If you think you have a rat problem, it’s important you control it quickly, as rats can spread disease, contaminate food and pet feed, as well as damage your home, Alongside the health risks and damage rats can cause to your home, they breed at an exceptionally high rate. If you spot one, it’s unlikely they’re alone, so rat removal services should be sought after quickly. Rats are most active at night, so you may not see one; however, there are various signs of rats you can look out for.
Rat droppings are a key identifier of a rat infestation. They produce up to 40 droppings a night, which will often be found in concentrated locations. Brown rat droppings are dark brown and pointed, similar to a grain of rice.
Droppings are larger than those from mice and, if around the size of a rice grain or bigger, it’s likely the problem is rats.
Sighting: They’re generally nocturnal, so don’t rely on this method; however, if disturbed, you may catch one during the day.
Grease Marks: Rats have incredibly greasy fur and, due to poor eyesight, tend to run established routes through your home, leaving dark grease marks against walls and skirting boards. This identification method is most prevalent when an infestation is fairly well established; however, you shouldn’t rely on it if you have had problems in the past, as smears can remain for a while.
Footprints: In less-used areas of your home, rats will leave foot and tail marks in the dust, which you should be able to spot by shining a torch at a low angle. To check for an active infestation, sprinkle fine flour or talcum powder close to the footprints and check for tracks the next day.
Scratching Sounds: Black rats are good climbers, so they can easily access roofs, lofts and upper floors of tall buildings. Listen out for scratching sounds in the night to indicate their presence. Brown rats aren’t such skillful climbers and are more likely to be heard scurrying under decking, floorboards or sheds.
Bite Marks: As rats’ teeth don’t stop growing, they regularly gnaw at hard objects to file them down. They will chew almost anything, including wood, metal, plastic and concrete, so keep an eye out for marks.
Burrows: Brown rats build burrows next to solid objects or structures, like decking, sheds and garages, for nesting, shelter and storing food.
The bottom line, rats can pose severe health risks, spreading sickness and parasites through their droppings, urine and hair. They also have a nasty bite, so if you see one, steer clear and call in professionals.