Community Rat Education Kit NOW AVAILABLE

Help Eugene prevent and control our rat population

Rat prevention and control is important in order to prevent:

  • Public health risk
  • Damage to property
  • Rapid rodent overpopulation

We must all work together to solve this issue as your actions will impact your neighbors and community.

How to identify if you have a problem:

rat_droppings on the ground

  • Droppings are typically the easiest way to identify a rodent problem. Mouse droppings are smaller, like black grains of rice.
  • You might also see rats, hear rat squeaking, hissing or chattering noises, or find chewed up material. Outside there may be burrows or runways.

How to get rid of rodents (scroll below for in depth recommendations):

  • Remove their food source and place to live.
  • Eliminate the rodents you have through trapping or professional help.
  • Keep them out of your house by preventing access.
  • Don’t let your yard become a nesting zone by removing excess debris and garbage.

Backyard Farming and Composting can contribute to the rodent and rat problem by providing an unwitting food source for the animals.

  • Chicken and pet food must be kept in an animal proof container.
  • Uneaten food must be swept up and disposed of each evening, or after each feeding.
  • Use a rodent proof compost bin with a tight fitting lid.

Who to contact for help if you see rats or rodents:

  • On public property or in or near the sewers:
    • City of Eugene Public Works – 541-682-4800
  • On private property (residential or a non-food business/institution)
    • City of Eugene Code Compliance – 541-682-5819
  • At or near a food related business or institution
    • Lane County Public Health – 541-682-4480

How to Get Rid of Rodents

Step One: Take Away Their Food

Rodents will eat anything. You must get rid of their food to get rid of them. Common food sources include:

  • Bird food/feeders
  • Pet food/chicken feed
  • Garbage
  • Pet waste
  • Backyard compost that has not been rodent-proofed
  • Fallen fruit from trees or unharvested produce from gardens

Local Resources for extra fallen fruit:

Step 2: Eliminate Them

mousetrap against a wall

  • Trapping  is the preferred method for eliminating rodents indoors and outdoors. Snap traps are inexpensive and effective. Peanut butter usually works as bait.
  • Set the trap in the area with the most rodent activity. Rodents tend to run along walls, so place traps next to a wall, fence line or foundation.
  • To keep children, pets and other animals safe from traps, use tamper-resistant bait stations.
  • Poisoning is NOT an ideal way to eliminate rodents, but is sometimes necessary. Poison is not recommended for indoor use, as rodents can die inside walls and smell.
  • Rodent poisons (rodenticides) are also harmful to animals and pets, so use carefully. Always use a secured bait station to keep poisons away from children, pets, and other animals.

Step 3: Keep Them Out of Your House


  • Small openings in homes, buildings and sheds must be sealed to prevent rodents from entering.
  • Check for openings where pipes or wires enter the building, under eaves, and around foundations, doors and windows. Use cement, 1/4 inch steel hardware cloth (wire mesh, pictured), or steel wool and spray foam to seal openings.
  • Seal crawl spaces and attics to prevent rodent access.
  • Trim back overhanging branches around house to reduce roof rat access
  • Rodents often enter through open doors and gaps in weather stripping, un-screened windows and pet doors. Install weather stripping to limit access. Choose a self-closing pet door that’s designed to keep pests out.

Step 4: Keep Them Out of Your Yard

Don’t let your yard be a nesting zone for rodents. Rats will nest in:

  • Outdoor piles of garbage and junk.
  • Under wood piles or lumber. Stack wood piles 18 inches off the ground.
  • Under blackberry bushes, shrubs, vines and tall grasses that are not trimmed or cut back.
  • Persistent holes in your parking strip, under the sidewalk or front yard. These holes may be a sign of a broken sewer pipe where rats could be gaining access to your home or sewer lines.  If you see rats in or near the sewer you can call Eugene Public Works at 541-682-4800.

What can I do about rats coming from my neighbor’s property?

You may want to consider first addressing your neighbor or the property owner on a personal, neighbor-to-neighbor basis.

Contact the City of Eugene:

  • On public property or in or near the sewers:
    • Eugene Public Works – 541-682-4800
  • On private property (residential or a non-food business/institution)
    • Eugene Code Compliance – 541-682-5819

At or near a food related business or institution:

  • Lane County Public Health – 541-682-4480

Concerns about unsafe or unsanitary conditions in an urban campsite may be reported to the City of Eugene:

  •     On Private Property - Code Compliance 541-682-5819 or email
  •    On Public Property – Public Works 541-682-4800 or online here

Step 5: Get Professional Help

You may need to contact a pest professional if you have a bad infestation. 

Step 6: Clean Up After an Infestation

Follow these procedures to reduce your risk of exposure. These are recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Remember that bleach can stain surfaces and that cleaning chemicals can be harmful if misused. ALWAYS follow labeled instructions.
  • NEVER dry sweep or vacuum a rodent infested area. ALWAYS use wet cleaning methods.
  • ALWAYS wear rubber gloves, long sleeves, protective eyewear and a dust mask when cleaning. This will help protect you from contamination, and from coming in contact with potentially harmful chemicals.
  • A 10 parts water to 1 part chlorine bleach solution or a household disinfectant can be used to clean up contaminated areas.
  • Put on gloves, then spray dead rodent with disinfectant.
  • With gloves still on, pick up the rodent, place it in a bag and seal it. Place the bag in another bag and seal it. Put the bag in a covered outdoor trash can that is regularly emptied.
  • When you’re done cleaning, wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap, and dry with paper towels. Launder your clothes normally.

More about cleaning up after a rodent infestation

Helpful Resources