September 13, 2022

Understanding Roof Rat Droppings | Rat vs. Mouse Waste

As the winter chill sets in, you won’t be the only one bundling up indoors!

Rodents are common problems for Washington residents, particularly in the Great Puget Sound, where temperatures drop low. 

Roof rats plague many homeowners throughout the year, causing indoor destruction over our heads! Unlike other rodent species, roof rats prefer to nest in elevated areas like attics, roof eaves, and upstairs rooms. 

Roof rat droppings are usually your first clue of an infestation, but what other signs indicate a rat problem? Keep reading to know how to uncover a hidden rodent nest!

Roof Rats vs. Mice

When you have a rodent problem in your home, it’s important to figure out what critter is roaming through your walls. Rats and mice are both rodents, but these two pests have many differences that set them apart. 

All mouse species are much smaller than your average rat, with roof rats measuring almost twice the size of a house mouse. Because of their frame, mice can sneak through your home easier than their larger counterparts.

However, roof rats can cause enough trouble on their own! While larger, these pests are adept at climbing, giving them access to the upstairs and attic spaces in your home, according to the University of California

Roof rats are a problem in tall kitchen cabinets, too. Like cockroaches and Indian meal moths, rodents are frequent visitors to our kitchen and pantry. Because of their sharp teeth, they can pierce through most packaging and even chew through wood!

Mice can similarly gnaw through your newly purchased groceries and possessions, and their tiny bodies can reach crevices that some rat species cannot enter. Plus, mice are curious creatures that are often unafraid to sneak around frequently used areas. 

While roof rats are more cautious, they are more dangerous to have in your home. Rats are aggressive creatures, and many homeowners receive injuries from these devious little critters. 

Check out this video to learn more about rats and mice!

Understanding Roof Rat Droppings

Knowing the kind of waste rodents leave behind could help you discern the type of pest burrowing through your home.

Roof rats prefer to stick close by their nests, so if you’re finding droppings, their home is probably nearby. Outdoors, roof rats build nests in dense brush piles or trees. Because of their expert climbing ability, roof rats can pick any spot to make a home. 

All rodent droppings have a similar appearance. Hard and dark in color, these tiny pellets are your first clue to a rodent’s whereabouts. 

House mice have smaller droppings compared to roof rats. Visually, mice feces is smaller than a grain of rice, measuring around 3 mm. 

Unlike Norway rats or house mice, roof rat droppings have a signature point near the end and are around half an inch long. Norway rats have denser feces and are rounded-off pellets, usually much larger than roof rat waste. 

Besides causing a mess, rodent droppings are a health hazard. As they travel throughout your home, rats and mice relieve themselves wherever they go. 

As rodents forage through your pantry items or chew through packaging to reach the right sweet treat, they’ll spread their waste on your food. According to the Tennessee Wild Life Resources Agency, roof rats are vectors for many communicable diseases and may make you sick if you eat contaminated food. 

Rats and mice have always been responsible for disease spread. During the middle ages, rats and fleas were the primary pests accountable for the massive boom of deadly plague cases across Europe. 

While the plague isn't a problem now, roof rats can infect your food with hantavirus or salmonella, two viruses that can make you seriously ill. Whenever you have rat droppings near your food, fast action to remedy the problem can help you avoid illness. 

Cleaning Rodent Droppings in your Home

Removing rodent feces may seem simple, but you’ll want to handle this waste carefully to avoid further contamination.

If you find droppings inside or near open food, immediately discard them. Rat feces is unsanitary and may make you sick. 

Before cleaning roof rat droppings, grab a pair of gloves and a trash bag. Avoid directly touching the feces, as you could accidentally spread bacteria to other areas in your home, even if you wash your hands after. 

Sweep or push the droppings into an open trash bag and swiftly dispose of them afterward. Use your favorite kitchen or bathroom cleaner to disinfect the affected surfaces after you’ve removed the bulk of the droppings. 

Removing Roof Rats from Your Home

While cleaning roof rat droppings may remedy your sanitary woes, this won’t affect the real problem. Unless you eliminate the rodent infestation, you’ll continue to have unwanted and unsanitary house guests. 

Baits and mouse traps are popular options for rodent pest control, but here are a few things to consider before your next purchase. Rodent bait can quickly eliminate pests, but we advise against using this method if you have young children or pets. 

Curious kids and pets may accidentally stumble upon hidden rat bait and consume the poison. Because of its potency, your furry friends or loved ones could become seriously ill. Rat bait alone may cause the rodents to die out of sight, creating an odorous problem for you down the line. 

Sticky traps are a great alternative to bait, but you’ll have to handle the live rodent afterward. Unless you plan to release the mouse, sticky traps aren’t a humane option for rats and mice. 

Because of the glue-like substance, discarded traps can ensnare other animals when thrown out. Whenever you try a sticky trap, either combine this method with a potent bait or break down the glue to avoid harming other wildlife. 

Check out this blog to learn more about eliminating roof rats!

Here at Zunex, we can remove the trouble of a tough rodent infestation! Our rodent pest control treatments can find the source of sneaky rats and quickly stop them in their tracks. Whenever you find roof rat droppings indoors, contact us for help!

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