A human home is the perfect breeding ground for rats. This is because it features the three essential elements for a rat to live a comfortable life: shelter, food, and water. It’s essentially paradise for these rodents compared to the unforgiving cold outside.
As harmless as they may seem, rats should not be seen as welcome guests. They can potentially carry contamination, disease, or germs into the home, and often cause more damage than you could ever imagine especially to your pantry.
While you can use the Pest Proof Nation website for some official guidance on how to keep your home safe from certain critters, there are some obvious signs of a rat infestation that you must know about. That being said, here are 5 of the most common signs that a rat infestation exists in your home.
1. Rat Droppings
One of the most obvious signs of a rat infestation in your home is the sight of rat droppings.
Also known as pellets, rat droppings are typically about half an inch long and often resemble grains of rice. They are pretty common if an infestation is occurring, and rats are known to leave around 40 droppings per night at a minimum.
Fresh droppings will be dark and moist but will quickly begin to get old and gray as they age. They can be found in many concentrated locations but are easily found near food packages, under sinks, in cupboards, and more hidden areas.
You will find the highest number of droppings where rodents are nesting, eating, or feeding, or where they spend the majority of their time. Make sure to check these locations so you can work out whether there is an active infestation. If you find lots of rat droppings, never touch them. You should always leave this for a professional to do.
2. Foul or Strange Odors
Rats give off a distinct odor that you must remain wary of. This is usually pretty musky and stale in areas where rats are present.
If you have a rat infestation, you will likely be able to smell the rat’s urine more so in areas with little to no ventilation. As the infestation grows, the amount of rodent activity and feces does too, which means the smell will also get stronger.
Investigate the area where you can smell the odors the most. You might be able to dispose of nests or clean the area, in addition to laying some traps.
If you notice lots of unnatural smells in your home, this may be the time to get a professional involved. There is nothing worse than your workplace or home being compromised by these sorts of smells!
3. Scratching Noises
Rats tend to make their way into the home through pipes and cracks. As a result, you can expect attics, basements, and garages to act as prime passageways into the home for rats.
But before you manage to catch sight of any rats, you will likely hear scuttling and scurrying in particular areas of your home.
If you hear some strange or unusual noises coming from your walls, it may be a sign that you could have a rat infestation.
Rats are nocturnal so these noises may be more common during the night. They also take any opportunities to find food when the house is a lot quieter so you will likely hear them moving around when you are lying in bed and settling down for the night.
They may scurry around pet food supplies, cluttered storage spaces, or even near your pantry. Wherever a rat can smell food, that’s where it will be!
Like damaged food packaging, gnaw marks are another visible sign of a rat infestation in your home. A rat’s teeth never stop growing and they will continuously need to sharpen their teeth on just about every surface that they can.
Because of this, they will continue to gnaw on areas of a household such as walls, pipes, furniture, and electrical cables. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for water or fire damage to occur in homes because of a rat’s gnawing!
Gnaw marks can be hard to spot at first glance. However, if you look closely at the areas where rats are likely to dwell, you will notice more telltale signs of a rat infestation.
Keep an eye out for bite marks or shredding that is close to the ground on furniture, insulation, plastic, bedding, or cardboard, for example. In your pantry, check every item such as cookies and flour to find signs of gnawing or holes.
5. Nesting Material
Finally, if you happen to find nesting materials all around your home, it is a clear sign that a rat infestation exists.
Gnawing and chewing marks around your home could be a major sign that rats have been foraging to collect some materials that can be used for nests. Rats are known to build some of the simplest nests out of anything that they can get their little paws on.
They will happily bite off bits of fabric, paper, and insulation and then drag them into remote corners of your home to make their nests. Sometimes, they will make their way through insulation and into walls to build their nests.
A rat’s nest will look like nothing much to you at first glance. If you happen to find droppings, tracks, or dirt marks nearby the area, these are some clear signs that you are near a rat’s nest!
If you witness any of these signs in your home, there is a chance that you have a rat infestation! While it’s not something to be extremely concerned about, you should enlist the help of a pest control expert to get things back under control.
The straightforward solution to a rat infestation in your home is prevention. Make sure to keep your entire home as clean as you possibly can, and never leave scraps or food lying around where rats can easily access them.