If you think you have a rat problem, it’s important you control it quickly, as rodents can spread disease, contaminate food and pet feed, as well as damage your home. 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 – Rat droppings are dark brown and the size of a grain of rice. They are commonly found in concentrated places, making them easy to spot.
Bite marks – Rats’ teeth don’t stop growing and they gnaw on objects to file them down. Look out for bite marks on anything from wood to concrete.
Movement – Rats are nocturnal and if they are in parts of your house, such as the walls or under the floorboards, you may hear them moving around.
Footprints – If you suspect you have rats, you can test by sprinkling some flour and checking the next day for footprints in the flour.
Other Ways to Identify 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: 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. They can be identified by a teeth-grinding or chattering noise, known as ‘bruxing.’
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.