Rats are common household pests – so common that, according to the National Pest Management Association¹, nearly 30 percent of U.S. residents have found rats in their home. But rats aren’t a pest you want to ignore. Rodents spread dangerous diseases, and these vermin can hide in your home for years without you even realizing the problems they’re causing.
If you’re struggling with a rat problem, you need to take action quickly. Often, by the time you see signs of rats, it’s too late.
Signs You Have a Rat Problem
Rats are quiet pests, leaving little signs of their infestation throughout your home. This is why people don’t even realize they have rats in their home – but it becomes clear when serious property damage happens. Many of the signs rats leave behind look like the work of pets or small children.
Here are three key signs you should check your home for:
When rats scurry around your home, they leave behind distinct droppings that reveal their presence. Rat feces are generally about a quarter of an inch long and round on both ends. If you find rat droppings, keep in mind they can cause a serious respiratory disease called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Wear gloves and a mask when picking up fecal matter.
2. Gnaw marks
If you’ve ever had a hamster, you know rodents love to chew their way through all kinds of materials. Wood, fabric, plastic, drywall, and other common household materials are no match for a rat’s high-pressure bite. However, gnaw marks caused by rats are easily distinguishable because rats have much larger teeth. Rats leave behind large bite marks that show the distinct shape of each tooth, which can look like natural wear or damage if you don’t closely inspect them.
3. Foul odors
Rats are dirty pests that make their presence known with foul smells. The stench of urine is commonly found in places frequented by rats. In fact, rats will even urinate in their nests, so putrid smells will give away their hiding spots. When rats lay in filth all day, they begin to smell like their environment. If you’ve started noticing a terrible smell around your home, don’t blame your trash – it could just as easily be rats.
Why You Should Act Fast
Rats that find their way into a warm and safe home won’t leave unless you take action. In your home, rats have access to a plentiful food supply thanks to your pantry, trash cans, and even refrigerator. Once rats realize your home offers an ample supply of food, they’ll build a permanent nest in your home.
But it’s even more critical to take action because of the dangers rats pose. As Victor Pest Control² reports, more than 10 million people have died from rodent-carried diseases. And the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention³ has identified over a dozen deadly diseases that can be transmitted directly and indirectly by rodents. To protect yourself and your family, you need to recognize rats as the harmful predators that they are. Serious illness – and death – could be the consequences of a rat infestation.
In addition to the immediate health risks rats bring into your home, it’s crucial to remember that rat problems only get worse over time. Rats reproduce quickly, and in large numbers. Rat litters can contain up to eight pups, the Los Angeles County Public Health Department⁴ reports, and these vermin can reproduce up to six times each year. The bottom line is the challenges presented by a single rat can be quickly compounded as families form. You could, then, face the nightmare of finding your house swarming with rats, and this could lead to serious property damage.
Find a Free Professional Inspection Near You
When you find rats in your home, you need to act fast to protect your family and property from these harmful pests. But getting rid of a rat infestation isn’t as easy as setting a few traps or eliminating the problem in just a few days.
The best course of action to take after finding evidence of rats in your home is to seek professional help. Professional exterminators can thoroughly eradicate household rats to prevent these vermin from causing property damage that is avoidable by taking prompt action. Most importantly, professional exterminators can address the entry holes and food supplies that made the rat infestation possible to minimize your chances of experiencing similar problems again in the future.
And it isn’t expensive to enlist the help or professional advice of an exterminator. Reputable exterminators are usually happy to give free estimates. To find the right exterminator for you, start by conducting online research to find reputable exterminators in your area. Once you’ve found a trustworthy service provider, you can sit back and let the professionals eradicate your rat problems for good.
Like anything, it’s always a good idea to be aware of the latest research. We recommend comparing at least 3 or 4 options before making a final decision. Doing a search online is typically the quickest, most thorough way to discover all the pros and cons you need to keep in mind.