Rodents are common pests all throughout the world. They plague homes, buildings, and streets. Rats and mice are so common because they can live literally anywhere, managing to stay hidden from humans and surviving off of trash, scraps, and edible plants they find. They also carry disease with them and are considered generally unclean, which is why it is vital for any homeowner or business owner to know how to identify the signs of a rodent infestation. Taking swift action to eliminate rodent infestations is extremely important, so you should always take the time to thoroughly check for any pests.

Why are Mice and Rats Dangerous?

Most people remember that rats are historically known as plague spreaders - and that unfortunately hasn’t changed. They carry a number of spreadable diseases, including bubonic plague, but more commonly hantavirus, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, tularemia, and salmonella. They can also carry fleas and ticks, which can spread to both people and pets. Finally, their droppings and nests are a health hazard to anyone concerned about the spread of germs or air quality. If you suspect a rodent infestation in your home or business, it’s time to dig deeper and find out for sure.

Top Signs of Rats and Mice

Unfortunately, if you actually spot a rat or mouse in your home, chances are that the infestation is already underway. You may not notice just one rat or mouse. They can squeeze into the smallest spaces and find nourishment from crumbs. However, they nest quickly and can produce a litter of about a dozen pups. So going from just one rodent to an infestation happens quickly! Here are a few signs that rats or mice may be living in your home:

  • Hearing scratching, squeaking, or other noises from within the walls (rodents are more active in the nighttime)
  • Finding gnaw marks on food containers in the cabinets or gnaw marks in clothing, furniture, or other fabrics
  • Rod-shaped droppings that are between ¼ and ⅛ of an inch long. They get dry when old and you will often find multiple droppings in a space
  • A sour smell or any unusual smell may be a sign of rodent urine, feces, or even decay
  • Pets like dogs and cats may notice rodents before you do so if your pet is acting strangely in a new spot in the home this may be a sign of a little furry intruder
  • Rodent nests may be found inside walls or cabinets, or behind furniture. Any rarely disturbed area of the house is a good place to check. If you find household items in unusual spots, like shreds of papers, rubbers bands, crumbs of food, or other trash items this may be a rodent nest

Some of these signs can be overlooked if you’re not vigilant. A rodent nest or dropping may be mistaken for regular household dirt and mess if you’re not careful.

The best thing to do if you have a rodent infestation is to call in professional exterminators. Rats and mice are notoriously smart and therefore difficult to get rid of. If there’s a nest in your home it is likely that store-bought traps are not enough.