Die Ratte – alle Infos über Ratten - IREPELL

The Rat – All You Need to Know

Rats are an adaptable and controversial animal, which includes about 65 species. These intelligent rodents have developed a complex relationship with humans for centuries, so that challenges arise in terms of pest control in both rural and urban areas.

In this comprehensive guide, we explore everything there is to know about rats: from their general characteristics, to their habitat and distribution, to how to respond in an ethically justifiable way in the event of a rat infestation – odourless, non-violent and chemical-free.


Characteristics of rats

Rats belong to the rodent family and are characterized by a number of characteristics that characterize them as one of the most adaptable and resilient animal species. Two rat species are widespread throughoutEurope and thus also in Germany: the migratory rat (Rattus norvegicus) and the house rat (Rattus rattus). Around the world, about 65 species of rats are known.

These animals have a typical head-torso length of about 15 to 28 centimeters, supplemented by a long, scaly rat tail, which is often almost as long as the rest of the body. Their coat can vary depending on the species, with the migratory rat often having a gray-brown coat and the house rat a lighter, gray-black coat. Both types are excellent climbers and swimmers, making them particularly comfortable in urban sewer networks andattics.

Rats are also known for their high reproductive rate. A female can have several litters per year, where each litter can include up to twelveyoung. This high reproductive capacity is one reason why rat populations can grow rapidly and why effective rat control measures are so important.

This can quickly turn rats into a challenging pest, which is often difficult to control even for professionalpest controllers. In addition, resistance to conventional poison bait – in addition to ethical concerns – has led to alternative control methods being researched and used.


Rat – habitat and distribution

Rats, especially the two most common species – the migratory rat and domestic rat – can adapt particularly effectively to different habitats and climatic conditions. Therefore, these rodents can be found in a wide variety of environments, from densely populated urban areas to farms and fields in the countryside.

Rats in urban habitat

In urban areas, rats prefer sewers and underground systems that provide shelter and steady access to food sources. Dustbins, compost heaps, and even attics are often populated by rats, who find ideal conditions for their nests in these undisturbed areas.

Rural and Agricultural Areas

In the countryside and agricultural regions, rats use barns, warehouses, and fields where they have easy access tosupplies and leftovers. Their ability to feed on virtually anything makes controlling and combating in such environments particularly difficult.


Rats – global distribution

Originally, rats originated in Asia, but have spread worldwide through human activities. Today, they are an integral part of urban and rural ecosystems throughout Central Europe and beyond. As cultural successors, they have successfully adapted to the habitats created by human habitation.

Culture followers are those animals that can benefit from man-made changes in the environment. This means that these animals feel particularly comfortable in the vicinity of humans, as they find optimal living conditions there. In addition to the rat, the marten, for example, is also a cultural follower.


Lifestyle and Nutrition of Rats

Rats are among the most successful mammals on our planet thanks to their adaptability. These rodents are typically nocturnal, which helps them avoid potential hazards during the day. They prefer to nest in protected, hidden areas – such as under buildings, in attics or within walls. They also create complex walkways and tunnels that secure their access to food sources.

As omnivores, rats feed on a variety of food sources, from pantry supplies to compost piles and garbage cans to food leftovers in urban or rural areas. However, because they can also transmit pathogens such as salmonella, they are often consideredto be health pests.


Reproduction of rats

Reproduction of rats is extremely efficient, allowing a population to grow and spread rapidly. Rats reach sexual maturity after only a few months, typically around three to four months of age. 

A single female rat can have severallitters per year, with each litter averaging six to twelve pups. The gestation period in rats is only about 21 to 24 days, which allows a rapid succession of generations. Immediately after birth, the young are blind and helpless, but develop quickly and are largely independent after only one month.

This high reproduction rate makes rat control particularly challenging, as a small, uncontrolled population can grow rapidly and become a serious pest problem. Effective control measures must therefore be carried out often and regularly in order to effectively counteract the rapid increase in therat population.


Rats and humans

The relationship between rats and humans has always been complex and characterized by interdependence and conflict. Rats have been companions of humankind for centuries – often as unwanted guests attracted to human settlements and resources there.

Attraction to human activities

Rats are attracted primarily by the availability of food and shelter that human environments provide. From garbage cans to warehouses to urban sewer systems, rats in human settlements find ideal conditions for foraging and nesting. This makes them a constant problem in urban and rural areas alike.

Health Risks and Diseases

Rats are carriers of numerous diseases that can be dangerous to humans, including leptospirosis, hantavirus and salmonellosis. Their presence in the vicinity of human homes can therefore pose significant health risks.

Damage to property

In addition to health risks, rats can also cause physical damage by damaging building structures, electrical cables, and insulating materials. This can lead to costly repairs and, in the worst case, fires and other serious damage.

Control and management challenges

Fighting rats often proves difficult. Because on the one hand, they multiply rapidly, and on the other hand, the intelligent animals can quickly recognize and circumvent control strategies. This requires ongoing efforts and sophisticated strategies in pest control to prevent health risks as well as damage to buildings.


The rat as a pest

Rats are known to be particularly persistent pests that can cause significant damage to human settlements and farms. In Germany and throughout Europe, the migratoryrat (Rattus norvegicus) and the house rat (Rattus rattus) in particular are a major problem. These rodents are extremely adaptable and find ideal living conditions in both urban and rural areas.

Rats are omnivores: food scraps, food scraps in garbage cans, compost heaps and pantries attract the animals. In their foraging, they can cause significant damage to food andsupplies. This can not only lead to material damage, but also to contamination of food with pathogens such as salmonella.

In urban areas, rats often find shelter in sewers, attics, and other hidden areas. The migratory rat prefers humid environments and often nestles in basements and sewer systems, while the house rat prefers dry, elevated areas such asattics. These hiding places offer them protection from predators and humans and allow them to reproduce undisturbed.

The control of rats requires a combination of preventive measures and active control methods. Preventive measures include securing food sources and closing access points to buildings. Active control methods include the use of poison bait or mechanical traps. However, because this raises ethical and hygienic concerns, gentle and modern technologies for repelling rats are increasingly being used. For example, ultrasonic devices are used to drive rodents away without polluting the environment.


Diseases transmitted by rats

Rats are known carriers of various dangerous diseases that pose significant health risks to humans. The most common rat-borne diseases include:

  • Leptospirosis: This bacterial infection is transmitted through contact with rat urine in contaminated water or soil and can lead to severe liver and kidney damage.
  • Hantavirus: Transmitted through contact with rat feces, urine or saliva, this virus can cause life-threatening respiratory diseases.
  • Salmonellosis: Rats can spread salmonella bacteria, which cause severe gastrointestinal diseases through contaminated food.
  • Rat bite fever: This disease caused by bacteria is transmitted by rat bites or contact with contaminated material and can cause fever, rash, and joint pain.
  • Plague: Historically, plague is one of the most well-known rat-borne diseases caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which is transmitted to humans via rat fleas.

What damage can rats do?

Rats cause a variety of harms that include both economic losses and health risks:

  • Structural damage: Rats gnaw on wood, plastic and electrical cables, and can cause damage to buildings and electrical systems. This can lead to short circuits and fires in severe cases.
  • Food Losses: Rats contaminate and destroy supplies, food scraps, and stockpiles, resulting in significant economic losses.
  • Pollution and hygiene problems: Rats leave feces and urine in living and working areas. This leads to poorer hygiene and contamination of private and business premises.
  • Agricultural damage: On farms, rats can cause significant damage to crops and stored feed, which can cause crop losses and increased operating costs.
  • Health risks: In addition to transmitting diseases, rats can also aggravate allergies and asthma, especially through their feces and urine.

These damages make effective rat control essential to minimize both material losses and health hazards.

Fighting rats


The control of rats requires a comprehensive strategy that includes both preventive measures and active control methods. It is important to keep the rat population under control to minimize damage to property and health risks to humans.

Here are different methods for controlling rats:

Killing rats

Killing rats is still one of the most common methods to combat an infestation. There are different methods, but all of them raise ethical concerns.

Rat Poison

Rat poison, also known as rodenticide, is a widely used method of controlling rats. It works by inhibiting blood clotting, leading to internal bleeding and eventually death of the animals. Commonly used remedies include:

  • Bromadiolone and Difenacoum: These anticoagulants work by disrupting blood clotting, resulting in slow death from internal bleeding. These active ingredients are contained in various rat baits and paste baits, which are placed in bait boxes.
  • Various poison bait: These are placed in special bait stations to prevent other animals or children from coming into contact with the poison. It is important to regularly check and renew the baits to ensure they remain effective.

Poison rats with CO2

An alternative method of killing rats with poison is to use carbon dioxide (CO2). This method is often used indoors and is considered relatively humane, as CO2 quickly stuns and kills the animals.

These special traps release carbon dioxide to stun and kill the rats. This method requires careful handling and monitoring to ensure it is safe and effective. It is therefore advisable to consult a professional.

CO2 poisoning is not only considered more humane, but also more environmentally friendly compared to chemical poisons, as it leaves no toxic residues and minimizes the risk of secondary poisoning.

Electric Rat Trap

Electric rat traps are a modern and effective way to kill rats. These traps work by delivering a fatal electric shock as soon as the rat touches the bait. Here are the main features:

  • Rapid Kill: The rat is instantly electrocuted, making the method quick and painless.
  • Reusability: Electric rat traps can be cleaned and reused after each use, making them a cost-effective solution.
  • Safety: These traps are designed to be activated only upon contact with the rat, minimizing the risk to humans and pets.

Catching rats using rat traps

Catching rats with traps is a common measure to control the rat population, especially in areas where the use of poison or chemical agents is undesirable. Rat traps are available in various designs. 

Classic Rat Trap

Classic rat traps, also called blow traps, are mechanical traps that kill rats with a quick blow. These traps have been in use for a long time and are widely used. Here are the main features:

  • How it works: The trap is activated by a bait, such as peanut butter or cheese. As soon as the rat touches the bait, a spring mechanism is triggered, causing a metal hanger to rush onto the rat, killing it immediately.
  • Pros: Classic rat traps are inexpensive, readily available, and effective at killing rats quickly. They do not leave toxic residues and minimize the risk of secondary poisoning.
  • Disadvantages: The use requires caution and regular checking to quickly remove trapped rats and repopulate the traps. In addition, these traps are not always the most humane method, as they cannot be immediately fatal if used improperly.

Live Trap

Living traps are a humane alternative to deadly traps. These traps catch rats alive, so they can be taken away afterwards. Here are the main features:

  • How it works: Live traps are cages with a disposable opening that closes as soon as the rat touches the bait. The rat is caught, but not injured.
  • Advantages: Live traps are a humane method, as the rat is not killed, but only caught. This is particularly beneficial in high-risk areas for non-target species such as pets.
  • Cons: Once caught, the rat must be removed quickly and responsibly, which requires additional effort and caution. There is also a risk that captured rats will return or infest other places.

Electric Rat Traps

Electric rat traps are a modern and effective way to kill rats. These traps work by delivering a fatal electric shock as soon as the rat touches the bait. Here are the main features:

  • How it works: Electric traps attract rats with a bait. As soon as the rat touches the metal plate, a fatal electric shock is triggered, which kills the rat immediately.
  • Pros: These traps provide a fast killing method. They are reusable, easy to clean and leave no toxic residue. In addition, they are safe for use in households, as they are only activated when in contact with the rat.
  • Disadvantages: Electric rat traps are more expensive to purchase than classic traps. They require regular checks to remove trapped rats and get the traps back up and running. In addition, killing the animals here also raises ethical concerns.


Evicting rats

Expelling rats without killing them is a humane and therefore often preferred approach to pest control. It aims to make the environment unattractive to rats so that they voluntarily leave the area.

Two of the most effective ways to expel rats are the use of deterrent odors and ultrasound equipment.

Scare off rats with smells

Odors can be an effective means of keeping rats away from certain areas. Since rats have a very sensitive sense of smell, certain scents can be extremely unpleasant for them and cause them to avoid the area.

Here are some common methods and substances that can be used to deter rats:

  • Essential oils: Fragrances such as peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil are very unpleasant for rats. These oils can be dripped onto cotton balls and placed in strategic locations to keep rats out.
  • Vinegar: The strong smell of vinegar can also scare off rats. Vinegar can be poured in small bowls or sprayed in areas where rats are suspected.
  • Ammonia: Ammonia has a very strong odor that scares off rats. It can be placed in open containers in problem areas, but should be used with caution as it can also be uncomfortable for humans and pets.
  • Mothballs: These contain chemicals that are repellent to rats. Mothballs can be placed in areas where rats are active, but should not be used near food or in inhabited spaces.
  • Cat litter: Cat litter used – especially by cats that hunt mice or rats – can act as a deterrent because the smell of cats is threatening to rats.

Eject rats with ultrasound

Dispelling rats with ultrasound - Ultrasound devices are particularly effective and at the same time one of the most gentle means of expelling rats. These devices emit high-frequency sound waves that are not audible to the human ear, but are extremely disturbing and unpleasant for rats. 

Here are some advantages and considerations for using ultrasound equipment:

  • Ultrasonic devices generate sound waves in the high frequency range, which rats find very unpleasant. These sound waves interfere with the rats' orientation and communication, forcing them to leave the area.
  • Ultrasonic devices are environmentally friendly and safe for humans and pets, as they do not use chemicals or poisons and thus do not leave toxic residues. They are safe for use in households and near children and pets, as the sound waves are audible only torodents.
  • These devices are easy to install and operate. They are usually simply plugged into an outlet and start working immediately. Some models are battery-powered and can be used flexibly in various areas.
  • Ultrasonic devices are especially effective in enclosed spaces such as basements,attics and garages. However, the sound waves can be attenuated by walls and obstacles, so it may be necessary to install several devices in large or highly subdivided rooms.
  • Ultrasonic devices are particularly gentle on animals because they trigger the natural flight reflex of rats without causing them physical harm.


Dispel rats gently with IREPELL®

IREPELL® offers an innovative solution to prevent rat infestation. The device uses ultrasound and motion sensors to ensure effective and animal-friendly rat defense – based on current scientific knowledge.


Other advantages of IREPELL® are:

  • Different defense modes: Targeted settings for different animals, including a special mode for rats.

  • Long range: Protects with a 360° shield with a far-reaching ultrasonic signal.

  • Easy to use:IREPELL ® is easy to install and can be controlled via a user-friendly app.

The simple setup and operation as well as the intuitive app make IREPELL® the ideal companion for everyday life – whether at the barbecue, on holiday, visiting friends or when a picnic is on the agenda. 

Because not only rats can be kept away. Insects such as ticks, ants, mosquitoes, moths and cockroaches as well as martens, mice or raccoons are also kept at a distance. This makes IREPELL ® a true all-rounder in gentle animal protection.


Applications of IREPELL®

  • IREPELL® can be used in apartments, houses, lofts and basements to keep rats out of living areas.

  • Companies, warehouses, restaurants and production facilities also benefit from IREPELL ® 's safe, effective, non-violent and chemical-free rat repellent.

  • On farms, IREPELL ® can help keep rats away from food supplies and stables, minimizing damage and health risks.

IREPELL® provides an advanced, humane and environmentally friendly rat repellent solution. By using ultrasonic waves, it effectively expels rats without harming them or leaving toxic residues. 

It is safe for people and pets, easy to install and can be operated both in mains mode and by battery. This makes IREPELL® an effective and flexible choice for sustainable pest control.



How to get rid of rats?

To get rid of rats, you should use a combination of prevention and active control. Seal possible access points, remove food sources and rely on traps or modern methods such as ultrasound equipment.

What to do if you have rats in the garden?

If you have rats in the garden, remove food scraps and compost heaps, and seal any possible hiding places. Use live traps or ultrasound equipment to scare the rats away and keep them out.

What to do if you have rats in the house?

If you have rats in the house, you should seal all access points. Eliminate food sources and use ultrasound devices such as IREPELL® for defense. Also, be on the lookout for signs of re-infestation on a regular basis.

Why do you get rats?

Rats are attracted to easily accessible food sources and safe havens. Open garbage cans, leftovers and unsealed buildings provide ideal conditions for rats.

What helps best against rats?

A combination of preventive measures (sealing access, removing food sources) and active control (traps, ultrasound equipment) is most effective for controlling rats.

Where do rats build their nests in the garden?

Rats prefer to nest in protected, undisturbed areas such as under stacks of wood, in compost heaps, under sheds or in dense bushes.

What keeps rats away?

Rats can be kept away by regular cleaning, safe storage of food, as well as the use of odour deterrents (e.g. peppermint oil) or ultrasound equipment.

How do you recognize a rat infestation?

Signs of rat infestation include rat droppings, traces of gnawing, walking paths, scratching noises and damaged food packaging.

What do rats like to eat most?

Rats are omnivores, but prefer grains, seeds, fruits, meat, and waste.

How to effectively control rats in the house?

Seal access points, eliminate food sources, and use a combination of impact traps, live traps, and ultrasound equipment.

Are there effective alternatives to rat poison?

Yes, effective alternatives to rat poison are live traps, hitting traps and ultrasound equipment.

Does ultrasound help against rats?

Yes, ultrasonic devices emit high-frequency sounds, which are very unpleasant for rats and drive them away. For humans, on the other hand, these sounds are not audible.

When is it called a rat infestation?

A rat infestation is when a large number of rats pose a significant threat to health and property and are difficult to control.
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