How to Tell How Many Rats Are in Your House

Locating a potential rodent problem in your home or office is alarming. Rats and mice bring lots of destruction and carry over 30 diseases to people. You may not even know these tiny dirty beasts have made themselves at home in your house until you notice a few distinct signs of their presence. In this post, we’ll cover this topic, and help you figure out the level of rodent infestation in your house. So, how to tell how many rats are in your house? Keep reading for more details.

How Do I Know How Many Rats Are in My House?

  1. Keep tabs on their activity: both visible and audible.
  2. Identify their rub marks.
  3. Monitor the volume of their droppings.
  4. Look for their nests.
  5. Take action fast.

Two black and white rats

The Complete Guide to Tell-Tale Signs of Rats in House

Wondering if you have rats? Such signs as rat poop, rub marks, and nighttime squeaking are a fine indicator of their long-tailed presence. Do you want to know how many rats reside (and poop) in your house? We’ve got you covered. The hacks below will help you detect the intensity of rat infestation in your case.

Where Rats Come From

If you want to know where the pesky long-tailed rodents originate, there’s a theory that some species came from Asia. Sometime later, ships took rats to Europe, where they made themselves at home. Soon after that, the furry dirt and disease-spreaders reached North and South America where they seemed to like it as well.

If you’re curious where rats come from in your sweet home, there are several answers to this. Find them below:

  • they’re cold and on the hunt for yummies, and they seriously don’t understand why you’re not so happy to see them;
  • they want all of your food: no, these stinky furry invaders are not picky at all. They’ll even eat your and your pets’ digested food — yuck!
  • they’ve discovered your leaking pipes: stinky babies need their water, too. They want all the comfort you can offer;
  • they like hospitality. Get their favorite wall cracks and holes ready, and they’ll happily squeeze themselves through them to munch on your trash and other yummies;
  • they want your fruit plants and nut trees: the more food, the better.

Black rat on the wooden branches

How Many Rats Can Live Together

Rats are prone to sticking together in groups, also referred to as packs (or mischiefs). Each mischief can contain up to a dozen pests or more. How many rats live inside a nest depends on several criteria: the species in question and how severe the issue is. Up to ten rats can live in one nest in your dwelling. However, it should be noted that the number of nests that you can detect in your house is not at all limited to one.

Here are the signs of a rat invasion in your residence:

  • tiny rat droppings;
  • rat pee marks and musky odor;
  • scratching and squeaking sounds;
  • rub smudges;
  • nests and burrows;
  • agitated pets.

Ways to Detect the Number of Rats in Your House

If you learn to identify rat droppings, you’ll learn how to pinpoint the approximate number of rats in your dwelling. In case of tiny droppings, you’re most likely dealing with a mild mouse infestation. Are you finding ½-in. or larger droppings in your home? Then it’s most likely been invaded by adult rats. Are you noticing both large and tiny droppings? You’ve been visited by rats of all ages in a highly uninvited manner. Lots of tiny droppings are a huge red flag meaning your stinky long-tailed invaders are breeding. The more droppings you find, the more rats munch on your yummies during nighttime.

Below, you’ll find other ways to determine the level of rat invasion in your home:

  • figure out where your rats like to party and where their nests are. Usually, these filthy tiny bastards hide in the least visited and difficult-to-access places in your house, such as basements, attics, crawl spaces, etc.;
  • if you’ve seen only rat rub marks and droppings but haven’t seen the actual rats, it means your rat problem is easily solvable with baits and traps;
  • professional inspection: to figure out exactly how many rats live in a nest in your house, apply to professional rodent control help and receive an extermination quote.

Grey rat an the white background

How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Rats?

The answer to this question is determined by how high the level of infestation is. In case of a mild infestation, eradicating the pesky rodents will take up to six weeks. If you’re facing a severe rodent challenge, solving it may take up to three months.

Here’s what you can do if you want to stave off and exterminate rats on your own:

  • seal the cracks in your house through which rats enter;
  • eliminate food and water sources;
  • spray peppermint oil where your furry invaders like to hang out to repel them;
  • make use of baits and traps;
  • do consider hiring a professional rodent slayer team because you don’t want to experience rat-bite fever first-hand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have more questions on tracking down rats in your house? You’re free to delve deeper into our answers to your most frequently asked questions below. You may find everything you need to know there.

How Do You Know if Rats Are Gone?

There are several indicators determining whether your rats are gone. First, you will no longer hear their nocturnal activity — no more squeaking or loudly chewing on your household yummies. The second indicator requires some action on your side. Leave flour or cornstarch on the floor where you suspect rodent presence. If they are gone, they won’t leave their tail and paw traces on the powdered surface. You will no longer notice fresh rat grease marks or droppings if your filthy little enemies retreat.

What if You Get an Even Worse Case of Infestation After Trying to Get Rid of Rodents?

If nothing helps, and the number of rats gets bigger, turn to professional assistance. Trained experts know how to use droppings to nail down the kind of pest attack you’re facing. They will locate and eliminate rodent populations easily and fast.

Will Rats Return to the Same Place?

Yes, absolutely. Rats will head anywhere where there’s warmth, yummies, and water. Follow the practical prevention tips listed above to prevent the tenacious rodents from coming back to your house.

How Far Do Rats Travel from Their Nest?

These foul nocturnal creatures can travel up to 300 ft. on the hunt for yummies. To compare, house mice usually travel up to 50 ft. away from their nests in search of delectables.

To Wrap up: Seek Professional Help

Now that you know how to determine the approximate level of rat invasion in your dwelling and have explored some vital rat management guidelines, it’s time to get the action going. Naturally, trapping and exterminating the nasty rodents on your own may leave you stressed and exhausted. By allowing professional pest fighters to get your rodent issue under control, you free yourself from potential failures and thus save heaps of your precious time.

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What are your thoughts on the topic? Any tips on fighting the nasty long-tailed home invaders? You’re welcome to have your say in the comments below. We value your feedback greatly.


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Nicholas Martin

Nicholas Martin

I am Nicholas Martin, and I am an entomologist. I combine the insect survey work with the consultation for private pest control agencies. My narrow specializations are both urban pests and agricultural pests. I studied their control over the previous 25 years. More about Nick

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