The United States has a severe rat problem. It’s estimated that about 14 million households in the country have a rat infestation, and many more don’t know that these pests are living inside their homes.
No one wants to think about the possibility of rats living in their home. Rats are dirty, dangerous, and can cause a lot of damage. They can also carry all sorts of diseases such as the hantavirus. Unfortunately, they are also very good at hiding. If you suspect that you might have rats living in your home, there are a few telltale signs that you can look for.
Rats Inside Your Home
Rats are a creative species. They come from the sewer and will find their way into your home through any opening they can squeeze their bodies through. This could be a pipe, a hole in the foundation, or even a tiny crack in the wall. Once inside your house, they will start building their nest.
They are intelligent, and thousands of years of living in this world have given them the knowledge of how to hide from plain sight. So here are ways you can tell that there are rats inside your home.
One of the most obvious signs that you have rats in your home is the presence of droppings. Rat droppings are usually dark brown or black and are generally smaller than mouse droppings. If you see droppings around your home, wear gloves and wash your hands afterward.
Rats need to chew on hard objects to keep their teeth from growing too long. As a result, they will often leave behind gnaw marks on wood, plastic, and even metal. These chew marks are usually about ½ an inch wide.
Rats are relatively large animals, so their footprints are pretty easy to spot. If you see rat footprints around your home, you have a rat infestation. These footprints will often be found near rat droppings or gnaw marks.
Rats sometimes collect nesting material, such as shredded paper or fabric, to build a nest. If you find nesting material in your home, there are likely rats nearby.
Of course, sometimes the best way to know if you have rats is to see one! If you see a rat in your home, it is vital to take action immediately to get rid of them before it can do any severe damage.
Getting Rid of Rats
Rats are resilient creatures, but knowing they live inside your home is already half the battle. The other half is all about choosing the right tools to do so. Here are some of your options.
Changing Your Landscape
If you have a garden, there’s a good chance that rats are burrowed right under it, significantly if you’re growing fruits or vegetables. Fences with small holes, unkempt lawns, and cluttered garages or sheds offer perfect hiding spots for rats. Once you have identified potential problem areas in your yard, it’s time to change your landscape. You can do it yourself or hire a professional. A landscaping service can make short work of any burrowed nest. Additionally, they can ensure that rats will no longer make it inside your property ever again.
One of the most common methods of getting rid of rats is trapping. This can be done by setting up snap traps or live traps. Snap traps are the most common type, as they are easy to use and quite effective. All you need to do is bait the trap with a rat’s favorite food and wait for it to spring shut.
Live traps are a bit more complicated, as you need to release the rat once it’s been caught. Therefore, these are best used if you’re not comfortable with the idea of killing rats. That said, live traps are not 100% effective, as there are times when rats can escape.
If you want to be sure that the rats in your home are gone for good, you can use poison. Rat poison is readily available in stores, and it’s pretty effective. However, it is also hazardous to humans and pets, so use it sparingly.
No one wants to think about the possibility of having rats in their home—but the truth is, it could happen to anyone. So if you suspect that there might be rats living in your house, be sure to keep an eye out for the telltale signs listed above. And if you do find evidence of rats in your home, don’t hesitate to follow the tips above to get rid of them.