Rats leave tracks that vary from about one-half to one inch in length and width depending on the individual pests’ age, size, and sex. Like most rodents, rats have four-toed front feet and five-toed hind feet. Unlike the tightly aligned toes on their back paws, the toes on their front paws are widely spaced in a circular pattern.
Rat footprints often have a smudged appearance, as only the front half of their paws typically leaves a clear imprint, and these are often obscured by their hind feet as the pests run. In addition to tracks, evidence of rats includes droppings, gnawed wood and plastic items, and greasy oil marks on walls.
The easiest places to notice rat tracks are in snow, mud, and dust, so little-used basements and muddy areas around home foundations are good places to start. Searching for tracks may also help in the identification of how rats are getting into homes. Additionally, these pests establish regular foraging trails to move between their nests and food sources, so they often leave behind well-worn paths.