What evidence might I see if rats or other rodents are on my property?
Burrow holes, which lead to underground rat nests. They are generally around 2-4 inches with smooth edges. They tend to be found under plants or items stored outdoors, so it’s important to regularly and proactively search for them. Rat nests usually have more than one entrance, so it is likely that you will find multiple holes.
Droppings. Rat droppings are around ½ - ¾ of an inch long, with blunt edges. They tend to be found near trash or other food sources. You can tell the difference between new droppings and older ones by how they look, which can help identify how recently there was rat activity in that area. Newer ones are dark and shiny, while old droppings are chalky and dry.
Gnaw marks. Like many other rodent species, rat teeth grow continuously, so they habitually chew on things to file them down and keep them short. Thus, looking for recent marks from rat chewing on things like garbage cans, fences, or under porches can also indicate where rats are getting their food, where they’re living, or the routes that they take to travel between the two.
Runways. Rats take the same pathways, called runways, over and over between their burrows and their food sources. The runways may extend over several properties, as rats may live at one location and feed at another. This repeated movement leaves certain signs that make it possible to identify rat presence and locate their burrows or food sources. Runways are generally located along a vertical surface such as a fence or wall. They can take the form of tamped down plants, dirt paths where plant life has been worn away or packed down earth. The oils on rat fur can also leave dark marks on surfaces that they frequently rub against while traveling, such as fences, walls, or the lattice under porches.