cartoon of mouse driving a car

Addressing the Dilemma of a Rat in Your Car

Rats are prone to invade any number of spaces that are under the natural province of humans. These include:

  • Homes
  • Businesses
  • Other buildings (barns, storage units, etc.)
  • Automobiles

If you find yourself facing a situation in which a rat has worked its way into your automobile, you may understandably find yourself in something of a dilemma. Like virtually any person in such a situation, you may not have a clear idea of what you should do to get a rat out of your car and otherwise rectify the situation you find yourself in.

There actually are a pair of common scenarios involving a rat (or mouse) that has found its way into a vehicle:

  • First, there is a situation in which a rat has very recently ended up in a vehicle. In other words, a rat has “just” entered the vehicle in the past day or so.
  • Second, there is a scenario in which a rat has taken up nesting in a vehicle that has not been operated for a more extended period of time.

Each of these situations necessitates a different response in order to rid an automobile or other vehicle of a rat.

Rat in a Vehicle for a Very Short Time

If a rat has ended up in a car you own that is used regularly, you may have an easier time getting it out of the vehicle. The reality is that rats and mice want to find a place to nest in which they will not be disturbed. A motor vehicle that you regularly use is not such a location.

When a rat has only recently entered your car (“just now”), the animal is not going to want to remain and is very likely looking for a way to get out. The solution may prove to be fairly simple on one level. You may be able to get a rat out of your car in this type of situation by leaving the doors open.

With that said, you do not want to do this while your vehicle is the garage. If you take that approach, you may get the rodent out of your car; however, the rat may quickly make its way into your house or find a snug, quiet place to nest in your garage. Thus, you will want to move the car outside and then open the doors to give the rat a chance to vacate.

Keep in mind that a rat is more likely to depart under these circumstances under the darkness of night. Rodents primarily are nocturnal animals and they feel more secure moving about at night.

If the rat doesn’t budge (which frankly isn’t that likely), you can attempt to eliminate it through the use of a snap trap set in the vehicle. This is not necessarily an ideal course of action for a number of reasons which are discussed in greater detail in the next section.

Rat in a Vehicle for an Extended Period of Time

You may be like some individuals and have a vehicle that you don’t often drive. If a rat (or mouse) migrates into this type of vehicle, the rodent is likely to take up residence and build a nest. Unfortunately, the critter might chew up the seats and other components of your car’s interior to create its nest.

In such a situation, a rat may be more resistant to departing. Opening the doors at nightfall may not be enough to entice the animal to depart.

You can consider placing a snap trap in an open space in the vehicle. However, a good number of rodents don’t fiddle with snap traps, even when smartly baited. In addition, the potential exists for an uncomfortable mess if you do succeed at snagging a car-based rat in a snap trap.

You might want to give serious consideration to engaging a professional to assist you in removing a rat that has taken up residence in your automobile. Such a specialist has the experience, tools, and supplies necessary to more effectively eliminate a rat from your vehicle.

Biohazards and a Rat in a Car

A rat in a car raises the specter of biohazards within the vehicle. When a rat ends up in a vehicle, the animal will commence to defecate and urinate inside the automobile. Not only does this create a challenging mess to eliminate, the potential for the presence of dangerous biological substances, or biohazards, also exists.

The reality is that rat droppings and urine can contain what are known as dangerous pathogens, viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms that have the potential for causing serious and even fatal illnesses in humans. Some of these pathogens can become airborne when rat droppings dry and crumble (which happens easily). Trying to clean this type of biowaste out of the interior of a car can rather easily expose a person undertaking the task to airborne viruses, if the droppings are contaminated with pathogens like hantavirus.

Any person who is going to attempt to address rat dropping cleanup in a vehicle must wear appropriate personal protective equipment. This includes:

  • Tyvek suit
  • Protective eyewear
  • Gloves
  • Respirator or mask

Because of the cleaning challenges, and the very real health risk, you might want to give strong consideration to hiring an experienced rat droppings cleaning professional or biohazard remediator to address an issue of rat feces and urine in your car. This particularly is the case if a rat has nested in a vehicle for more than several days.