management. They know how to handle all types of rodent issues. They can eliminate the threats to your property while setting up a custom plan to ensure that you never have to face the same type of infestation again. Contact AIPM for a free consultation here!


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