How to tell if you have rats or mice in your home

How to tell if you have rats or mice in your home

If you’ve ever had mice, rats or rodents in your home you know how horrible it feels to wake up in the morning and find droppings all over your benches and floor, bite marks and nibbles out of food or fruit placed on benches and gnaw marks on containers and boxes in your cupboards and shelves.

Not only are rodents an inconvenience (cleaning up and putting food away safely if you have them in your home) they can cause serious damage to wires, roof insulation, books, furniture, electrical appliances and everything in between. Rats and mice aren’t bothered about what they will chew – they will gnaw away at pretty much anything they can get their teeth into.

What do mice and rats eat?

Rats and mice certainly aren’t picky eaters. They will chow down on anything from people food, pet food and everything in between. Often if a food item is inside a box or cardboard container, this is a dual bonus for them as they can use the cardboard for nesting material along with getting a free lunch.

Even though mice and rats are small and will only eat a very small amount of food in total grams, they like to think they’re at a buffet, so they will nibble a little bit of this, chew on a little bit of that and contaminate up to 10 times the food they actually consume. That combined with the fact they leave feces and urine around the areas they explore means a big clean up for you.

Where do rats and mice live?

Typically rats and mice like to live in safe, dry, out-of-the-way places. This is why we find so many rats and mice living in ceilings and walls as it’s protected from the elements and predators and has lots of potential for nesting materials. If you have rats or mice living outside your home they tend to gravitate towards storage areas like sheds, wood piles, compost piles or anywhere there is space for them to nest and sleep undisturbed.

Mice and rats aren’t overly picky about where they live – as long as it’s safe, dry and close to a food and water supply.

What are some signs you have rodents in your home?

There are a few things you should try to figure out about the type of rodent you have in your home before you call in the professionals. Is it just one rat or an infestation for example? What’s the cause of them entering your home (poor sanitation, available food etc)?

Often if it’s just a single rat or mouse, this can easily be dealt with by using traps or baits, but if you’ve tried this and keep finding any of the following signs, it would be worth giving us a call on 1300 057 067.


Finding droppings in your home is a sure-fire sign you’ve got rodents. How many droppings you find will be determined by how many rodents have made it into your home. Mice droppings are brown/black in colour, about 1-2 cm long and pointed at both ends. Rat droppings look similar but are larger in size.

If you find different sized droppings, it’s possible you may have an infestation as this could indicate different sized mice or rats in your home (congratulations, you have a rodent family!).


The urine of rodents has a very distinct, musty, acrid smell that hits you at the back of the throat when you smell it. If you have a distinct odour in your home, this is usually a sign you have more than one rodent living somewhere in your house.

Gnawed holes

If there are nibble marks on food, boxes, containers, boxes, papers and other items around your home, this may be a sign you have rodents. Mice tend to leave a hole in containers around the size of a 5 cent piece and they are typically fairly clean cut, whereas rats will leave a bigger hole and tend to have rougher edges.

Pet behaviour

If you own a dog and you find they’re barking at the ceiling or at walls, pawing at areas like the fridge or behind dressers, cupboards or bookcases, etc – this might be a sign they’ve seen, heard or smelt a rodent in your home. If you have a cat and it’s not catching mice, you need to have a stern chat to your kitty!


If you hear a scampering/scratching noise coming from your ceiling, it will usually indicate some type of animal in your roof. Possums are common, but they sound like a herd of elephants are living in your roof – mice and rats are more subtle but still can be heard, particularly at night when lying in bed.

If you see or hear any of these signs and feel you might need the help of a professional to get rid of your rodent problem, please feel free to call us on 1300 057 067 and we can conduct a pest inspection and give you a range of options.


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Abolish Termite & Pest Management
Unit 4 / 54 Paisley Drive
Lawnton QLD 4501
Phone: 1300 057 067