What are the Signs of Rat Infestations?

What are the Signs of Rat Infestations?

Learn the Signs of a Rat Infestation in a House, How to Eliminate the Infestation, and Prevent Future Infestations

Unfortunately, beautiful Boston, Massachusetts, regularly makes it onto lists of the top rat-infested cities in the United States, but these disease-ridden pests don’t just affect homes in big cities.

Homeowners and renters throughout the entire New England area also grapple with rat infestations, specifically the Norway rat.

Rats may live in a home without ever making an appearance. In fact, it’s not uncommon to remain clueless about their presence until there’s a severe rat infestation in the house or yard. Knowing the signs to watch for and steps to take to get rid of rats and prevent future infestations is essential to reclaiming a home.

Signs of Rats in Houses

The sooner a person realizes rats are moving in, the better.

Rats reproduce quickly, with gestation periods of only 21 to 23 days. Females go back into heat a mere 48 hours after having their litters. Each female can have an average of more than 80 pups every year.

That’s a large rat family that can spiral out of control quickly.

Knowing the signs to watch for can help homeowners spot rat infestations faster. That means they can call for professional rodent control faster to reclaim the house and keep rats out for good.

Rat Odors

Rats leave behind a strong, foul stink with a musty quality. The odor is made worse by the large volume of urine and droppings they tend to drag their bodies through as they move around the house. 


Anyone who has ever experienced a rodent infestation can attest to the mess these critters leave behind. Piles of shiny, black droppings ranging from a half-inch to three-quarters-of-an-inch wide are a sure sign that rats have moved in.

Chewed Food Packaging

One of the primary reasons rats enter homes is to find food, particularly during New England’s cold winter months. Rats are naturally drawn to food items and aren’t shy about ripping open packaging to get what they want.

Gnawed Objects

Rats have strong teeth that continually grow. That means they need to gnaw on objects to keep the length of their teeth in check. They will gnaw on anything from wood to furniture to insulation to wires.

Dark, Greasy Tracks

Rats have oily fur that leaves a residue behind. Additionally, they tend to use the same path to get in and out of their nests, leaving a telltale accumulation on walls, siding, baseboards, and flooring.

A Rat Sighting

Spotting a rat inside a home means the odds are high that there is an infestation in the house. Rats tend to be more active at night, when many people report hearing scurrying and scratching in the ceilings and walls.

Signs of Rats in Yards

Outdoors, rats look for sheltered areas to build their nests. Common areas include spots near bushes, gardens, planters, tree beds, buildings, sheds, and greenways. Rat burrows consist of intricate underground tunnels. Additionally, owners should watch for the following clues:

  • Fresh droppings
  • Gnaw marks
  • Worn paths in grass and vegetation
  • Excessive garbage and clutter
  • Live rats

Eliminating Rat Infestations

Locating rats and ensuring they are thoroughly removed from the house can be a significant challenge.

Rats tend to nest in basements, crawlspaces, walls, attics, and other hard-to-reach areas. The most effective way to eliminate rat infestations relies on using a multi-step approach, starting with removing rats from the property. It’s equally essential to clean, disinfect, and sanitize the affected areas.

But that’s still only part of the solution. To ensure these critters — and many others, can’t find their way inside the home in the future is vital.

Points of entry will need to be sealed — like gaps, cracks, and other small openings. Although do-it-yourself efforts can work as a temporary solution, installing our Cat-Guard Exclusion System, is the only permanent solution to keep rats out.

Comprised of three levels, Upper Cat-Guard, Lower Cat-Guard, and Trench Guard, each system is designed to protect the home from nuisance wildlife critters like rats, squirrels, mice, bats, birds, and so much more.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Know If You Have a Rat Infestation?

Seeing a rat inside the house isn’t the only way to know that a rat infestation exists. Droppings and gnaw marks are other warning signs. Finding food items, debris, and packaging that’s been inexplicably tampered with may also serve as clues.

What are the Six Signs of Rat Infestations?

In general, six key signs of rat infestations in houses include:

  1. Odors
  2. Droppings
  3. Tracks or greasy smears
  4. Gnaw marks
  5. Food and packaging messes
  6. Rat sightings

What Does a Rat Infestation Smell Like?

Rats leave a strong, musky odor in their wake. Droppings and urine accumulate wherever rats go, adding a sewer-like stench along the way.

How Many Rats do I Have?

As a general rule, there are approximately eight rats for every three burrows. This can add up to a significant number of rats rather quickly.

Eliminate Rat Infestations with Catseye Pest Control

Rat infestations aren’t a problem that can be taken lightly. Rats breed quickly, which means homeowners need to act fast. The most effective and reliable solution is professional pest control by a trusted, experienced company.

Catseye has more than 30 years of experience. Skilled technicians take an integrated pest management approach to pest control. They have expertise in wildlife removal and exclusion, disinfection, and minor repairs of the damage pests leave behind.

With Catseye, you get a free in-depth inspection and a customized treatment plan. Professionals will recommend preventive measures indoors and outside to help keep your home rat-free.

Are you ready to kick rats out of your house for good? Contact Catseye today to schedule a free inspection.

The post What are the Signs of Rat Infestations? appeared first on Catseye Pest Control.

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