If you had rats in your home you would want to know, right?  In fact, you might think you WOULD know if you had rats “visiting.”  You might not if you didn’t know what to look for.

We’re going to talk about five signs to look for to determine yourself whether you have rats in your home (although you could always just call us to figure that out, too!)

The other thing to think about is how concerned are you if one rat passes by and leaves some evidence and what difference it would make if you learned if was an infestation!  

If you only see rats at night—indoors or outdoors –but never during the day, the population probably has not gotten too large and can be controlled with traps and bait. It’s the daytime that you really need to worry about. If you are If you are seeing any rats during the day, even just one, or if you see more fresh droppings or new gnaw marks, you’ve got a more serious problem on your hands. The population has apparently gotten quite large and would require professional services –that would be us!

The 5 Signs You Have Rats in Your Home

Look for these signs that will help you determine whether you have a current or previous rodent infestation in your home.

1 – Rat Droppings

Whatever you call it—droppings, scat or other—a rat (or rats) will inevitably leave behind this key evidence likely near food containers, in drawers or cupboards, under the sinks, in hidden areas, and along the runways or paths along which the rats would travel. When its fresh it will be dark and moist. As it ages it will dry out, become old and gray, and will easily crumble if touched. (ICK!)

You would probably find a lot of droppings where the rats are nesting or feeding, so carefully look around the vicinity of the droppings to see if there is an active (or new) infestation.

2 – Gnaw Marks

It interesting that we can even tell the age of gnaw marks—you know, where the little critters chew away at something.  Newer gnaw marks will be lighter in color and become darker as they age. Again, these are often found on food packaging or even on the structure of the house itself, like on wood, drywall, foot boards.

If you can compare a gnaw mark you just noticed with those on a similar material that you know are older, you can learn more.  If the newly found marks are lighter in color, it could be an indication of a continuing infestation. The gnaw marks can also suggest whether you have rats or mice. Rats have larger teeth and thus, larger gnaw marks.

3 – Something Stinks

You may not smell it, but pet cats and dogs  may become active and excited in areas where rats are present. This is a result of the trace odor of rats. It would likely to occur when rats have recently arrived. If your dog or cat shows interest in a new area of the house with pawing and sniffing, get a flashlight and examine the area yourself for droppings and gnaw marks.  If you smell something stale coming from hidden areas with no other reason for odor, you might have an active infestation.

4 – Tracks and Runways

It’s usually hard to see the tracks and runways if you are not looking for them. As time passes, they fade, too. If you suspect rats in an area of your home, use a blacklight or flashlight at an angle and look for smudge marks, footprints, urine stains, or droppings.

Here’s something else you can do if you suspect an area is invaded by rats. Place a very thin layer of flour or baby powder over the area. If rats are active, you will likely see their trails and pawprints in the powder.

5 – Nest Evidence

Shredded paper, fabric, or dried leaves are favorite materials when rats  make their nests. If you find these things, even if they are not organized as you would imagine for a nest, start looking for the other evidence. If you see droppings, gnawing, a stale odor, or tracks, well, you guessed it, there is an infestation in your home.

When the Rats are “Just” in Your Yard

Rats love piles of trash, organic waste, etc. for both food and nesting. If you know you have piles like this near your home in your yard, my first advice is to get rid of them as they attract all manner of pests.  But if you are worried about rats, look for the same signs that we suggest for inside your house. If you don’t see anything, then the rats aren’t likely in your home either. 

If you are still wondering if you have rats in your home or if you see any of these signs, go ahead and call us for an inspection. We will know what to do to keep your home safe and give you peace of mind. Contact Heath Pest Control.