How to tell if you have rats in your house

Unless you see a rat run in front of you in the kitchen, you may only have an inkling that there are rats or other pests in the property. Yet you want to deal with the pest infestation as soon as possible. Here are a few ways you can tell if you have rats in your house. Note that you may only see one or several before you realize you have rats in your home.

rats in house


Rats will run around in the loft and the walls, because they don’t want to be exposed to predators. One warning sign of rats is that you hear their scratching and squeaking at night. If the noise stops and you smell something terrible, then a rat has probably died in your walls.

Visible Signs

Rats will leave their droppings in set areas they use as latrines. Rat droppings are about half an inch long and a quarter inch across. They’ll leave dozens of droppings in the same location before they move to another one. You’ll probably find these droppings behind furniture, under appliances, behind boxes and in other semi-protected spaces.

After all, the rats don’t want to be spotted and eaten by predators at their most inopportune moment. Because these droppings may be hidden for weeks or longer, they’ll dry out over time, changing from brown to grey. You may not need to panic if the droppings are old, grey and breaking down. Fresh, brown and moist means the rats were there a little while ago. And you need to call a pest control company like Ames Group.

What if the droppings are small and grey? If small, grey and grouped like rat droppings, you still need to call a pest control company to deal with the mice. If they are the size of a grain of rice and scattered around the area, including up on the wall and shelves, you have a serious cockroach problem. You may see a variety of sizes of droppings if there are both adult and juvenile mice, but you know it is rats when you see much bigger droppings than those mice produce in the mix.

Note that you may have a rodent problem if you don’t see droppings but do pick up a distinct urine smell you can’t otherwise explain.

The Marks They Leave

One possible sign of rats is brown streaks on walls as they spread dirt and grease that’s embedded in their fur. Another sign would be scratch marks on the wall. A clearer indication is gnaw marks on the wall. This is the classic mouse hole or rat hole they’ve chewed into the wall so that they can live there. Gnaw marks may show up on other things, too, like furniture.

Additional Signs

Do your dogs and cats alert at little sounds or even chase things you don’t see? They are predators, and they may be chasing mice and rats. If you see nesting like that used by a gerbil or other pet but don’t have pets like this, you probably have a rodent infestation. They’re going to get into newspaper and yard trimmings to find nesting material.