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What Do Rat Droppings Look Like?

Updated on: December 7, 2020

Rats are filthy pests that can bring diseases and damages to a home, which is why it’s important to contact a professional exterminator at the first sign of rat presence. One easy way to find out if rats have been living on a property is to look out for rat droppings.

So how can you identify rat droppings based on their appearance? Compared to mouse droppings, rat droppings are larger – they’re about the size of raisins with blunt ends. More rat feces can be found in areas where they sleep, which is why there will be more droppings the closer you get to the rat nest.

How to Identify Rat Droppings

Every year during winter, around 21 million American homes report rodent infestations on their property. These disease-causing rodents are attracted to homes with warmth and a stable source of food and water. To check your home for rat presence this winter, the easiest way is to look for rat droppings.

Rat Droppings: What Do They Look Like?

Aside from being unsightly and foul-smelling, rat droppings also bring different diseases that your family and pets may contract. These rat wastes typically appear as pellets and their color varies depending on when it was produced. Fresh droppings are dark and moist, but they eventually harden and lose their color as days pass.

Rat droppings have different shapes and sizes depending on the species of rat they come from. Roof rats produce smaller droppings than brown rats. They are also curved, unlike the rectangular droppings that brown rats produce.

Rat vs Mouse Droppings: What’s the Difference?

 SizeQuantityShape
Mouse Droppings¼ inchUp to 75 pellets per daySmall; one or both ends of each pellet may be pointed
Brown Rat Droppings¾ inchUp to 50 pellets per dayLarge; rectangular pellets with blunt ends that are typically found in small aggregates
Roof Rat Droppings½ inchUp to 50 pellets per dayLarge; curved and shaped like sausages with pointed ends

Although both mice and rats have disease-causing droppings, there are significant differences between them that can help identify which rodent is infesting the home. By determining what rodent is wreaking havoc under the roof, it’s easier to narrow down the effective rodent control method to be used.

Mouse droppings are significantly smaller than rat droppings at only a quarter inch each pellet. Although they are smaller, mice can produce more of these pellets every day. On the other hand, rat droppings are further divided into two kinds that depend on the rat species that laid them.

Brown rats (also called Norway rats) have large droppings that are clumped in aggregates. These are large pellets with blunt ends. Roof rats also create large droppings, but they’re slightly smaller than those of the brown rats. These are usually shaped like sausages that are scattered around an area.

Where Can You Find Rat Droppings at Home?

Rats are nocturnal animals, which makes them difficult to spot during the day. Their droppings are a good indicator of their presence in a home. By looking at the amount of droppings around the house, you can get an idea of how severe the infestation is. Droppings are also a good indicator of the rat nest’s location. Aside from the unpleasant smell getting stronger, you will also notice more droppings the nearer you get to the nest.

If you suspect a rat infestation at home, here are some of the best places to check for rat droppings and nests:

  • Areas where there is stored food, such as pantries and kitchen cabinets
  • Place near appliances like water heaters
  • Utility closets
  • Crawl spaces
  • Attics
  • Air vents
  • Areas with holes in the wall

4 Diseases that Rat Droppings May Carry

Direct contact with rodents is only one way of transmitting diseases. Humans and their pets can also contract different disease-causing pathogens when they accidentally ingest rat droppings or consume food that’s been contaminated.

Here are some of the most common diseases that these rat droppings may carry:

  1. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome – This viral disease can cause the infected person to experience fever, headache, muscle ache, dizziness, chills, and stomach problems. These symptoms may develop over 1-8 weeks after the initial contact with the rat droppings.
  2. Salmonellosis – This is a common type of food-borne disease that’s caused by consumption of food or water contaminated by rat droppings, urine, or saliva. Salmonellosis patients may experience stomach cramps, fever, and diarrhea for a week. If left untreated, this disease can be fatal for children, people with weak immune systems, and the elderly.
  3. Leptospirosis – This disease can occur when the Leptospira bacteria are transmitted into the body through open wounds, eyes, nose, or mouth. Leptospirosis patients may experience high fever, headache, chills, muscle ache, vomiting, jaundice, red eyes, abdominal pain, rash, and diarrhea. Untreated leptospirosis may lead to complications like kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, and other respiratory conditions.
  4. Rat-Bite Fever – Although most cases of rat-bite fever occur when the rodent scratches or bites a person, this disease may also be transmitted through the consumption of food or water contaminated with rat feces. Some of the symptoms of rat-bite fever include rash, joint pain, muscle pain, headache, vomiting, and fever.

How to Clean Rat Droppings in Your Home

Before cleaning the rat droppings inside your home, it’s important to ensure first that these rodents are gone for good. Removing the rat wastes is useless if the rodents are still inside the home because they will just produce more droppings.

Rodent exterminating companies typically include the removal of rat droppings in their services, but you can also get rid of the pest waste. Just ensure to follow the precautions set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Center (CDC). Here are important practices to observe when cleaning the rat droppings at home:

  • Avoid sweeping or vacuuming the area before cleaning it. The particles from the rat droppings may become airborne and cause problems for anyone who inhales them.
  • Allow the air to enter the area where the droppings are found. Wait for at least half an hour before cleaning the site.
  • Do not touch the droppings with bare hands. Use vinyl, rubber, or latex gloves when getting rid of the droppings. It’s also essential to wear a respirator or breathing mask when cleaning.
  • Apply a disinfectant spray and leave the area for at least 5 minutes. If there isn’t a disinfectant spray available, you can make one by mixing 10 parts water with one-part bleach.
  • Use paper towels or disposable rags when cleaning the area and picking up the droppings.
  • Dump the disposable rags with rat droppings into a plastic bag and seal it. Put the sealed bag inside the covered trash can and make sure to take it out immediately.

Eliminate the Rat Infestation at Home with PermaKill Exterminating

Here at PermaKill Exterminating, we understand the importance of finding a trusted rat exterminator that can eliminate the pests at home safely and efficiently. With the right pest control techniques and tools, you can count on us to get rid of the rats in your home.

Learn more about our smart and safe rodent extermination services by calling us now. 

Read more: Roof Rat vs House Mouse: Which One Has Invaded Your House?

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