Can Rats Chew Through A PVC Pipe?

by Derrick | Last Updated: September 11, 2022

Rats are one of the worst household pests. They can damage your property and might spread disease. But will rats be able to chew through a PVC pipe ?

Yes. Rats have strong teeth and a powerful bite force. This ensures that they are capable of chewing through rigid materials, like PVC pipe. Because they can smell water through the plastic, rats might be more likely to target pipes.

PVC pipes might be known for their rugged nature, but they won’t be able to stop a hungry rat. If you aren’t careful, this can lead to many problems, including burst pipes and water damage. Keep reading to learn more about how rodents can affect PVC pipes and get tips on protecting your home.

Are Rat Teeth Strong Enough To Cut Through Plastic?

Rats are known for their impressive cutting power, with the power to chew their way through a range of materials. The secret to this ability lies in the hardness of their teeth. This is rated according to the Mohs Scale, where rat teeth have a hardness of 5.5. To put this into perspective, diamond, one of the strongest substances on the planet, is a 10.

Furthermore, they can use these teeth to clamp down hard when chomping. It’s estimated that rats can exert 6,000 pounds per square inch (PSI) in comparison; a saltwater crocodile can slam their mouths shut with 3,700 PSI.

Because of this, they can cut through a wide range of materials. This includes PVC pipes. Though a thicker pipe might take them a little longer, they will eventually get through.

There are a few other materials that rats can cut through, this includes:

  • Plastic
  • Bricks
  • Unhardened concrete
  • Wood
  • Copper

The chewing power of rats isn’t just theoretical. Many people have experienced rats chomping through their pipes. Sometimes, they have caused thousands of dollars worth of damage, as they cause burst water pipes.

If the pipe contains electrical wiring, they might also chew through the copper and sever your communications. 

What Materials Can’t A Rat Chew Through?

While a rat won’t have any problem chewing through PVC plastic, there are a few materials they won’t be able to chew through. These include:

  • Concrete, though they might be able to pass through any cracks to gain entrance to your house.
  • Stone
  • Hard metals, like steel

Why Do Rats Chew On Pipes?

Rats are reasonably likely to chew on PVC pipes, with multiple people reporting this as the cause of damage to their property. There are a few things that attract rats to PVC pipes. Some of these reasons include:

  • Open-rooted dentition. This term means that the rat’s teeth will constantly be growing. Because of this, they will need to constantly be chewing something to grind their teeth down to a manageable size.
  • Availability. If a rat can get into your house, it won’t have any issues getting into your walls. Even if there is a small hole, they can squeeze themselves through. Once in, they will have easy access to the PVC pipes.
  • Thirst. Rats have a keen sense of smell. They might choose to target a pipe because they are thirsty and looking for a reliable water source. Furthermore, some types of rat poisons have been known to make rodents thirstier, making them more likely to target PVC pipes.

How To Stop Rats From Chewing Through PVC Pipes?

It can help to put a metal grate around the pipe, as rats can’t chew through hard metals. Also, owners should be vigilant about rats, calling an exterminator if they detect signs of rats. Lastly, precautions, like using rat repellent, should be taken to stop vermin from entering the home.

Rats chewing through pipes can cause thousands of dollars in damage. The good news is that you can do a few simple things to prevent this.

First, you might want to place a metal grill over the pipe. This should stop the rats from accessing it. However, you will need to monitor this grate. If left outside, it might become corroded and start to wear away. If this happens, the rats can access the pipe.

Next, if you hear signs of rats in the walls, it’s time to take action to reduce the population. You can try poisoning or trapping them yourself. But rats can breed rapidly, which makes it hard to get them under control. Because of this, you should consider calling a professional exterminator.

Sometimes, you might be unsure if there is a rat problem. In this case, small cameras can be placed on the walls. These will be able to detect signs of rat activity, including droppings, scratching, and signs of chewing.

While waiting for an exterminator to deal with the infestation, you might want to lay out a small container of water. This can help reduce the damage, as thirsty rats don’t have to chew through your pipes to get a drink.

Lastly, you should stop them from being able to access your home in the first place. There are a few simple ways you can deter these animals; these include:

  • Patch cracks and holes. You might find small cracks in the exterior walls of your home. These can act as an entry point for rodents.
  • Keep the yard clean. Rats can find it hard to cross significant open ground , as they will be exposed to predators. Yard clutter and long grass can provide a place for rats to high, making your home more attractive.
  • Use rat repellents. Rats are sensitive to smells. So, the unattractive smell created by rat repellents can be enough to keep them away from your pipes.

Final Thoughts

Rats can prove to be a serious problem for homeowners. If they are on your property, there is a strong chance that they will target PVC pipes, which can end up causing huge leaks. The good news is that a few simple preventative measures should be enough to keep rats out.