Rat Poop: a Comprehensive Guide on How to Identify and Clean Rat Turds

Finding poop without knowing the animal that it originates from is horrible. Still, rat poop is normally troublesome since you will notice that these small rodents will use the same spot for pooping. So, once you realize that you have a rodent issue, you will have a pile of poop, and this can involve quite the work cleaning up and repairing the areas, even after you’ve already handled the rodent problem itself.

It is very critical to take a couple of measures to handle the poop effectively. Besides, you also need to be cautious to prevent getting any diseases from dealing with the droppings. Still, do you know what rat poop looks like? How can you get rid of it completely? I have created this article to help you with this unpleasant issue.

What Do Rat Feces Look Like?

rat poop

So, you’re wondering, “what does rat poop look like?” It’s quite easy to identify rat feces, especially if they have infested your property. You will see dark poop pellets scattered all over the place. They tend to appear in big groupings, are about an olive’s shape and size, and can mostly be found close to insulations. Still, you can always look up pictures of rat poop to see what they look like.


They are normally black; so, the blacker they are, the fresher they are. This should help to tell whether the infestation is old or new. Old poop tends to dry out, turning gray.


You may be also wondering, “how big is rat poop?” It varies in size based on the rat species, as well as this rodent`s age. If you find various droppings in one place, which is very likely, you will easily be able to tell which ones were left by younger and older rats, and get down to determining whether there are any rats in your home or not. If they’re tinier than a rice pellet, the feces were most likely left by a smaller animal like a roach or a mouse.

rat feces compared to rice and mice poop


If you check out rat poop images, you’ll notice that rat turds tend to be high in quantity. A single rat leaves roughly from 30 to 55 droppings in one day. Regardless of the amount, a significant number of these turds indicates that there are rodents inside your property. Quantity is very important because it helps seasoned professionals estimate the number of rats within the property.


Most rat turds are sausage-shaped. Others tend to look like pills. You might notice a pinch at either end, with the turd looking somehow pointed.

mouse poop compared to others


Fresh turds tend to be moist and shiny. You can use a pen to press a turd if you want to tell how recent it is. Crumbling is a sign that the poop is old.


Rats are bigger in comparison to mice. So, rat poop is normally found in places that are large enough for them to fit. They include the attic spaces, below kitchen equipment, behind stored containers or storage shelves, or along a shed or garage’s wall.

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Difference Between Rat Poop and Other Pests

rat droppings

Rat droppings size is different as compared to that of other animals. On the picture you can see rat droppings. For instance, the droppings of squirrels are normally smaller in comparison to those of rats. They are approximately ⅜ of an inch, while the poop size of an average rat is ¾ of an inch. Besides, squirrels have highly cylindrical-shaped turds, which are browner as well.

Bats, on the other hand, have slightly tinier droppings in comparison to rats, resembling a long black pellet of rice. Mice also have smaller turds in comparison to rats. Finally, roach droppings are also smaller being roughly ¼ of an inch, and black, which is why they are often mistaken for mice poop. However, cockroaches will get into spaces that even mice can’t access, so their poop will be found in several locations.

Is Rat Poop Dangerous? What Diseases May It Cause?

During the cold season, rats seek a place to stay, food, and warmth, especially within our homes, often getting in through tiny crevices and cracks. Still, the main issue is that these rodents are capable of spreading diseases and causing severe property damage while within our homes.

The accumulation of rat poop is capable of spreading bacteria, triggering allergic reactions, as well as contaminating sources of food. Besides, once the poop becomes dry, it can be dangerous to people that inhale it. Additionally, the droppings can spread viruses and diseases. The disease from rat poop include:


This is a potentially lethal disease spread by rodents to human beings. You get it if you become exposed to or inhale infected rat dropping, saliva, or urine. Besides, the chances heighten when you are near a space where rats are actively residing. Early signs and symptoms of hantavirus include feeling dizzy or tired, headaches, a fever, abdominal pains, chills, as well as muscle aches.

Bubonic Plague

This plague is also referred to as the “Black Death.” It is significantly contagious, and popular for killing roughly 34% of the population in Europe during the Middle Ages. It is normally spread through being bitten by an infected rat and can lead to headaches, fever, or lymph nodes that are swollen and painful.


This is a kind of food poisoning. It is spread by rat poop through consuming contaminated food. Symptoms of this disease include abdominal pain, fever, and diarrhea.

Rat-Bite Fever (RBF)

This is another potentially serious infectious disease caused by rats. It is spread by an infected rat or consuming food that has been contaminated by rats. Symptoms include pain in the muscles, a rash, headaches, puking, and fever.

How to Clean It Safely

Of course, you are now trying to figure out how to clean rat poop. The process can be quite complicated since one needs to be very careful. However, this article will provide you with detailed steps on cleaning rat poop.
Open your windows and doors. It is important to ventilate the room you intend to clean for at least half an hour before you start.

  1. Put on protective gear. Rubber gloves should prevent you from getting into direct contact with the feces. A face mask prevents you from inhaling the dust. You should also consider putting on protective goggles to prevent contaminated dust from getting into your eyes.
  2. Use a 10% chlorine bleach solution, that is, 720 ml of chlorine bleach in 10 liters of hot water, to spray the turds. Avoid vacuuming or sweeping to prevent pathogens from being released into the air. Alternatively, the pathogens could be trapped in your vacuum cleaner or broom.
  3. Collect the turds using a paper towel. Next, put the turds as well as the paper towel in a plastic bag that comes with a sealer. Get rid of the waste outside your property.
  4. Use disinfectant to wipe all surfaces and floors. You can use the earlier-mentioned solution. Once done, dry using a paper towel.
  5. Finally, use a disinfectant and hot water to clean thoroughly and scrub your hands.

Frequently Asked Questions on Rat Feces

Now you have an idea of what rat poop looks like. Besides, you know that it causes diseases. Still, I’d like to address some of the commonly asked questions.

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What Does Rat Poop Smell Like?

You will notice an odor that is musky and pungent in your property. The urine, however, tends to have a more noticeable odor. If there’s rat poop, there is rat urine as well.

How Long Is Rat Poop Toxic?

There isn’t a particular time frame within which rat poop remains toxic. This is because, whether moist or dry, it can cause diseases. It can trigger allergies, contaminate sources of food, and spread bacteria, whether it is fresh or old.

What Disease Is Caused by Rat Poop?

Though I have already mentioned this aspect, I would like to collect all the negative impacts of rat feces that may cause harm to a human’s health in one list. So, these diseases are:

  • Hantavirus;
  • Bubonic plague;
  • Rat-bite fever;
  • Salmonellosis.

Getting Rid of Rat Poop in Your Property

Rat poop can be quite stressful to clean out. It may leave your home with a pungent odor or looking unpleasant. Besides, you’ve seen that rat turds can also cause several diseases. Of course, you don’t want to take chances, that is why you need to clean it out as soon as you can.

With the details given above, it becomes easier not only to identify what rat poop looks like but also to clean it out. How do you deal with these rodents, and clean out their poop? I am looking forward to your questions and comments, which can be left in the comment section below.


  • Cleaning Up After Rodents (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):

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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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  1. Reply
    Christian Gondar 2020-07-09 at 4:05 pm

    Good afternoon. I’m currently living in Brazil and recently I had to do the clean up of our stainless steel water tank. The moment I removed the lid I knew I had been dealt an unlucky hand because the bottom was full of faeces in the shape of spindles. Needless to say I immediately took the necessary precautions to have the water tank thoroughly cleaned. However, a doubt has been festering my mind ever since. Since, the water tank is brand-new and has never been put into use, do you think is worth disinfecting it for human use? The folks at home loathe the idea.

  2. I have an old shed that had pack rats in it for several years. I have cleaned it out using safety gear, but there are spots where the urine and feces have become like concrete. Any suggestions as to how to clean these spots off of the plywood floor? Some solution that would dissolve the excrement so it could be wiped up with paper towels?

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