America has a rat problem. About 11% of U.S. homes report seeing signs of mice or rats in living areas. And the rat population has increased in major cities the past few years, thanks to unusually warm winters allowing rats to breed more.
We don’t need to tell you that having rats living in your home is unpleasant, not to mention potentially dangerous. Rats can carry diseases and cause damage to residences.
But how can you tell if your home is being used as a rat hotel? Here are five signs of a rat infestation that all homeowners should be aware of.
1. You’re Finding Rat Droppings
Rat droppings have their own distinctive shape compared to other animals that can help you identify their presence in their home. If you see dark brown droppings with tapered ends (like a large grain of rice) that’s a telltale sign of rats.
You’ll also see their droppings concentrated in the same areas. Rats poop a lot—one rodent can produce up to 40 droppings overnight. They may show up behind a stove or in the basement.
2. You’re Finding Nests
Comparing something messy to a “rat’s nest” isn’t just a saying. The rodents will take whatever soft material they can get their paws on to build their bedding. If you find concentrated piles of shredded cardboard, newspaper, insulation, and other soft fibers in a haphazard pile, you probably have a rat problem on your hands.
3. You See Dark Rub Marks
Rats tend to use the same routes when moving from one part of your home to another. As a result, you may see dark-colored trails along walls and other areas. The marks are caused by grime, grease, and fur accumulating on these surfaces as the rats conduct their business at night.
4. You Can Hear Them
This is perhaps the eeriest sign that you have rats, but you can hear them making scratching, scurrying, or squeaking noises at night, usually within walls. Black rats, in particular, like to climb which is why they’re often referred to as roof rats. They’re a common pest across the southern United States.
Brown rats actually grind their teeth so loudly you may be able to hear it.
5. You Find Signs of Gnawing
Rats like to chew, and anything from cardboard food boxes to air ducts is their target. If you find containers and wooden objects with chewed up areas, rats may be to blame.
Know These Signs of a Rat Infestation
Rats are nocturnal creatures, so it’s possible to have them living in your home without actually seeing one. That’s why it’s important to know these top five signs that you have a rat infestation. Even if you don’t see any signs, it’s a good idea to follow these rat prevention tips to keep them away.
We Help Control Rat Populations
Do you think you have a rat problem in your home? We can help!
Schedule an appointment with us and we’ll check your home for signs of a rat infestation. We can also recommend tips going forward to keep rats from reentering your residence.