High Contrast Mode:

Common Signs of Rats and Mice

Common Signs of Rats and Mice

Rats and mice are some of the worst-case scenarios for homeowners. Not only do they pose a variety of sanitary problems, but they’re also just icky. Our team of pest control experts at Palmetto Exterminators has put together a comprehensive list of what to look out for if you think you may have rats or mice in your home, and what you can do to help if you suspect their presence. 


A surefire way to confirm any rodent suspicions is the presence of droppings. Rodent drops are typically found around food sources so check your pantry, sink, drawers and cupboards, and along walls. The highest number of droppings will be found where the rodents are nesting or feeding, and the droppings found there can help you determine if it is a new or old infestation. Fresh droppings are dark and moist, but as they age they dry out and become gray and will often crumble if moved. This can help you determine how active the infestation is. 


Rodents will use discarded paper materials to build nests in your home. Things like shredded paper, fabric, or dry organic matter like old plants or fruit peels are ideal for rodent nests. It can be difficult to tell how old a nest is, therefore determining if it is part of an active infestation can be tricky. If you find a nest, look for other signs of an infestation like droppings around the nest area. 

Scratching Noises 

Rodents can be very small and hide in your walls, under floors, or in ceilings. If you have been hearing muffled scratching noises or even some squeaking, there could be rodents in your home. If you have a pet like a cat or a dog, they may be able to help tip you off as well, as they will be able to hear better. Pay attention to your pet’s behavior and any sounds you hear that sound like scurrying or squeaking. 


Rodent tracks or trails can be pretty easy to spot and are very distinctive. You can shine a flashlight on an area and see trails, smudges, and little footprints where rodents have frequented. If you suspect a rodent infestation, try spreading some flour over an area you think may be traveled by rodents and watch over time to see if there are any distinct trails left behind. 

Gnaw Marks 

Holes gnawed in food wrappers and walls are a telltale sign of rodent infestation. Believe it or not, you can also date rodent gnaw marks to help you determine how current the infestation is. Newer gnaw marks are lighter in color and as they age they darken. The size of the gnaw marks can also help you determine if they were made by rats or mice. Larger gnaw marks are typically produced by rats, who have larger teeth, and conversely smaller marks are indicative of mice. 

Bad Smell 

Other pets that you may have will be able to pick up on odors left behind by rodents. If your cat or dog begins pawing at or is hyper-fixated on an area it was recently uninterested in, it could be smelling urine or other rodent products left behind. If the infestation is large enough you may also be able to smell ammonia in hidden or reclusive areas. This is a sign of a new and active infestation. 

If you have one or more of these signs in your home, you may have an infestation. Here are some tips to prevent or help hinder a rodent infestation. 

Seal Holes 

Sealing holes inside or outside the home will help prevent rodents from entering. You can plug small holes with material like steel wool, or patch holes in walls with traditional patching material. 

Get Rid of Nesting Sites 

Removing things around your home that make it easier for rodents to nest there will help keep them away or encourage them to leave. Leaf piles, deep mulch, and an excess of discarded paper materials like cardboard and fabric are all ideal nesting piles for rodents. 

Keep Your Home Clear of Food Debris 

Discarded food and water sources are heaven to rodents. Keeping kitchen trash contained and any compost piles away from your home will go miles when it comes to making your home less attractive to rodents. 

Call an Exterminator 

The best way to get rodents out of your home and keep them there is to call your local exterminator. Rodents pose a variety of threats and can be stubborn when it comes to getting them out of your home. At Palmetto Exterminators, our team of professionals is here to help you protect your home and your loved ones from rodent infestation. If you suspect that you may have some unwanted roommates, or want to get ahead of any potential squatters, call or visit us online today to schedule an appointment. Get your quote for a free pest inspection today!