Identifying Rat Droppings

Although different kinds of rodent infestations require different means of treatment, many homeowners are unable to tell one scaly-tailed, scurrying pest from another. One of the easiest methods of differentiating between a rat problem and a mouse infestation is by looking at the pests’ feces. Fresh rat droppings look like raisins, with an elongated, spindle shape and dark black or brown coloring. After a couple of days, they harden and fade to dirty white. Mouse droppings have similar qualities, but are smaller, resembling dark grains of rice.

Dangers of Rat Feces

Norway rats and roof rats are the most prevalent species in the U.S. Similar in appearance, Norway rat droppings and roof rat droppings are known to carry disease-causing pathogens. Among the illnesses these rodents can give to humans are plague, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, typhus, tularemia, meningitis, and Hantavirus. The most common method of transmission is inhalation. When dried rat droppings are disturbed, these viruses often become airborne. Some, including Hantavirus, remain in the air for several days afterwards. Rat diseases can also be spread through contaminated food, as the pests tend to eat and defecate in pantry items.


Rats can enter homes through crevices as small as a nickel, making it difficult to keep them out. Therefore, it’s recommended to place screens on doors, windows, and vents as well as seal other entry points. Another effective prevention measure is cleanliness. Keep kitchens free of crumbs and spills, close trash cans tightly, and sweep or vacuum regularly. Cutting off food sources will remove the main incentive for rats to enter homes in the first place. Due to the life-threatening nature of rat droppings, those who already have an infestation should contact the professionals at Trutech for removal and clean-up.