Signs of a rat infestation in the house, garden or basement?

Do you suspect that rats hang around in your house, apartment, basement, garden or anywhere else in your home environment? In addition to the most well-known sign of rat infestation, the typical rat faeces, several other symptoms can indicate an infestation with rats. We not only tell you how to reliably recognize a rat infestation but also tell you the typical hiding places that rats retreat to around the house and apartment.

If you find out that you actually have a rat problem, don’t waste any time and give us a call. Because: Rats are among the most well-known health pests and should not be tolerated in the vicinity of the house, apartment or garden.

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Signs of rats in the house

Each rat infestation is different from the next in some way. Nevertheless, there are clear signs that suggest an infestation with rats. To determine this, it is important to carry out a thorough inspection in the suspected area of ​​the house, apartment or garden, as living rats are rarely seen even with the severe rat infestation. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to clear signs and traces such as rat droppings, gnawing marks, nests, dead rats, running tracks, etc.

  • Rat droppings – Rat droppings are one of the most distinctive signs of rat infestation. Brown rats produce spindle-shaped faeces that lie together in groups. The faeces of house rats, on the other hand, are on average less wide but rather banana-shaped and more scattered. If the manure is still soft and shiny, this indicates an active infestation. The amount of fresh rat faeces indicates the approximate extent of the rat infestation. A rat produces around 40 balls of faeces a day. Large and small rat faeces of the same shape also indicate that the rats multiply in this area.
  • Gnawing marks – One of the main characteristics of rats is their continuously growing incisors. With these teeth, they can gnaw almost any material, including aluminium sheet and mortar. These gnawing marks can be recognized relatively easily. When gnawing, the incisors leave two parallel, slightly deepened grooves that are about 4 mm apart in rats. Rats in the house tend to bite through electrical cables and are thus responsible for several house fires. Rats also leave gnawing traces on yellow sacks in the basement or garden. Fresh traces of gnawing are lighter and show sharp contours. In addition, there are often traces of meal. Old gnawing marks, on the other hand, are darker, more rounded and without a meal.
  • Smear marks – In the house or the basement, rats often always use the same walking routes. The rats’ bodies repeatedly come into contact with the surfaces they walked on, leaving traces of body fat behind. Together with dirt and dust deposits, this body fat forms what is known as smear marks, which are a typical sign of rat infestation. The smear marks left by house rats are mainly noticeable as floor-shaped marks in the upper areas of the house or apartment, e.g. around balcony structures or in the roof and attic area. These traces often lead to the feeding or nesting areas of the rats.
  • Nests and structures – house rats usually nest in the upper areas of the house and apartment, and their nests are usually difficult to find. Often these nests are not even made in the same house where the other signs of rat infestation can be found. If rats have penetrated the roof or attic, they like to build their nests in warm hiding spots and use tattered materials such as newspaper and textiles to building their nests. Brown rats usually nest outside of houses, basements or apartments in earthworks. The entrances to their buildings have a diameter of approx—5 cm. How and wherever these nesting sites are laid out, cobwebs at the entrances or heavy dust deposits in front of them indicate that these structures are no longer in use. Rats in the garden often build their structures in compost heaps or under gazebos.
  • Footprints – Rats can easily recognize footprints in areas within buildings that are heavily polluted by dust. The size and shape of the footprints allow the species of rodent to be determined. Brown rats tend to walk on the balls of their feet, whereas house rats shift their weight more onto their toes. In rats in the house, finding footprints in places with a lot of dust and draft can indicate that the rat infestation is acute because old prints would quickly disappear. If you want to investigate the suspicion of rat infestation, you can check by spreading a thin layer of flour, which is checked the next day. In rats in the garden, the earthworks of brown rats can usually be found in overgrown embankments and can be easily recognized there by the walkways, as frequent walking on the paths causes the grass to die and thus shows the way to the rat den.
  • Dead and living animals – The best proof – besides fresh rat droppings – is the sighting of live rats in the house or garden. Finding recently deceased animals is also an indication of acute rat infestation and enables the rat species to be determined. If rats are found living in the house or garden during the day, this indicates too little food, disturbance of their nesting sites or very severe rat infestation.
  • Odour – Rat infestation produces an ammonia-like odour, particularly pronounced in closed areas within the house or apartment (e.g. under dressers) and is pungent and unpleasant for humans. The odour that rats produce through special glands and their rat faeces and urine is an important orientation for rats, marking the walking routes and family identification and reproduction.

Rats on the farm

A rat plague can have far-reaching consequences for a company. In many places, rats are the epitome of pathogens and are inexcusable, especially for restaurants and catering establishments. You can find detailed information and tips, especially for companies here: Rat control for companies.