Signs of a Rat Infestation

If you have a rat infestation, professional pest control is the best and fastest option for removal. Identifying an infestation is easy when you know what to look for.

Identifying a Rat Infestation

Rats are nocturnal so you may not always be aware that you have a problem, but there are ways to identify an infestation without seeing live rodents. There are a number of signs to watch out for - you only need to see one or two to know you have a problem, you don’t have to see all of them.

If you do identify a rat infestation at your property, contact a professional. Rat nests can be difficult to access and eliminating a rat problem can be challenging.

Rat droppings

Look for dark brown droppings in a tapered shap, about the size of a raisin or baked bean.

Rats produce up to 40 droppings per night, which tend to be concentrated in specific areas rather than scattered about randomly. Randomly scattered droppings may indicate a mouse infestation.

Scratching noises

Black and Brown rats can easily gain access into loft spaces and upper floors of buildings, so scratching noises at night may suggest their presence. Black rats are uncommon in the UK apart from around ports, so if you’re inland, scratching noises in the roof may also indicate another type of pest, possibly squirrels or mice.

Brown rats are less adept climbers and are more likely to be identified by a grinding or chattering noise as they scurry under decking, sheds, and floorboards.

Gnaw marks

Rats have teeth that never stop growing, so they must gnaw constantly to keep them manageable. Tooth marks in wood, plastic, pipework and even thin metal can be an indication of rat activity.


Rodent tracks - footprints and tail drag marks - can show up in dusty environments, such as unused lofts, storage areas, and garages. If you suspect rat activity, you could sprinkle a fine dust such as flour, talcum powder or china clay over the area you believe has rats, and check back to see if any marks appear.

Rub marks

Rats often leave smudges and marks on objects they repeatedly brush against, from the grease and dirt on their bodies. They generally reuse the same pathways, usually between their nesting and feeding areas, and over time those areas become marked by the activity. Look for dark smudges against walls in particular.

Drainage problems

As rats are commonly found to enter the fabric of a building via your drainage system, plumbing and drainage problems may also be an indicator of a rat infestation.

Once they have made their way through the drain, rats can enter cavity walls, giving them easy access to lofts, ceiling voids, voids behind bath panels and any other area of the building. Rats are quite at home nesting behind and within these areas.

If rats are using your drainage system as a means of access, we would advise an inspection of the drains. Our technicians can identify the most appropriate proofing measures to prevent further reinfestation.

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** when you call before midday and are located within London

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