How to recognise a rodent infestation – top 5 signs

8 February 2017

Rats and mice are counted amongst some of the worst pests in the world and it is imperative to get professional help as soon as you spot any signs of an infestation as rats breed quickly and a small problem can easily escalate in a very short space of time.

They are notorious for a number of reasons including:

  • carrying and spreading of diseases and allergens
  • damaging property
  • food loss and contamination
  • contaminating animal feed, which is especially problematic for commercial industries
  • are hosts of unwanted parasites, including ticks, fleas and lice
  • chew and damage electrical wires in vehicles and buildings which can cause malfunction

Rats and mice are shy, nocturnal animals, meaning they usually hide from humans during the day and are active at night, therefore it is much easier to recognise the signs of a rodent infestation rather than seeing the animals themselves.

However, there are certain signs to tell if your building has an infestation.

Top 5 signs of a rodent infestation


This is the first sign of an infestation. Rats and mice urinate and leave droppings every few steps they take, leaving a tell-tale mess in their wake.

There is a slight difference between rat and mice droppings, but both are easily identifiable.

Rat Droppings

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2. Nests

Rat nests can be found in a number of places, such as:

  • roofs
  • crawlspaces
  • under eaves
  • in wall cavities
  • in burrows on the ground, which are preferred by Brown rats

Black rats, or Roof rats as they are sometimes called, tend to nest higher up on roofs and ceilings and nests are always accompanied with any shredded material the rodent can find, like roof insulation and cardboard.

Brown rats and mice tend to nest on the ground in burrows which they dig next to solid structures.

3. Dirty marks and footprints

Dirt from their bodies will leave greasy marks and smudges along their well-travelled routes, which you can usually spot along floor boards, walls and other surfaces.

Another effective sign of an infestation is spotting running marks, or footprints. Rodents leave foot and tail prints in dirty, dusty less-used areas of buildings.

Rat Infestation

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4. Scratching noises

Scratching noises, often coming from the ceiling at night when they are most active are a clear indication that rats are present.

For mice and brown rats, which are surface dwellers, they can often be heard scurrying under floorboards, along walls and grinding their teeth and squeaking.

5. Damage to property

Because of their constantly growing teeth, rodents will gnaw on hard materials such as wood and plastic.

It is likely that you have a rodent infestation if you find visible teeth marks on:

  • door casings
  • around pipes
  • ripped food packages
  • electrical wires and cables
  • furniture

As well as teeth marks, rodents can also chew holes in floors, walls, ceilings and around buildings causing severe damage to property.

Rats and Mice

Call the professionals

If you’ve spotted any of the above signs and suspect you may have a rodent infestation in or around your building please contact us today for a consultation and we will determine the best solution to your pest problem.

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