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7 Signs of Rat Infestations in Your Home

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Houston offers the heat and climate that is particularly attractive for rats to dwell. As rats search for food and comfortable places to make a nest, they may very well look within areas of your home to live as uninvited guests. When rat populations are low, they are very difficult to detect as they remain unseen—but that does not mean that they aren’t there. Performing a pest check regularly is the best way to catch a problem early, before it becomes a full-blown infestation.

Here are some signs which may help you to determine if you are in need of rat control:    

Droppings

The ability to distinguish between rodent droppings is helpful when trying to determine whether you have a problem with rats or mice. Look for droppings in pantries, kitchen cabinets, drawers, cupboards, bins and any other area where rodents might be looking for a food source.

Of course, as rats are larger than mice, they leave behind droppings that are larger, measuring approximately ¼ to ½ inch. They may be spindle-shaped or crescent-shaped and are likely black and shiny, but that may depend upon the diet of the rat. Mouse droppings are smaller, approximately ½ to ¼ inch (the size of a rice grain) and often are thin with pointed ends.

No one wants to have rats or mice, but determining where droppings are coming from allows you to make an educated decision on how to get rid of the problem.

Squeaks and Noises

Night time is an especially active time for rats to be active, between 10pm and 1am. Listening for squeaking and scurrying as the rats are seeking out food. Listen for these sounds in the attic, inside walls or in cellars. If you have pets, they may hear these sounds before you do and get antsy in areas where they can hear and smell rat behavior.

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Trails and Tracks

Rats do have a tendency to leave footprints and tail tracks in areas of dust, especially in locations that are dark and private. If you are suspicious that you have a rat infestation but aren’t sure if you have seen tracks, perform a test by sprinkling baby powder or flour along the floor or other areas where you believe the rats are active. Check for tracks the following morning and contact a rat exterminator immediately if you discover a problem.

Smudge Marks

No one would argue with the fact that rats are dirty beasts. But this fact may be an advantage in hunting them down because they do tend to leave smudge marks along walls and baseboards. Because rats are creatures of habit, they follow the same paths from their nests to their food sources and back, sticking close to walls where they feel safe. Grease and dirt on the rats’ bodies tends to create dirty streaks where they scurry along, giving you a sign of their presence even before you can see them.

Gnaw Marks

When a substantial rat infestation occurs, you are likely to find gnaw markings on hard surfaces such as the rafters, floor, siding, ducts, and areas near pipes. Wood is one of a rat’s favorite items to gnaw on, so window frames, cabinets, door frames, and baseboards may all show signs of gnaw marks. More recent gnawing will be light colored, while older marks will be darker. Electrical wires can also be damaged from the rats desire to exercise their chomping action.

Holes or Nibble Marks

These may be especially prevalent in food packaging as rats will try to chew on anything that they believe to be food—especially dried foods that are easily accessible in cardboard or plastic packaging such as beans, pasta, rice, or other grains. Dog food is an especially preferred treat for rats as it offers a meaty scent and taste.  

Nests and Burrows

Roof rats, which are commonly found in Houston, love to burrow and nest in comfortable, dark, unused areas of a home including attics, cellars, basements, and garages. If rats have found a food source in your home then they will likely set up camp in a secluded space nearby and travel the same routes back and forth at meal time. Their nests will usually be made from

If any of these signs of rat infestation are discovered in or around your home, it is critical to act quickly for rat extermination. The longer an infestation is allowed to go on, the more difficult it may be until rat removal is completed. Contact a rodent control professional at Cypress Creek immediately to aid in getting your rat problem under control.

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