7 Signs of a Rat Infestation

While all pests can make your skin crawl, rats might be one of the worst. Aside from their less than desirable behaviors, they also spread disease and parasites, especially in large numbers.

There are several signs of rat infestations that may indicate that you have got a problem and need a professional rat control service. In this article, we will share the 7 common signs of a rat infestation.

7 Signs of a Rat Infestation

You Can See Them!

Ok, we know what you are thinking. One rat doesn’t equal an infestation.

On the contrary…

If you have spotted a rat, this is an excellent sign that you might have a bigger problem.


Rats tend to be nocturnal and only come out at night. If you have seen rats during the day, this is a sure sign that their nest has become overcrowded, and members are being forced out to find a new home!

1. Droppings

Rat’s have appalling toilet hygiene, and when they’ve got to go, they’ve got to go!

Rat droppings are fairly easy to spot and easily identifiable. They look like dark brown rice grains in shape but tend to be just a little wider and longer, although this can vary slightly between rat species. 

Disgusting, right? Unfortunately, it does get worse.

Rat feces is extremely hazardous to human health. It can contain bacteria that will cause extreme sickness such as salmonella and even carry deadly viruses, such as bubonic plague.

Rats will most often visit areas where there is a high concentration of food. The last thing you want is rat droppings in your kitchen!

2. Footprints and Staining

Rats try to avoid contact with humans where possible, so you might not always see them. You can often easily tell if you’ve got a rat infestation in your basement or attic space by the presence of footprints.

Dusty areas tend to be the quietest in the house, and as a result, you’ll easily be able to spot rat footprints and tracks.

Other visual clues might include greasy marks at floor level. Rats prefer to avoid being out in the open and hug skirting boards and the bottom of furniture. They have oil in their fur that can be deposited over time.

If you notice mystery stains on your boards, there is a good chance that you have an infestation, as it can build up quite quickly with many rats passing each night. 

3. Gnaw Marks and Damage

Rats are of the rodent family.

One key attribute of this group is that their teeth never stop growing. As a result, rats will voraciously gnaw at any hard material to keep their gnashers in check. They can be really destructive, especially when it comes to items of furniture.

And it gets worse.

Rats aren’t too choosey about what they chew. They have been known to gnaw away at electrical cables. This is a significant fire hazard, and if one does ‘bite the bullet’ behind a panel or wall, its decaying remains will make one hell of a stink!

4. Scratching Noises

Things that go bump in the night?

As we said previously, rats are nocturnal creatures who like to come out at night. They aren’t the most considerate company, and their claws make scrabbling and scratching noises on surfaces. 

It is often the case that you’ll hear them in the ceiling at night.

They aren’t quiet when they gnaw either. Often you’ll hear a crunching or grinding sound as they file down those sharp teeth on your possessions!

5. Nesting Rats

Rat’s nests are a sure sign that you’ve got a big problem. Rats prefer a warm environment to raise their young, so any utility room, attic space, or basement is prime real estate for a rats nest.

Rats will assemble scraps of paper, cloth, stuffing, and anything else they can get their paws on and will make a pile of shredded material to home their live young.

Why is this such a big deal?

Rats can give birth about once every two months, with a litter of around five and twelve young. The young reach sexual maturity after about a month.

Want the math for that?

A couple of rats can easily lead to over a thousand in a year at an average rate. If you go down the line by another couple of years, this can easily reach figures of half a billion.

6. Burrows

In the wild, rats don’t stay out in the open for long periods. In fact, they will reside in burrows most of the time. Often they will try and create a similar experience in your home or garden.

Keep a good eye out for small round holes underneath places like decking or outbuildings.

Rats tend to build nests close to food sources, so pay particular attention to areas near your garbage cans and compost heaps.

7. Smelling a Rat

Some popular phrases have roots in real life. “I think I smell a rat” is certainly one of them.

Rats constantly urinate as they move. 

And here’s the thing…

Rat urine has a distinctive smell. If there is a strong smell, it is fair to assume that you have a high concentration of rats.

What do rats smell like? 

Generally, they have an unpleasant musty smell. Their urine is very acidic and smells similar to ammonia. 

What if you haven’t noticed a strong smell?

Well, how’s about your pets?

Have you noticed your dog or cat showing particular interest in an area of your home or garden? Often a rat or several rats could be the cause. In line with our other signs above, it may well be worth investigating.

How to Fix a Rat Infestation?

You’ve spotted the signs, and your worst fears are true.

So, what do you do?

Don’t panic. It’s pretty easy. A professional pest control company can make light work of a rat infestation. Professional exterminators will be able to kill and remove all of the rats, and what’s more, will be able to prevent them from returning.

Services such as the above are offered by Facility Pest Control. We are experts in dealing with rat infestations and can provide a quick and easy means to remove them. Our family-run business serves the California area. Check out our services and contact us for more information.