Seeing a rat on your property — or worse, inside your home — can make anybody panic and want to jump onto the nearest chair. But how do you know if this uninvited guest is a one-time visitor you can get rid of yourself, or if you need to call a rat exterminator? The answer lies in learning how to spot the signs of rodent infestation.
Signs of Gnawing or Chewing
Because rat’s teeth are always growing, they chew on all sorts of things to keep their tooth length under control. Suppose you notice gnaw marks on metal, wood, glass, wiring, cinder blocks, furniture, or the most obvious place: food packages. These are all red flags that a call to a rat exterminator is in order.
Rat stools are about three-quarters of an inch long, rectangular, and somewhat blunt on the ends. If your home has a rat infestation, you’ll see these droppings grouped together. (Note: For differentiation, mice droppings are only one-quarter of an inch in length and have pointed ends.)
Nesting Material and Debris
Like mice, rats make nests in hidden spaces in homes, garages, attics, under eaves, etc. If you’re finding bits of insulation, cardboard, fabric, and other soft materials, especially near rat poo, this is another indication rats have taken up residence.
While rats may not always leave footprints or trails, you can check for them by sprinkling some talc on the floor in the area where you suspect rodent activity. The next morning, you can inspect to see if the rats have walked across it.
Because they’re such excellent chewers, rats can make holes two to four inches in diameter in your home’s walls. Each one of these holes contains a nest that can harbor between one to five rats.