It’s worth keeping in mind lest you become complacent: rodents are a bringer of disease. They can carry diseases into your home by contaminating your food and spreading droppings.
At best, these may trigger an allergic reaction. At worse, they might bring you hantavirus, salmonellosis, rat-bite fever, and even the bubonic plague. They’ll also cause some minor inconveniences like chewed-on furniture and wires.
In short, there’s no good reason to let a rodent infestation go on. If you want to know if you have one, check out the signs you have mice and rats below.
1. Pungent Odor
A foul, musky smell is one of the surefire signs you have rats. Mice have quite a distinct ammonia smell – like that of stale urine. This is easy to detect when you have a rather large infestation.
The smell is stronger in areas where they’re more active. It’s also noticeable in enclosed areas, like your cabinets and drawers.
When one of them is about to die, they might also retreat to a hidden corner, which creates a putrid smell. You may find the corpse by following the smell, so it’s best you come prepared with some gloves and a bag.
Mice and rats are pretty shifty; they’re fast on their feet, and they’re small enough to go unnoticed. Still, you’re bound to see one if you have a rodent problem.
You’ll most likely see one at night as they’re more active during those times. You might see fast movement in the corner of your eye, or you might see it out and about in your pantry.
They don’t like venturing out during the day. If you see one at this time, then you have a major infestation. That means the nest has become overpopulated, and you need a professional to get rid of rats instantly.
Instead of actual mice or rat sightings, what you might notice first are their droppings. These are black and elongated, pointed on both ends. They resemble small grains of rice.
Depending on the infestation, the feces can be either small or quite big. Mice have around 1/4-inch droppings or smaller. Rat droppings, on the other hand, are 1/2 inch or larger.
You’ll often see them active in certain areas of your home, such as near your food supply or their breeding and nesting areas. You might also see them in your attic and/or basement. These are good locations for placing bait and traps.
You can gauge the level of infestation through the droppings. Varying feces sizes can indicate you have juvenile and mature rodents in your house. An alarming amount might mean you have a large infestation.
Mice and rat droppings are dangerous to your health. You shouldn’t vacuum or sweep them, especially the dried feces, as disturbing them might release harmful particles you could inhale.
Wear gloves if you’re going to dispose of them, and pick them up carefully. Wear a respirator, as well. If you don’t want to risk it, you should contact a professional instead.
4. Chewed Food Packaging
Even if you don’t notice mice and rats scurrying around, you’ll notice a rodent infestation when you see chewed-through food packaging. Wrappers – soft plastic, hard plastic, cardboard box, or paper – don’t stop rodents from accessing the food inside.
Don’t think that hiding your food in cabinets or other containers can stop them, either. They can gnaw through wood and soft metal. Given enough time, they can even chew through metal.
Their teeth are stronger than lead, copper, aluminum, and iron. Their incisors never stop growing, too, so chewing is also a way to wear them down. This might have sounded more impressive if not for the devastation they cause in our homes.
If you see gnaw marks on your food, discard it as soon as possible. You don’t want to be sharing food contaminated by mice, lest you get minor symptoms or serious threats.
5. Teeth Marks
Like we said above, rodents have to chew on things to keep their incisors in check. That’s why they’ll also chew on non-food items.
They might also gnaw on furniture or anything wooden. They might also chew on cables and electrical wiring, creating a huge electrical hazard.
Rats like chewing on pipes, as well. They need a constant water source, after all.
Check the insulation in the attic. It’s common to have signs of chewing here as rodents gather materials for their nest.
Speaking of nests, you might stumble upon one in your home. Their nests usually consist of fabric, paper, dried plant matter, and other materials.
It’s not a natural sight, so you’ll know pests have made this jumble of a mess. Look for droppings, odor, or gnawing around the nest to confirm if you have rodents.
One of the first signs you have mice is a scampering noise along the walls. You’ll most likely hear this at night as they’re more active, but it’s also because it’s quieter than in the day.
They can fit through small spaces, using the spaces between the joists to travel through your house. They’re great climbers and jumpers, so their activities are pretty noisy.
8. Weird Pet Behavior
Have you been noticing your pets staring at your wall often lately? That might be because they can hear the sounds mice and rats are making. Your pets can also smell them.
When they take note of rats in your house, they’ll become excited and alert. They’ll sometimes bark at seemingly nothing. They might also paw at the walls or spaces under your refrigerator, cabinets, and such.
When you notice these behaviors, take a flashlight to look at the areas they’re interested in. You might also want to put your ears along the walls to listen for activity.
Look Out For the Signs You Have Mice
A rodent wandering into your home might not make themselves noticeable. But, if you have an infestation, you’ll likely experience two or more of the signs you have mice and rats.
Baits and traps might still work. However, if you’re dealing with a large infestation, you’ll need the pros to come in. If you need more help, visit our website.