Rats make many types of noises, mostly depending upon their state of health, environment, and mood. First, it may help to understand a little bit of background about rats, to understand how and why they make the sounds that they do.

Black Rat The Black Rat is alternatively known as the Ship Rat, Roof Rat, and House Rat. It is more common in the southwestern United States and Mexico. While the males are slightly larger, the adults will measure approximately seven to eight inches plus a seven- or eight-inch long tail. Though it’s not probable that you would have occasion to actually weigh them, you would find the Black Rats to be around six to twelve ounces in weight. Brown Rat The Brown Rat is also called the Norway Rat. These rats are mostly found in the middle to northern United States. These rat males are also slightly larger than the females, but the average adult Brown Rat is around ten to twelve inches long. They have somewhat shorter tails, measuring about five to six inches. Their bodies are heftier, too, weighing in up to a pound (16 ounces)!


Rats breed year-round. They can produce up to five litters of about 4 rat pups each per year. Amazingly, a female rat is able to become pregnant within 48 hours of giving birth to a litter of pups. Those pups grow very quickly, and are independent—and sexually mature—at only three months of age. They rarely will live for more than one year in the wild, due to disease and predation.
Rats have very poor eyesight, but their other four senses are extremely heightened. Their hearing, and especially sense of smell, helps them to travel along “rat runways,” tunnels or paths shared by groups of rats. As they pass through the runway, they leave greasy brown smudges from their fur, which is full of pheromones for other rats to follow. They also leave urine and droppings everywhere, as they go through.
They are well-known for having excellent speed (ever tried to catch one?) and balance, giving them an edge over predators. They are able to climb almost any surface, from wood to bricks, which is often how they are able to find a way into your house. Their teeth also grow their whole lives, which leads to the constant chewing and gnawing they do. They need to keep their teeth ground down to a usable level in order to eat properly.
Although they are mostly nocturnal, they will sometimes be seen or heard during the day. They usually wait until after dark, when it is quieter and safer for them to look for food. While rats will eat just about anything they find in your pantry, they prefer grain and grain-based products. Unfortunately, whatever they do not eat, they generally soil with urine and feces, so it is paramount that everything be thrown away and the area thoroughly sanitized when it is evident that rats have been there.
Rats are very territorial, though in urban areas their territories may overlap somewhat. In more rural settings, a rat—especially a male—will guard his territory, and may become aggressive if you invade it.


Although the Black Death, or Bubonic Plague, from the Middle Ages has become nearly extinct, rats do still carry quite a number of zoonotic diseases, those which can be transferred between the species.
Hantavirus, Rat bite fever, Rickettsia, Leptospirosis, and Salmonellosis are the most common. They are either transmitted directly from rat to human via a bite or scratch, or, more commonly, through the aerosolized dust of infected species. In addition to possibly bringing infectious diseases into the home, they also carry parasites, such as fleas, ticks, mites, and other unpleasant things.


Rats make different noises for different reasons.
Bruxing and boggling are two movements and sounds that rats do in concert with each other. Bruxing is grinding teeth together, but if the rat is doing that and you get to see it, it is probably boggling its eyes—bulging them out and spinning them around. Quite a strange sight, for sure! These tandem movements are done when the rat is either contented or anxious
Social Interactions
Squeaking indicates surprise, while screeching means there is a fight going on. Grunting means the rat is excited, while a revving noise similar to a car and hissing mean the rat is growing more and more angry at something. A whine is sometimes heard by a pup calling its mother. And finally, chirping hiccups occur when a rat is just waking up.
Rats can whistle, sneeze, gurgle, and wheeze. These all are indications of illness. Rats are well-known to get an illness called mycoplasmic pneumonia, which can sometimes be found in humans’ nostrils, yet not cause human disease. But this disease can run the gamut from mild to severe, and even cause death, in rats. You would be unlikely to hear the range of illness-noises, but if the acoustics are correct, you could.

This is no easy feat, but the solution itself is simple. You must find the way(s) the rats are getting in, and seal them off. Then you must trap the rats that are still inside. Poison will not do the job; it will kill rats (and make stinky messes inside in the process), but more will take their place.

Read the How to get rid of rats page for helpful information and to learn more about WHAT TYPES OF SOUNDS DO RATS MAKE?


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