Tag Archives: rat poop


rats1We get a lot of questions about rats.  What do rats like to eat?  Why are rats in my home?  What do rat droppings look like?  How do I get rid of rats?


Roof rats, Norway rats, black rats, pack rats, kangaroo rats, naked mole rats, cotton rats.  Not all creatures called “rats” are actually of the rat family, but when you’re dealing with a rat infestation, you probably don’t care what type of rat you have, you just want them gone.  Unfortunately, different types of rats behave differently, which means that you need to know what kind of rats are breeding around you so that you can most effectively get rid of them.  That’s one real advantage to having a rat catcher / wildlife removal expert.  With a little investigation, they can tell what kind of rats are infesting your house or building, and they have the expertise and tools to get rid of that particular type of rat.


Rat teeth are constantly growing, so a rat must continually gnaw on things to keep them a manageable size.  Combine that need with strong teeth and powerful jaw muscles, and rats can chew through pretty much anything, including concrete and lead pipes.  A rat can bite with the force of 12 tons per square inch (a great white shark bites with 20 tons per square inch.)  Ouch!!  So, once rats are in a building or a home, anything is fair game for gnawing.  Wood joists, wires, boxes, soffit, pretty much any building material and personal property.


Rats will eat pretty much anything and gnaw on everything. They are opportunistic feeders, which means if they can get at it, they’ll eat it.  Grains, meat, fish, seeds, fruit, snails, insects, pet food, leather, fur and other rodents.  Keeping lids tight on garbage cans, getting rid of bird feeders, and cutting off access to gardens and food storage will all help limit a rat’s access, but they’re quite capable of climbing, jumping and chewing their way in if they’re determined.  Allstate Animal Control has a slick rodent barrier that prevents rodents from digging under a fence and climbing up fences, trees or telephone posts to gain access to a food source.


Rat droppings are compact black pellets that look very much like a bean or raisin.  Their droppings usually measure about ¼ to ¾ of an inch long, and are usually found in their traffic areas, outside the structure, by window wells, window ledges, or access holes.


Rats can get into a home through a tiny opening.  Holes left by woodpeckers, openings around pipes, a weak soffit or other roofing material are excellent access points for rats, and you may notice the entryway is black and greasy from a rat’s body oils.  Finding and sealing one opening, though, may not be enough.  They will likely have more than one entrance point.  Again, a professional rat trapper can inspect your building or home, locate and seal up these little holes.


Picking up a few traps at a hardware store and setting them around heavily trafficked areas is definitely an option for homeowners, but since rats are such prolific breeders, it’s likely you have more rats in the walls or attic or under the floor than you can see or catch.  Rat poison is another option, but introduces possible harm or even death to children or animals who get overly curious. Also, rats are smart and learn to quickly avoid most poisons set out for them.  Keep in mind that rats pack a painful bite, carry diseases (sometimes fatal diseases), and get very feisty and ornery when cornered.  The absolute best way of getting rid of rats is to have a professional trapper come out to your building.  They have the expertise, the tools and the experience to find out which kind of rat you’re dealing with, use the most effective methods of exterminating rats or trapping rats or killing rats, and do what is needed to keep rats from coming back.

What size is rat poop?

rat removal

My husband and I have been debating this last week on the size of rat poop.  I’d like to think we were more high-brow than that, indulging in political discussions or loving debates over social issues.  But, no, it’s been about the size of rat poop, and now our three sweet and precocious children have joined in the discussion.

One morning, several days ago, I sent my husband off to work and my kids off to school as normal, and started in on my daily routine.  I clean the kitchen, wash the dishes and retire to my home office to dial into work.  After clearing off the breakfast table, I grabbed a broom and swept the floor underneath.  That’s when I noticed hard, little black pellets littering the floor.  At first, I didn’t think anything of it, but when I bent to sweep everything into the dust pan, it suddenly occurred to me to wonder, “What does rat poop actually look like?  Is this it?”

I got really upset at the thought of rats in the house.  I work really hard at keeping a clean home, despite three very active children.  I’m not saying it’s perfect and spotless, but it’s clean and sanitary, and I’ve always prided myself on an exceptionally clean kitchen.  So, why on earth would I find rat poop under the dining table??

The pellets were different sizes – some round, some oval, but they were all the same dark color, and I could tell they were the same consistency as they rolled around in the dust bin.

Disturbed, I told my family about it that afternoon as everyone came home, and I begged them all to be careful not to leave any food out.  I assumed my husband would have no issues with me calling in a rat exterminator, but he called the whole experience into question, asking me if I even knew the size of rat poop, or what rat droppings look like.

My eight year-old daughter raised the question of why I was so sure it was a rat.  Maybe it was a mouse?  My eleven year-old boy sided with his father, saying he thought rat poop was more uniform in size and shape.

I admit, I got exasperated.  In my mind, I was sure it was a rat and I was going to battle it until we had gotten rid of it.  Over the next couple of days, I’d find more black pellets.  I’d show the entire family and the discussion over the size of rat poop would rage on.

One night, the mystery was finally solved and the discussion put to rest.  It was late, and I noticed the light on in the kitchen.  I padded downstairs, thinking we had just forgotten to turn off the light before going to bed.  That’s when I saw him under the table.  My 6 year old son, who had remained fairly quiet in our family discussion of what rat poop looks like and the size of rat poop, was sitting cross-legged on the floor.  In his hands, he held a stale chocolate cupcake from a batch I made on Sunday.  Apparently, he’d squirreled some away, and snuck down each night to nibble on them while hiding under the table.  My “rat droppings” turned out to be chocolate cake crumbs.

Get Rid of Rats

get rid of rats   
         “In an effort to get rid of rats in the dormitories, we require all students’ food be kept in the kitchens.  The kitchens will remain open at all times to allow you access to your food.”

            The sign was posted on both ends of every floor of the dorms.  “Dude, you can’t let L’il Debbie stay the night anymore,” Mark joked, pointing at Clayton’s stash of snack cakes. 

            “I’m so gonna miss her,” Clayton said, some chocolate crumbs still sticking on the corner his lips.  He wasn’t a small guy.

            “So, seriously, why can’t we keep food in our rooms anymore?  They say they’re going to check us to make sure we don’t have anything.”  Mark was kind of annoyed about it, really.  Finals were coming and he was facing a few all-nighters.  He really hadn’t attended all his classes as much as he should have, but had to have good grades to keep his scholarship.  He was hoping caffeine-laced soda and sugary snacks would magically keep him alert enough to cram as much information into his brain as possible.

            “I bet one of the girls saw a tiny little mouse outside in the garden and blew it all out of proportion,” Nick said.  His girlfriend had just broken up with him, so he didn’t have a real high opinion of the ladies at the moment.

            But, the boys all complied with the order to help get rid of rats by taking all their food out of their dorm rooms and into the communal kitchen.

            That night, Mark needed some brain-aid food, so he made his way down to the kitchen, where he ran into Nick and Clayton and a couple of the girls.  He said “hi” and listened to their conversation as he reached into the cabinet to pull out some snacks.  Something furry brushed his hand.

            “What the AAAAAAAA!” he screamed.  Everyone jumped and stared at him.  “There’s something in there!”  He kept shaking his hand as if it would help him forget the feeling of that coarse hair on his skin.

            Everyone jumped up and crowded around the cabinet.  “That’s rat poop all over there, dude.  It’s all over the food.”  One of the girls groaned and ran over to the sink to spit out whatever she’d been eating, washing her mouth out as much as she could.  “I’m gonna be sick,” said the other girl.

            Clayton grabbed up his phone.  “Put the phone in there, I’m filming.  Let’s see if we can get it on camera.”  Nick was a little less squeamish than the others, so he took the phone and maneuvered it into the cabinet.  Sure enough, there it was.  A small rat.  But, it made them wonder if there were more. 

            Mark said, “Sooo, we got rid of rats from the dorms and now they’re in the kitchen?  I think I’d rather have rats in the dorms!”