Oh, rats! Suspecting a rodent problem in your home can cause major distress to say the least.

You need to find out for sure so that you can take care of the problem before they do major damage. Knowing what to look for will help.

8 Telltale Signs You Have a Rodent Problem

Search for the following signs to see if you need to call an exterminator.

1. Stench

A rodent infestation stinks, literally. The scent of urine will waft through your home and smell especially pungent in closed spaces.

A minor infestation might only smell in a certain area, and give off a light scent that you cannot quite put your finger on. A larger infestation will give off a thick, musty stench. It may smell like ammonia.

2. Strange Noises in the Night

Do you hear strange noises at night that leave you questioning your sanity? Good news, first: the noises may be real. Bad news: you might be hearing a rodent problem.

Mice and rats tend to scurry around at night. You may wake up to the sound of scuffling and scratching across the hardwood floor, in the walls, and up in the ceiling. 

Mice also tend to make little, squeaking noises. Rats, on the other hand, squeak, hiss, and chatter much louder. You will sleep much better once you rid the house of those critters.

3. Droppings

Mouse droppings look like chocolate sprinkles with tapered ends. Rats leave bigger droppings with blunt edges. 

Older droppings will appear crusty and crumbly. Fresh ones will look darker in color and leathery.

Rodents will leave their droppings around the walls and inside of your cupboards. Also, search around your attic and basement for droppings. You will find a greater concentration of them as you approach their nesting area.

4. Chewed Stuff

Rodents love to gnaw and shred things. If furniture, walls, and food packaging in your cupboards look gnawed, then rodents probably did it.

You may think that they could never get into your closed cupboards. However, these critters can squeeze themselves through the tiniest holes and cracks in any type of foundation.

5. Snack Trails

Rodents make rude house guests. They tend to leave crumbs, scraps, and stuffing in strange places around the house.

6. A Nest

Rodents use fabric, paper, stuffing, feathers, and other debris to make their nests. They tend to keep them close to a food and water source, but away from danger. If you find a hidden pile of random junk, you may have found the source of your mouse or rat problem.

7. Weird Pet Behavior

Dogs and cats naturally stay very aware of their surroundings and can smell, hear, and see better than us. Your pet will most likely notice a rodent infestation before you do.

If your animal starts behaving strangely, pay attention, as it may indicate that you have a rodent problem. They may bark or scratch at the walls, or they may constantly run around sniffing the air. Pets also tend to urinate in spots where they smell the rodents.

8. Eek!

You may actually stumble upon a mouse or a rat. Seeing a rodent should prompt you to look for the other telltale signs of an infestation.

Reasons to Act Promptly

When you detect these signs, act promptly. You should not wait on eliminating a rodent infestation for the following reasons.


First and foremost, rodents put your family at risk.

Rodents can carry hantaviruses, which can spread through their urine and feces. This group of viruses can make you very ill and a few can actually lead to death. People tend to contract them from improperly cleaning up after the pests.

They can also carry salmonella. Rodents spread this deadly virus by contaminating food in the cupboards.

Rats and mice also carry fleas and other parasites. Through these bugs, they can spread Lyme disease and other serious illnesses.


Mice and rats can start fires in your home. They will chew through everything, including electrical wires. This makes them a serious fire hazard.


The exterminator charges you peanuts compared to the damages a growing rodent problem will cost. They will:

  • Eat and ruin food
  • Destroy furniture
  • Cause structural damage to your home
  • Tunnel through and destroy wall and attic insulation
  • Chew through clothing, documents, keepsakes, and valuable items

The cost will continue to grow with their colony. Mice and rats will literally take over everything in your home.

How to Keep Your Home Rodent Free

You can take measures to get rid of the infestation and keep your home rodent free in the future.

Evict Them

You might want to manage a small infestation on your own. You can get all sorts of traps that kill the rodents or humanely trap them for removal. This guide offers the details for ridding your attic of rodents.

If the signs point to a large infestation, you may find it too difficult to handle on your own. In this case, call an exterminator.

Seal Up Cracks

Rodents will squeeze into your home through small cracks and holes in the foundation. Search walls and floors around the entire house, especially in the attic and basement. 

Seal up any cracks or holes that you find. Even cracks that look impossible for a rodent to fit through could be their entryway.

Keep the House Squeaky Clean

Rodents seek out food, trash, and piles of anything. Keeping your home clean will make it less appealing to mice and rats.

Vacuum and sweep regularly so bits of food don’t entice them. Take out the trash regularly as well. 

And don’t hoard! Even piles of clean stuff will look like a perfect nesting spot to a rodent.

Take Your Home Back

A rodent problem can leave you feeling violated. It’s both unsightly and unsafe.

Use this guide to determine if you have an infestation and to keep your home rodent free. At Florida Independent, we want to help you live a happy, healthy, and rodent-free life. Read more articles on our health and fitness page!

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