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Rat Feces: The Facts

rat feces facts

Rat feces are often one of the first signs of a rodent infestation. Although an unpleasant topic, it’s important to know what to look for when you suspect rats have invaded your home. Rodent droppings as well as the rodents themselves can carry diseases that can be hazardous to your health. If you find rat droppings, it is critical that you clean up the fecal matter carefully and address the rodent infestation as quickly as possible. 

Signs of a Rodent Infestation 

mouse droppings feces

Mice or rat droppings are frequently found in drawers, cabinets, under sinks and near food packages.

You are most likely to find droppings close to where the rodents are feeding or nesting.

Mouse droppings are smaller in size with smooth, pointed ends. 

rat droppings feces

Rat droppings are black in color and roughly 1/2 – 3/4 of an inch long. 

Fresh droppings will appear dark and moist.

In addition to rat feces, you may also find gnaw marks or scratches on cardboard boxes, food packages, walls and other surfaces. 

Rats and mice commonly use shredded paper, lint or dried plant material to make their nests. Small piles of these materials may be found near a wall or corner. Often these nests will have a foul odor, further alerting you to an infestation in your home.  

How to Get Rid of Mice

Before you can begin cleaning up after the rats, it’s important to trap the rodents and seal up any entryways to ensure the rats or mice cannot return. 

For more information on how we suggest that you get rid of mice, read our recent post, “The Top 8 DIY Ways to Get Rid of Mice in Oklahoma.”

Snap traps are the best way to eliminate mice and rats. These traps are safe to use and highly effective. Continue trapping for a week. If, after seven days, you do not see any additional rodent sign, you can safely assume the active infestation has been eliminated. If you continue to see mice or rats, you need professional intervention from a reputable exterminator like Integrity Pest Management

As you work to get rid of the mice, identify any gaps or holes in your home. Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a nickel and rats can squeeze through a gap the size of a silver dollar.

Steel wool is one of the most effective ways to keep mice out of your home. Simply stuff steel wool into the hole and seal it in place with caulk. 

How to Safely Clean Rat Feces 

Allow a week to pass before you begin to remove rat fecal matter. Waiting will allow enough time for any infectious viruses in the rodent’s urine, droppings or nesting material is no longer infectious.

Before you begin cleaning, ventilate the space by opening doors and windows for at least 30 minutes. This allows fresh air to enter the space. If possible, use cross-ventilation and leave the area as it airs out. 

Do not stir up dust by sweeping or vacuuming up droppings, urine, or nesting materials.

Put on gloves and spray the urine and droppings with a disinfectant. You can make your own cleaning solution with 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.

Let the disinfectant soak for 5 minutes, then, use a paper towel to pick up urine and fecal matter. Dispose of waste in the garbage. 

Once the rodent droppings and urine have been removed, disinfect items that might have been contaminated by rats or their urine and droppings. Clean and disinfect the whole area by mopping floors, cleaning countertops and wiping down cabinets. 

If you believe your furniture or carpets were contaminated by rats, steam clean or shampoo upholstery and carpets. Wash any bedding or clothing with laundry detergent and hot water. 

After cleaning, remove gloves and wash hands with warm water and soap. 

Why is it Important to Clean Rat Feces Safely?

Rodent droppings can spread diseases, viruses and bacteria that are potentially harmful to people and pets. Exposure to rat feces can spread bacteria, contaminate food sources and trigger allergic reactions.

Dried fecal matter is particularly troubling. Once the droppings dry, they can create fine dust that can be inhaled through normal breathing. 

Rodent Droppings can spread diseases and viruses such as: 

  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM)
  • Plague

Dangers of the Hantavirus

Hantavirus is a potentially life-threatening disease caused by mice. People can become infected through exposure or inhalation of infected rodent urine, droppings or saliva.  

hantavirus dangers

Symptoms include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, headaches, dizziness, chills and abdominal problems. The disease can progress quickly and cause breathing problems, which can sometimes prove fatal. 

Treatment options are limited – that’s why it is essential to exercise care when cleaning rat feces and control rodent infestations quickly.

Integrity Pest Management

If you have a rodent infestation, DIY methods may not be enough. Integrity Pest Management can help you eliminate rats or mice.

Our professional team can assess your rodent issue and develop a plan to safely remove the mice from your home. We have more than 20 years of experience treating a variety of pest problems. We can help you get rid of rodents quickly.

Call us to learn more or schedule a pest treatment.    

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