I Smell a Rat: Early Detection and Treatment Is Key in Rat Infestations

Having your home become infested with rats is probably one of your worst nightmares. But for many homeowners, this dream does one day become a reality. The key to handling a rat infestation is to notice it quickly and take actions to get rid of the rodents right away. After all—in a year just one pair of rats can have up to 2,000 offspring!

To make sure these critters don't overrun your home, take a look at these common signs of a rat infestation, the risks rats present, and how to get rid of them effectively.

Signs of a Rat Infestation

Many of the early signs of a rat infestation are easily ignored, so be on the lookout for these telltale indications.

Scratching Noises             

If you wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of scratching within the walls or in the attic, rats may be to blame. Rats are excellent at climbing and jumping, so they can make their way into crawl spaces and wall cavities.

Feces and Nests                 

Rat feces look like large, brown grains of rice. You may see them in areas such as your attic, along baseboards and in crawlspaces. You may also find piles of shredded material, such as insulation and cardboard, in these areas. These are rats' nests.


Look for footprints especially after it has been wet and rainy outside. The rats' feet may be muddy, causing them to leave behind scratch-like footprints on hard floors.

Actual Rats

If you see one rat, take its presence seriously since chances are there are a lot more. There are two types of rats found throughout the United States. Black rats are named for their dark, glossy fur.

Norway rats are smaller with brown coats. Some people mistake these rats for mice, but Norway rats have larger feet and ears, blunter noses and longer tails than mice.

Risks Presented By Rats

Rats are more than just a minor annoyance, and they actually present a number of risks to your family. Rat urine can be contaminated with Leptospira bacteria, which can cause Leptospirosis, a condition marked by meningitis, kidney failure and respiratory distress. Many people are allergic to rat dander and droppings and rats also carry fleas, which may be passed on to the family pet. 

Rats can also chew wires, leading to house fires, and rats can cause extensive damage to insulation and drywall. If you catch a rat infestation early, you mitigate your risk of these and other problems.

Getting Rid of Rats

Though some homeowners are successful in getting rid of rats on their own, the safest thing to do when you suspect a rat infestation is to call a pest control professional. This prevents you and your family members from having to come into contact with the potentially contaminated feces and the animals themselves.

Our pest control experts will employ a range of methods to rid your home of rats and keep them from coming back.

Plugging Entryways

One of the first things your pest control company will do is identify holes through which the rats may be entering your home. Plugging these holes keeps additional rats from entering.


Sealing Leaks

Rats are attracted to food and they also need water to thrive. Sealing any leaking pipes, draining any moisture from the basement, and unclogging blocked drains helps make your home less appealing to rats.


Our exterminator may set traps with rat bait, which the rats will consume and take back to their nest. Several days later, the rats will die and then we will remove their bodies.

If you see a rat’s footprints, droppings or the rat itself, you can assume the rat is not alone. One rat can quickly turn into hundreds, and it's just not worth the risk to delay treatment. The experts at Craig & Sons Termite & Pest Control, Inc., can inspect and rid your home of rodents.