If you think you have a rat problem, there are many signs that you could look out for to confirm rats are present. Discover the warning signs so you can deal with this issue fast before the rats set up home.
Before we talk about the signs, it is important that you know a little about a rat so you can understand its behavioural characteristics. This will then help you recognise if what you are experiencing is rodent activity or something completely different.
Behavioural Characteristics of a Rat
Rats are predominantly nocturnal creatures; they like to move about in the shadows to protect themselves from their predators. They can reproduce very quickly if the conditions are right (food, water, and safety) and they are carnivores so if hungry they will eat their young. For this reason, rats and mice do not normally cohabitate together unless there is a plentiful food supply. Rats are extremely clever, agile and should never be underestimated. They are burrowing creatures and survive in the drains.
So now you understand the basics about rats we can now talk about the common indicators that identify the presence of a rat. Its not often that you will get just one rat. They build colonies if left to grow, so if there is one then then there is normally more. Obviously the first sign that you may have rats is an actual visual sighting. This is conclusive that rats are in the area, the question is where they are coming from and where are they going.
If you don’t physically see a rat, there are other tell tale signs that rats leave to indicate they have been there. If it’s outside in the garden, then you may come across a rat run. Rats automatically map their routes and use the same paths all the time as they are creatures of habit. This leaves a well-trodden track.
Routes used inside a property can also be identified by reoccurring use. This is by what is known as smear. When a rat moves around in the dirt and grime their fur gets greasy. If they are traveling over the same white cable or squeezing through the same hole, they will leave smear marks. This can help to build a picture of the rats’ movements and possibly a route of entry.
Late at night when the house is all quiet, you may hear some scratching noises. It could be in the loft or even in the wall. Rats use the cavity walls as a route to stay out of sight. They use pipes and wires to navigate round the property. The movement noise is enhanced as it vibrates through the wall. Noise is another way of tracing a rat’s routes. The loft is a common place for a rat to build a nest, so this is a common place for scratching noises to be heard.
There are several other signs that could indicate rats are present. A gnawed air vent for example. Smell is another common indicator; rat urine is very strong and pungent so in areas that rats are using, the strong aroma will permeate. When it comes to droppings, unlike mice who drop everywhere, rats tend to use one area as a toilet. If you find droppings, then there would be lots of them so clear sign rats are present.
Obviously, this is just a snapshot of possible signs that rats are present, and the list is endless. Our advice is to look for the unexpected and use your senses to try to confirm the presence of rats. At Pest-Tech we try to offer advice, but we will always recommend for safety you call in a professional. In some cases, it will be the cheapest option as well. If you would like further information or book a treatment, then visit pest-tech.org