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How to Tell How Many Rats are in Your House

Nobody wants rats in their home. Even a single rat is enough to make most people shudder, but the truth is that if you have rats, you are unlikely to only have one.

Rats are clever creatures that can squeeze into the tiniest of gaps, and once they have made themselves at home, they will breed. 

Before you call out professional pest control, it can be helpful to know how many rats are in your house.

In this guide, we will help you to identify how many rats are in your house and explain the signs that you have a rat infestation.

Signs of a Rat Infestation in your House

Several things indicate the presence of rats in your home. 

  • Droppings
  • Smell of urine
  • Gnawed or damaged food packaging
  • Nests made with shredded material
  • Chewed wires, pipes, insulation or cardboard
  • Sounds of scurrying, especially late at night
  • Seeing a rat
  • Pets behaving oddly and pawing in corners

Now, you may have strong suspicions that you have rats, but you will need to look more closely to calculate the possible number and size of the infestation.

How to Tell How Many Rats are in Your House

Examine the Droppings

Droppings are an excellent way of finding out about your unwelcome visitors.

Real Homes explained the differences between mice and rat droppings. Tiny droppings are more likely to be left by mice. 

Rat droppings are typically between 1 and 2 cm in size and resemble brown jellybeans or a grain of rice. Adult rats leave larger droppings.

If you see a mixture of big and small droppings, this could indicate a larger rat population of different ages.

A large number of smaller droppings could indicate that the rats have been breeding and you have many babies.

The more droppings you find, the more rats you will have in your home.

How often have you seen rats?

You may be lucky to have only a minor infestation if you haven’t seen any rats. Small rat populations will more likely evade humans when they move about at night.

It is possible to eradicate a minimal infestation with traps and bait if you act quickly but be warned that the population will continue to grow until all the rats have been removed.

On the other hand, if you have seen rats on more than one occasion at night or during the day, you could have a much larger infestation.

Rats that have been unable to keep out of your way are a sign of severe infestation. In this instance, it is vital to seek help quickly from a professional pest controller, as the population will continue to grow unless action is taken. 

Look for a Rat Nest

Rats like to make their home away from humans in nooks and crannies where they feel protected.

Your best chance of finding their nest is to explore the areas in your home that are most left undisturbed.

Often you will find rats in your loft or inside cavity walls. Evidence of a nest will include shredded paper, leaves and soft materials such as insulation.

As well as a nest, rats create runs that they use to seek food and water. They make these runs through your walls, electrics, and pipes.

Rats can access minimal gaps; you may find evidence of their runs with gnaw marks on your walls, under doors and on the carpet.

As well as bite marks, you may see scratches and oily smears from their fur.

Following runs or discovering a nest will give you a good idea of the population’s size. 

Should you be worried about being attacked if you find a rat’s nest? Although the BBC reported a story about a girl in France being attacked by rats, they usually steer clear of human contact and will only attack if under threat.

Do not disturb a rat nest without professional help. Rats carry diseases which can be passed on through urine, faeces and bites, so it is best to leave them alone and get a pest controller to tackle the infestation.

How do I tackle a rat infestation in my house?

Once you have gathered information about how many rats are in your house, you can make a plan.

You can try laying down some traps and bait if you believe you have a tiny rat population. It is crucial to observe what happens to look for evidence that you have been successful.

If after a few weeks you still have rats, it is advisable to contact a professional pest controller who will be able to use the latest rodenticides to ensure that the rats are eliminated.

Pest control professionals are the only ones who can tackle a large infestation successfully. It requires technicians who have the knowledge and experience to carry out a thorough assessment and put in place a pest control plan that will be fast and effective.

If you think you have rats in your house, do not hesitate to contact us at EWS Group. Our fully trained technicians are specialists in pest control who offer a discrete service to remove and control pests using the latest IPM (Integrated Pest Management) methods.