It can be challenging to tell how many rats are in your house. You need to find alternative methods to estimate their population. But, don’t worry, there are several methods to help you get a rough idea. It is also understandable to feel anxious about having rats in your home, but with the right approach, you can quickly get rid of them. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about estimating the number of rats and effectively eliminating them.
How to tell how many rats are in your house
Follow these tips to tell how many rats are in your house:
1. Number of rat droppings
One rat produces 20 to 50 droppings a day. So, if you come across many more than this number a day, you could be having a colony of these pests in your home.
Also, when you come across rodent droppings in your attic, your initial assumption may be that they are from rats. However, you may be dealing with squirrel excrement. Although squirrels also leave elongated droppings similar to rats, theirs tend to be bigger in size, lighter in color, and have a thicker middle section.
Rat droppings are typically rice-shaped and measure approximately 1/2 inch in length. If you come across a range of droppings sizes, it is a strong indication to tell how many rats are in your house and that there is a mix of both young and mature rats present.
Rat droppings can carry various diseases, so it is crucial to handle them with caution. Wrap the droppings in a paper towel and properly dispose of them. Clean the surface they were found on using a cleaner with either bleach or vinegar to disinfect it.
2. Rat nests and nesting materials
If you find a single nest already, it could mean a significant rat population in your home. To tell how many rats are in your house, examine the size and quantity of nests found in areas such as the crawl space, rafters, or basement.
Consider how many rats could potentially fit in each nest to get a sense of the overall population. If you are unable to locate any nests, it is possible that the rats are not using your home as a sleeping site. They may be seeking alternative locations to rest elsewhere each night.
3. Noisier nights in your home
If the sounds of crawling, scratching, and gnawing are disrupting your sleep, it is a sign of rat infestation. If you hear these noises frequently and at all hours of the night, you are likely dealing with a large number of rats. However, if you only hear occasional scurrying, it is probably a small colony.
Consider the Location of the noises to better tell how many rats are in your house.
When evaluating the severity of the infestation, take note of where the noises are coming from. If you hear sounds in multiple walls and ceilings throughout your home, you could be dealing with a significant infestation.
4. You saw multiple rats scurrying around
If you have only seen one rat in the past two weeks, the infestation may not be severe. However, if you are encountering rats frequently, such as every day or several at once when turning on a light at night, it is a sign of rats in your home.
Rats actively try to stay hidden, so the more rats you see, the greater the likelihood of a widespread infestation.
5. Multiple scratches and bite marks
A high volume of scratch and bite marks can be a helpful way to tell how many rats are in your house. Assess the size and quantity of holes in the affected areas. If you notice only a few isolated scratches or bites, it may indicate a small colony.
However, if there are multiple rooms with large holes in the drywall and significant portions of wood furniture are missing, there is likely a significant number of rats present.
How do you know if you have multiple rats?
Having rats in your home can be indicated by several signs such as sightings of the rodents, discovering droppings, or observing scratch marks.
If you come across a rat in your dwelling, you likely have a rat issue. Although they might not be the most pleasant creatures, it’s important to remember that rats are naturally afraid of humans and will avoid contact.
To confirm a rat infestation, look out for these key signs.
- Rice-sized poop
- Scratching or scurrying sounds in the wall
- Small nests made of paper and wood
- Footprints or grease marks near corners
- Scratches and bite marks
Is it possible to know how many rats are in your house?
Estimating the precise number of rats may not be possible as it would require physically counting each individual rodent. However, it is possible to make an informed estimate based on the signs of their presence. Nust observe the severity of the signs to give you a good idea of the number of rats in your home.
In small urban areas, the rat population may only consist of a few individuals. However, if food is abundant, more rats may appear and join the colony. It is not uncommon for some colonies to support a significant number, potentially numbering in the dozens.
Keeping rats at bay
Do the following to get rid of rats in your house:
1. Get rid of attractive resources
Rats in your home are in search of resources, so removing them may cause them to leave. Keep your home clean and free of food and water sources by sweeping the floors, properly storing trash in sealed bins, and eliminating any standing water sources.
A tidy home will make it less appealing for rats and reduce the likelihood of a rat infestation.
2. Blocking their entries
Consider sealing gaps and openings where rats may be entering will also help in preventing infestations. Fill holes in the drywall and seal exterior openings using caulk or sealant.
3. Set up traps
If you suspect you have a limited number of rats, the most effective solution is to trap them. Purchase humane traps and place bait, such as peanut butter or bacon, inside. Once captured, you can either humanely dispose of them or release them at least one mile away from your home. Follow this guide to make your own bucket trap for a humane catch.
Note that using glue boards may not be the best option for rats as they are strong enough to escape or move around with the trap still attached.
4. Contact a professional to tackle larger infestations.
Dealing with a rat infestation can be hazardous as these pests are known to carry various diseases and can become aggressive when cornered, potentially biting or scratching. If you are faced with a substantial rat problem, it is advisable to seek the help of a professional exterminator or rodent control expert who has the necessary expertise and equipment to safely and effectively address the issue.
How do you know if rats are gone?
When you no longer hear noise in your walls, there are no longer any droppings, and you don’t find any unexpected holes in your drywall or cupboards, the rats have likely left for good. The lack of any evidence of their presence is the strongest indication that they are gone. Therefore, continue to clean and monitor your traps until all significant signs of their presence have disappeared.
If rats are still present after a few weeks and you are unable to tell how many rats are in your house, seek the services of a professional pest controller. They have access to the latest rodenticides and possess the expertise necessary to ensure the complete elimination of the rat population.