Duct tape is one of the few items on Earth that might be able to solve everything. However, it may not be able to keep rats out very well.
Rats can chew through duct tape. A rat’s jaws are powerful enough to chew through duct tape easily. In some cases, multiple layers of duct tape could prevent rats from chewing through, but rats can chew past aluminum, wood, vinyl, and in some cases, concrete.
So, just how strong are the jaws of a rat that they can easily chew through duct tape, and should you even consider trying to use it?
Why Rats Can Chew Through Duct Tape
Yes, rats can chew through duct tape, quite easily in-fact. Duct tape is known all across the land as being a solution for literally just about everything.
Suppose your boat is sinking: throw some duct tape on it. Burning lava coming through the siding on your house? A layer of duct tape should patch that right up.
You get the picture.
However, if you’re trying to use duct tape to keep rats at bay, you may find some trouble there.
This is because rats have EXTREMELY powerful jaws. I always knew they were pretty strong and could easily chew through vinyl. Still, after talking with some of my contractor friends, one had stated that rats could chew through concrete if they weren’t appropriately treated (another point on why you should hire the right contractor.)
Be it vinyl, wood, sheetrock, or even brick, and in some cases, rats can chew through it.
So next begs the question – where are you trying to keep them out of?
You may have a pet rat that you’re allowing to roam free around your house, and they’re scurrying along your floor and chewing through your baseboards, or you may have a shed or basement that rats keep finding their way into.
If rats are determined enough, they can chew through a substantial amount of things, including duct tape. This is because their jaws are extremely powerful, and they have the ability to both chew and gnaw (using their back and front teeth.)
By gnawing, rats can essentially use their front teeth to break through a barrier like duct tape. Once the material is in their mouth, they can simply chew to break it down.
FYI – if you have a rat problem, contact our nationwide network of pest control pros! We’ll connect you with a local exterminator in your area in seconds for free. Scheduling through our partner network helps support pestpointers.com and the free content we provide – so thank you tons!
Should You Use Duct Tape To Keep Rats Out?
Next, comes the final question – should you use duct tape to keep rats out?
If you have a rat pet that is only running around, you don’t want them chewing on duct tape.
Furthermore, you more than definitely shouldn’t try to rely on duct tape to keep rats out of your expensive home, where they can cause all sorts of electrical and structural damage to your house.
Picture this scenario:
You find a hole in the vinyl siding of your house, which gives an entry point to a rat (not to mention a whole bunch of other critters and pests.)
The small hole is in an inconspicuous area, and you just spent a ton of money putting in a new water heater. Instead of getting a replacement piece of vinyl, which is super inexpensive anyways, comparatively, you slap a few layers of duct tape on the hole for the time being.
OK, I probably could have used a MUCH better example than vinyl because that’s relatively easy to replace and pretty cheap. However, it isn’t easier to install and less expensive than duct tape 😉
The point being, if you leave that duct tape there and a rat or other critter gets the slightest hint of a warm/damp shelter that may or may not have food, they’re going to try their darnedest to make it through your home crafted barrier.
What Should You Use Instead To Keep Rats Out?
We recently wrote a great article about nine simple tips to rat-proof your garage – If that’s your problem area, I highly recommend checking that one out.
If not, I will go over some simple preventative tips that you can use besides duct tape to keep rats at bay and away from your home.
- Make sure that your property is a terrible living space for rats.
This first tip is essential across any rat or mouse repelling situation. You need to make sure that your home is not a rat or critter friendly. This means keeping your free-range debris on the outside of your property to a minimum and keeping your grass trim.
The point is to eliminate any areas where rats could potentially hide.
If you have a woodpile, wrap it tight! Rats love to take shelter in dark places, and woodpiles make that relatively easy for them.
You may be thinking, “why do I need to do these things on the OUTSIDE of my home?”
Well, if we can make it so that rats don’t want even to get close to your home in the first place, then your home will be much less likely to be invaded by them. You can also utilize scents that rats hate that smell good and keep them away!
2. Make sure there are no holes or cracks in the side of your home/building
Since you landed on this article, this problem might be apparent for you and where you thought that duct tape could play a solution.
Give your house and building a good once over and make sure that there are no cracks anywhere to be found. If you have a crack or hole, figure out just how you can fill it as soon as possible, as rats aren’t the only critter that would love to make it into your home.
3. Make sure that trees aren’t touching the side of your house.
OK – this one, what? Hear me out.
Rats can climb, and quite well, I might add. If you have branches touching the side of your house, rats will be able to find a potential entry point much more effortless.
Not just rats, but squirrels too. You don’t want either living in your attic, so it’s a good and plausible idea to cut back on any branches that you’ve got hanging around.
4. Use rat traps!
As a last layer of defense, you should have some rat traps away from sensitive, less obvious areas of your home. If rats make it into your home or building, then a rat trap could go a long way into making sure that they cannot last long before multiplying rapidly and taking shelter.
Last time I bring it up 🙂 If these tips seem like a lot to handle, call our nationwide network of exterminators. We’ll connect you to a pest control pro in your area for free. Using our partner network helps support pestpointers.com and keeps the lights on! Thank you bunches.
How Do I Know If a Rat Has Tried To Chew Through My Home?
Rats chewing and gnawing is quite noticeable. It sounds like super heavy scratching and gives a bit of reverb through the material that’s being penetrated.
If you don’t notice it by sound, you’ll be able to see the areas where a rat has chewed if you’re able to pinpoint the problem area.
If a rat has chewed through wires, you may not hear that noise as the wires are insulated and tend to be a bit quieter. Something like brick, drywall, and vinyl siding is where you will more than likely hear a rat.
That’s a Wrap!
Well, from the bottom of my heart – I hope you DON’T have a rat infestation. Those suck. If you’ve got a few pesky critters entering your home, I hope you’ve gotten some great tips on why NOT to use duct tape. Happy rat repelling!
Chmiel Jr, D. J., & Noonan, M. (1996). Preference of laboratory rats for potentially enriching stimulus objects. Laboratory animals, 30(2), 97-101.
Patrick, S. L., Walker, J. M., Perkel, J. M., Lockwood, M., & Patrick, R. L. (1993). Increase in rat striatal extracellular dopamine and vacous chewing produced by two σ receptor ligands. European journal of pharmacology, 231(2), 243-249.
HIIEMAE, K. (1971). The structure and function of the jaw muscles in the rat (Rattus norvegicus L.) III. The mechanics of the muscles. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 50(1), 111-132.
Horowitz, S. L., & Shapiro, H. H. (1955). Modification of skull and jaw architecture following removal of the masseter muscle in the rat. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 13(2), 301-308.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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