Signs You Have a Mice and Rat Problem

While some keep rats as pets, you likely do not want to discover a rat or mouse lurking in your home. Their unsanitary and destructive methods make for less-than-ideal roommates. There is little worse than eating or getting ready to sleep, only to find one of these furry friends lurking nearby. While you may be ready to call a local Detroit exterminator then and there, it helps to know what you are up against. If you suspect you have a rodent problem in your home, use the following tips to discern whether the creature is working alone or has friends nearby.


The biggest and likely most well-known indicator of mice and rats is droppings. Rats can produce up to 40 droppings in one night. These will also likely be centralized in one location, so identifying them should be easy. These droppings are usually dark, moist, and the size of a grain of rice. As they sit out, they dry and will crumble if touched.

A Strong Odor

If you notice a musky or pungent smell, this can also indicate that rodents have infiltrated your home. While it may be present along the paths these rodents travel, it will likely be most concentrated in small hideaways. These include drawers, cabinets, and crawl spaces.

Additionally, a strong foul smell may indicate a mouse or rat has died nearby. Household pets are especially adept at picking up on these, so take cues from them. If your cat or dog is paying newfound attention to a portion of your wall, there may be a rodent, alive or dead, concealed within. If you dare, investigate with a flashlight to be sure.

Scratching Noises

Have you noticed faint scratching sounds emanating from the walls when your home is otherwise quiet? This is a solid indicator of a rodent problem. These rodents are nocturnal, so they are most noticeable at night. Rats and mice are excellent climbers and will likely create sounds in roofs, walls, and attics.

In addition to scuttling, squeaking is a dead giveaway to the presence of rodents. This is how they communicate with each other. If you hear squeaking or scurrying, you may want to call in a professional rather than climb into your home’s dark places alone.

Smear Marks

Rats and mice have bad eyesight and generally navigate using well-traveled paths. As they are rather unhygienic, they can leave a trail of dirt and grease left behind from contact with their filthy bodies. These marks can be faint, but the more rodents are present, the darker and more prominently these trails will be. In addition to smear marks, these high traffic areas can also be identified by urine stains and droppings.

Gnaw Marks

Mice teeth continue to grow throughout their lives. To combat this, mice chew on surfaces much like a cat uses a scratching post. They tend to gravitate towards wood, plastic, and other hard household surfaces. This can create large problems as they frequently chew through furniture and electrical components, causing untold damage. Be sure to note the size of the gnaw marks. Smaller marks are usually evidence of mice, whereas larger marks usually indicate the presence of rats. If you notice gnaw marks in your home, especially new ones, it may be time to call in a professional.


Brown rats are notorious for burrowing. They can build large underground networks of tunnels that they use for food storage and nesting.


Mice and rats are quite similar when it comes to building a nest. They typically shred soft materials to use as the base of their nests. These materials include but are not limited to fabric, sawdust, insulation, cardboard, clothes, and pillows.

The nests are usually found in clever hideaways such as attics, lofts, and crawl spaces. If you suspect you have a rodent problem, keep an eye out for a nest. If a nest is not readily available, you may find the shredded remains of their foraged materials.


In addition to smear marks, rats and mice also leave behind footprints and tail marks. These are usually found in dusty, less trafficked areas. If you suspect rodents are moving about but cannot find a trail, sprinkle some flour on the suspected areas. It will make the tracks much more noticeable. If you find recent evidence of rodent behavior in your home, waste no time and call a professional exterminator.

A mouse or rat infestation is the worst nightmare of a homeowner. Eliminating such a problem can feel like a daunting task. Use the above tips to discern what you are up against. With some careful detective work and the help of a professional, you are sure to get your home back to a sanitary, rodent-free environment.

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