10 Telltale Signs of a Rat Infestation

There is nothing more unpleasant than having an unwanted visitor in your home. It’s no wonder that the home security systems market is expected to be worth $78.9 billion by 2025. Feeling safe in your own home is a priority for many. 

But what about unwanted visitors who aren’t deterred by the latest home security system? Or visitors who can squeeze into small spaces and don’t have to worry about setting off any alarms? 

Rat infestations can damage your home, your possessions, and your well-being–not to mention your peace of mind when hanging out in your home.

Rats are known to bring disease. When in your home, they will shred whatever materials are available to them to make nests. Plus they can bring quite a scare to unsuspecting people when they suddenly make themselves visible.

But how do you know if you have unwanted rats in your home? And what are the telltale signs of a rat infestation? 

As experts in the pest control industry, we have a lot of experience with rodent control. If you sense you have a rat infestation, read on to learn ten telltale signs of a rat infestation. 

1. Appearance

The easiest way to determine if you have a rat infestation problem is by seeing them. They are good at making themselves invisible, but you still may catch sight of them. You also may find dead rats in your home, which is another obvious indicator.

If you aren’t sure if you saw a rat or a mouse, there are some obvious differences. A rat has smaller ears than a mouse as well as a shorter tail relative to its body size. A rat’s feet and head are also larger relative to its body size. 

There are different types of rats as well. If you want to distinguish what type of rodent you might have spotted, here is a helpful guide.

2. Rat Droppings

You may discover rat droppings in your home, which is another telltale sign of a rat infestation. Rat droppings will typically be found in concentrated areas as rats don’t wander far from their nests. They are dark brown and can resemble a grain of rice in shape.

Rat droppings are typically much larger than mouse droppings.

Rodent droppings can be harmful because they can spread disease. If you find any, be sure to use gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after handling.

3. Urine Odors

An unknown urine odor in your home is another telltale indicator of rats. Rat urine smells like any animal urine, so if you smell an ammonia-like odor it may be a sign of rats. Rat urine is often also described as smelling musky. 

Like their feces, a rat’s urine can carry diseases, so be cautious when cleaning.

4. Scratching Noises 

Rodents are nocturnal, so you will typically hear them at night. Scratching sounds in the walls or ceiling can be an indicator of a rat infestation. They may be running inside the walls or across the floors in search of food.

5. Gnawed Holes

Finding gnawed holes in your home can be another obvious indicator of a rat infestation. Typically about the size of a quarter, the holes will have rough edges where they were torn with the rat’s teeth. 

Mouse holes are smaller in comparison, about the size of a dime. They also have smoother edges. 

6. Damage

Rats have teeth that are constantly growing. As a result, they have to gnaw on hard materials like plastic or wood to keep them filed down. If you notice any gnaw marks, it may be a sign of an unwanted visitor. 

Often the rats will be doing damage to your attic without you knowing. They may rip up insulation, chew through beams, or even gnaw at electrical wires. Electrical wire damage is a particular issue because it could cause a fire or power outage.

Additionally, they may rip open food packaging and leave visible teeth marks in the process.

7. Nests

Roof rats will rip up any soft materials to create a nest for themselves. This includes cardboard, insulation, paper, and string. 

Rats typically nest in warm, hidden places that are close to a food source. You may find a nest under your kitchen appliances or in your attic. The nests may contain baby rats.

8. Burrows

Brown rats will create burrow systems as shelter and food storage outside of your home. You may find burrows under decking, in your garage, under compost heaps, or under your shed. Rat burrows are typically 2-3 inches wide with smooth edges.

9. Rat Tracks

Rat tracks are another indicator of a rat infestation. Rats have four-toed front feet and five-toed back feet. If you see small footprints tracking through dusty or muddy locations, they may be rat tracks. 

You can also look for rat tracks outside of a suspected burrow.

10. Unusual Pet Behavior

If your pet is behaving unusually, it could be a sign that you have some unwanted visitors in your home.

Dogs can often sense rats. They may smell something or hear the rats inside the walls. When they do, they will often behave in unusual ways. Your dog may scratch or scrape the floor, or bark, whine, growl, stare or sniff at the area they sense the rats

Despite popular cultural references about cats killing rats, cats and rats are actually more likely to ignore one another. While having a cat may cause the rats to avoid coming out in the open, it cannot be a surefire way to assume that you do not have a rat control problem. This is more due to rats being overly cautious than any real danger a cat may pose. 

Do You Have a Rat Infestation?

Using these telltale signs of a rat infestation, you can now determine if you have any unwanted visitors in your home.

If you discover that you have rats that you need to get rid of, we are here to help. We provide the best pest control customer care in Utah and Colorado. 

Contact us for a free inspection and we will help you get rid of your unwanted pests!

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