Dead Rat in the WallIf you need to hire help: Click here for a nationwide list of professional dead rat removers!
For more general rat control info inside walls, click my How To Get Rid of Rats guide, or read more below.
If a homeowner in Orlando, FL smells a bad odor in the home, the most likely cause is a dead rat. Sometimes they die in the attic, but they often fall down a wall they cannot climb out of, or simply die down in a wall cavity. The best way to get a dead rat out of the wall is to locate the area and cut a hole to remove the animal.
A Dead Rat in the CeilingThis house smelled terrible, this room in particular. There was no attic (flat roof) and no crawl space, so I knew the dead animal was in the wall or ceiling. As I always do, I sniffed and sniffed like a dog, until I had it narrowed down to one spot. When I started to cut, I noticed that the ceiling joists were only inches apart. Amazingly, I had cut in the one exact small spot where the rat was - a nearly impossible to find place - and, as always, the first and only hole I had to cut in the home.
A Dead Mouse in the WallOnce again, I sniff like a blood hound until I find the right spot, then get it perfect with my very first cut into the wall. Small animal, but BIG smell! To get rid of a dead rat or mouse in the wall, you've got to have a real nose for the job, literally (there is no magic odor finding machine), and experience certainly counts for a lot.
Many wildlife control companies will cut the hole in the wall to remove the dead rat, but they won't fix the hole they've cut. I do try my best to repair the hole that I've cut - I cut it at an angle, replace the piece I've cut, secure it, and spackle the edges. Still, it's not perfect, and I'm not a drywall expert. I'm a wildlife expert. Most people are so grateful to have the smell gone, that they don't even care about the wall.
For more detailed rat information, visit www.OrlandoRats.com
You may want to click on one of these dead animal removal guides that I wrote:
How much does dead animal removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of dead animals - my main dead animal removal info guide.
Example dead animal removal photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Dead animal job blog - learn from great examples of dead animal jobs I've done.
Dear David, I live in a four family building in Orlando. Last summer, we had an awful smell coming from the bathroom walls of which I complained many times. I discovered the smell was coming from the attic, but could not locate the source. Since then, I have discovered that we have rats in the attic. They have chewed up many of my boxes in storage and defecated all over the place. I then found out the landlord was leaving poison up there, which I'm sure accounts for the smell. I have, on numerous occasions, heard scratching from down in the walls, and smelled terrible odors in the bathroom, living room, and bedrooms, and I think it's from dead rats down in the walls. The building is very old. The roof is continually leaking, resulting in my ceiling leaking on the regular. The landlord has finally resigned himself to hiring a professional to fix the roof this spring after attempting to fix it many times himself. He has come several times to trap the rats, dumping them right outside when he does. He does not clean anything up afterwards, just leaving the mess, damage and poop. How do I get him to resolve this problem without starting a war? I cannot afford to move out at this time- although I would really like to - we have cockroaches that are attracted to the rat poop, and he wont hire a professional for that either. Any suggestions? Thanks, Jennifer-single mom of a two year old
Jennifer - I can certainly talk to your landlord about the importance of solving this problem. Even an older building can be properly addressed - I do it all the time. I spend a long time carefully inspecting every inch of the building, and sealing shut all the rodent entry points. I then trap and remove all the rats. This is the only way for a permanent solution to the problem of rats in the ceiling and walls. And if you do get another odor problem, I'd be happy to find the right spot, cut a hole, and remove the dead rat. I also repair the holes. It's a lot of fun for me!
Another Customer Email:
I live in the metro area of Portland, Oregon where rats aren't as prominent a problem as they seem to be in Florida, based on what I've seen on your web site. However, while researching the internet for information on how to best kill rats/mice and prevent future issues, I found your web page to provide the absolute best information in one location. Thank you for that!
I do, however, have one question that I would love a little guidance on. We are currently experiencing a rat/mice issue in the wall between the house and the inside of the garage. The smaller mouse traps we've used in the past for the field mice that come in each spring (we live near a wetland) where not big enough for the critters we have. By definition what we have seen around the garage may still be mice, but based on what we've seen in the past, they are significantly bigger and have required a bigger trap.
We have taken the preventative measures your web page lists. Specifically we have put the dog food and bird seed in covered plastic containers (can mice/rats chew through Rubbermaid bins?), moved to dog's water bowl back outside where it use to be, filled holes and cracks to the outside world with steel wool and have placed 3 rat traps (snap traps) around the garage with peanut butter on them, in addition to the two smaller mouse traps we keep loaded all year. We have sealed smaller holes that have formed in the wall, but left open the three main holes, which are about 4 inches in diameter.
Over the past 10 days we have killed 11 mice/rats with the trap. Our dog managed to grab the 12th one on her own. (Fortunately she's only interested in killing them, not eating them!) Obviously we don't want to seal any rats into the wall. At the same time, we don't want to make it too cozy for new ones to come in and make a home in existing spots. So my question is this: At what point do we deem our efforts a success and start sealing up the three large holes so that this problem can be resolved once and for all? Should we wait until a week goes by without catching any more rodents or do we need to wait longer, like 3-4 weeks, before claiming victory?
I've yet to find any local resources that could provide me the answers. Surely some must exist in my area; I just haven't found them yet. And I figure an exterminator won't give free advice when I could be a paying customer. As a result, any suggestions or advice you may have for us would be most appreciated. Thank you in advance! Julie
Julie - I usually seal the holes outside the home FIRST, then trap any rats that are stuck inside the building. You can never be sure, once you seal, that there are no rats inside. If the rats or mice are only in the walls and there is no trapping space, then the best approach may be to set a one-way exclusion funnel on the entry/exit hole, or do an approach similar to yours, and set traps by the entry hole until catches cease, then seal. It can be difficult, especially given all the aspects of rat behavior unknown to amateurs. If you want professional help, call my friend Tim. I trained him myself in Orlando, and then he moved to Portland. He's great at taking care of rats in the walls. - David