How To Tell How Many Rats Are in Your House

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Rats in the house are something we all dread. These creepy little rodents inspire fear and terror from many. Or, maybe you’re someone who finds these little creatures adorable? Regardless of what you think of rats, you don’t want them roaming your home. . 

How To Tell How Many Rats Are in Your House

If you suspect you have a rat in your home, the best way of how to tell how many rats are in your house is to try and catch one through traps to see if signs of the rat disappear. If you continue to see rat feces, urine, or signs of rodents, chances are you have several more in your home.

Rats can cause issues to your home by chewing through wires and burrowing into walls. They can also expose you and your family to disease. These issues can become major problems if you cannot get rid of your rat problem. 

Maybe you’ve caught one rat and thought your issue was over, and now you’re experiencing more signs of rats. That’s not uncommon. 

However, if you found your way to this article, you’ve likely moved past the fear of having a rat in your house. You’re worried about how many there are. 

Often, if you see one, there are others around that you haven’t seen. You need to know how many critters you’re dealing with before you can ensure that the problem is taken care of. 

We’ll try to help answer that question by talking about the telltale signs such as nests, droppings, noises, and path marks. Then, we’ll talk a bit about getting rid of the rats in your home. 

The Telltale Signs of a Large Rat Infestation

If you see one rat in your home, you can probably bet that there will be more living within the walls. This may be upsetting, but it is smart to be practical about the situation. Rats are social animals that breed quickly, so it is only rational to assume there will be multiple rats living in the same place. 

Once you catch one rat, perform some tests and look for telltale signs (we’ll list the biggest ones below), and if you still find evidence of rats, you likely have multiple rats. Wherever they are making their home, you’ll want to know how big the infestation is and how to get rid of them.

If you don’t catch them soon, they will have the opportunity to breed, and you very quickly could be dealing with an infestation. 

The Telltale Signs of a Large Rat Infestation

Rats are nocturnal animals. They may be hard to spot during the day, so you’ll need to watch for signs of their presence. 

Here are some sure signs that rats are living in your home. 

  • Droppings 
  • Smell
  • Nests
  • Noises
  • Path marks

The most important thing to do is to test for rats. 

Test Them and See

To test for rats, you can use household items—no need to go out and buy expensive gear to inspect your home. 

  • Leave out crackers or food: This may seem counterintuitive since it is one of the things that attracts rats. But this can be an excellent way to see if there are rats in the home. If the food disappears or has bite marks, you have rats.
  • Sprinkle flour around: Leaving flour sprinkled around will help you find footprints from rats who may be in your home. 

3. Use peppermint oil: Peppermint oil deters rats, so placing it in areas of your home will prevent rats from going in those areas. 


It is essential to know what rat nests look like. Finding a rat nest is one of the clearest signs of a rat’s presence and can even give you clues as to how many rats are in your home. Rats use any available materials like insulation, cardboard, or other soft material to make their nests. 

Droppings and Smells

Rat droppings are another sure sign of rats in your home and can help you determine the type of rat and the infestation size. If you can identify the droppings, you can confirm your suspicions that you have a rat problem. The number of droppings will also be a good clue as to how many rats are in the home and how long they have been there. 

The smell is another good indicator. Rat’s urine is incredibly potent and strong. It has an ammonia-like odor that is hard to miss. If you have many rats in your home, you are sure to begin to smell their urine over time.

If you spot droppings and smell the odor of ammonia, you are likely dealing with rats. 


Certain sounds can help you determine if and how many rats are in your home. If you’re undergoing a rat investigation, use your hearing as a tool to help you determine where the issue is. You should be listening for things like scurrying across the floors or in the walls, burrowing, and squeaking. 

One telltale sign is if your household pet starts to show signs of hearing noises. Their hearing is much better than ours and can be your first indication that something is amiss. However, pets can be reactive, so don’t freak out right away. They could be reacting to a car outside or an ant on the floor.

When rats start creating their different types of nests, you can often hear them collecting and moving things, or chewing through wood and plastic to source materials.

Path Marks

Path marks are areas where rats have regularly walked and have created a path marking their presence. Rats have poor eyesight, so they develop routes that they always follow to help with their navigation. Their bodies are often dirty and greasy, and they will leave marks on the walls where they have been walking. 

How Do I Get Rid of Rats? 

Wondering how to get rid of mice or rats? First, you need to cut off their entrance to the house. Then, either contact a professional or set up traps like glue traps or snap traps. You can also do certain things to prevent the animals, such as eliminating their food source and using sound machines or peppermint oil to deter them.

How long does it take to get rid of rats? The answer depends on several factors, but the most important one is how big of a population there is.

Jake Garza
Jake Garza
Jake is the founder of Hama Pest Control, the preferred choice for pest removal and extermination in the Greater Toronto Area. With over thirty years of experience, Jake prides himself in bringing quality, knowledge, and care to Hama Pest Control's customers.
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