What are the visual signs of rodent activity?
Because rats are nocturnal and stay hidden in burrows or behind drywall, actual sightings of rats are difficult. Instead, the focus is on what they leave behind and the damage that they cause. In addition to visual signs, rodents generate various sounds. With rodent infestations, you can often hear gnawing, climbing in walls, various squeaks and fighting noises from territorial disputes.
Urine and droppings
Urine stain may occur along travelways or in feeding areas. Rats mark their territory with their urine. Rat colonies have their own smell, so rats from other colonies know when they have reached the borders of enemy territory. Urine, both wet and dry, is fluorescent under ultraviolet lights.
Rodents produce 80-100 droppings per day and can easily be detected along runways, in feeding areas, and near shelter. Their droppings are thin and dark. They may be as large as ¾ inch and ¼ inch in diameter. Fresh droppings are soft in texture. Do not expect hard pellets. Droppings are one of the easiest, surest signs of a rodent infestation.
Marks and damage from gnawing
Gnawing is one of the key tell-tail signs of a mouse or rat infestation. A pest control professional can inspect tooth marks to determine whether they are from rat gnawing or mouse gnawing. Gnawing may be visible on doors, ledges, in corners, in wall material, on stored materials, or other surfaces wherever rodents are present. Fresh accumulations of wood shavings, insulation, and other gnawed material indicate active infestations. Rodents also create entry holes form gnawing with mouse holes in the 1-inch range and rat holes are 2 inches or larger.
Smudge marks (Rub marks)
Rats have oil-secreting glands that they use to mark territory and help them navigate repetitive routes. As a result, smudge marks (rub marks) are often found along frequently traveled including walls, beams, rafters, and pipes.
Rat tracks, Runs and Burrows
Rats memorize pathways and use the same routes habitually. Runs or burrows may be found next to walls, along fences, next to buildings, or under bushes and debris. In dusty loft or basement areas, rats can leave a worn trail of footprints and tail marks, especially in areas that accumulate dirt or mud such as skirting boards, along beams, or leading to access points such as open ventilation grills, gaps in walls and pipes and/or cable entry points. A tracking patch made of flour can be placed in pathways overnight to determine if rodents are present.
Rodents often leave behind scraps in sheltered spaces, particularly against walls or in corners such as nut shells.
What are the signs of a mouse infestation?
A mouse infestation has signs similar to a rat infestation. Tiny black droppings are a strong indicator of mouse activity as well as cereal boxes or other containers that have been opened from gnawing. Mice also have a distinctive musky smell that may be noticeable. The mouse prevention and mouse control techniques are similar to those used for rats: sanitation, eliminating entry points into the home or structure, traps, and baiting.