How to Tell How Many Rats are in your House

You are here because you have a problem trying to figure out how many rats are in your house.

It would amaze you to know that this problem bothers over 90% of homeowners worldwide; you are not alone. Fortunately, there is a solution that involves just a few measures which aid in telling the number of rats in a house.

Rats may be cute to some individuals who keep them as pets but are cunning and destructive creatures in nature.

Rats are also carriers of sickening diseases such as salmonella, hantavirus, leptospirosis, choriomeningitis (LCMV), lymphocytic, and Tularemia. Also, the black death that claimed millions of lives, to some extent, is traceable to rats.

If you can’t tell how many rats are in the house, you will find it extremely difficult to get rid of them. So, you should mastermind this article as it discloses everything regarding how to tell how many rats are in your house.

Can You Tell the Number of Rats in Home?

how to tell how many rats are in your house

Yes, you can tell the number of rats in your home. It is not quite easy to accomplish, but combining intelligence, and this article makes it possible.

Moreover, rats do not come out in their numbers. While some are inside the walls, a few others could be searching for food. When you bump into the rat searching for food, you would be curious whether there could be any more rats lurking around. Looking out for the droppings, footprints, etc. would then help to tell the near-perfect number of rats in your house.

So, how can you tell how many rats you have? It is simple, and the section below provides a solution.

How to Tell How Many Rats Are in Your House

One of the ways on how to tell how many rats are in your house is to pay close attention to mice movements within your house. If you see a rat, monitor where it runs to, where it hides, when it leaves the house, can you sense others around when that specific rat is out of the house? All these signals will help you tell how many rats are in your house.

While attempting to decipher how many rats are in the house, you would require focus. Without focus, you might be guessing the wrong number of rats, which makes it a bit difficult to know what to do to get rid of them. You have to consider the questions and measures below to be able to tell how many rats are in your house.

Are You Suspicious of Rats in the House?

You could be suspicious of the presence of rats in the house without even seeing them. Your instinct is not at all wrong because there could be a rat or rats lurking around the building. Do you hear a squeak? Is the squeak monotonous? If the squeak is not monotonous, then there is more than one rat around.

Another thing we will consider is ‘movements’. When a single rat is moving about, it feels like one thousand more rats are jumping all over the house because of its sharp claws and speed. Nonetheless, we can still tell if it’s one, two, or three rats. How? While you sense the movements, be conscious of the spots. For instance, while one rat is moving north of the house, another could be slamming its way down south. So, there will be no synch in their movement, and it will turn to drumbeats. If there are up to five rats, the drumbeat movement will increase, and the entire steps they make will be asynchronous.

Did You Just See a Rat?

is that a rat in the house?
Make sure you saw a rat

We will admit that it is a rat that just ran past. But, what if it is a mouse? Well, let’s get things right. A rat has a pointed snout, large eyes, and thinly furred ears. It has a slender body with long legs and sharp claws. However, a brown rat is larger than a typical house rat, which is likely the rat you are seeing. Thus, igniting your demand for how to tell how many rats are in your house.

How Many Rats Did You Sight?

First, the period of the day you sight a rat matter. If you sight one rat by the daytime, then there is another rat either expecting a newborn or already with newborns somewhere in the wall. If you see one rat at night with no squeaks, there is just one rat.

However, if you find two or more rats by the day, you have an infestation. Let’s assume that you sighted two rats; it entails the presence of at least four young rats and an adult. If you have ever been suspicious of rats in the house, but ignored your instinct, there are between 7 and 12 rats in your house.

On the other hand, if you spot two or more rats at night without excessive drumbeat movements, you have just two rats. Rats are generally regarded as nocturnal rodents, despite their poor vision because they prefer feeding at night. So, the rat(s) you sight at night is likely the only rat you have because rats do not stay back from finding crumbs at night. Nonetheless, if you have more than one food storage, there could be more rats in the other food storage.

How Large is the Rat(s)?

We will tell how many rats you have in your house from three dimensions in the case of size.

Firstly, are you sure its length up to 46cm? If “yes”, there is more than one rat. If you sight two rats of nearly 46cm, you are possibly sighting a male and female rat which entails rat litter in the house. An agile rat(s) of about 46cm is only out to search for food for the family or to inspect for a better nesting position. When it finds a good spot for nesting, it will return to direct its family over. Thus, it would be correct to conclude that you have a nuclear family of rats sharing the house with you.

Secondly, if the rat is about 19cm long, it is a young rat escaping parents’ nest nearby. It means there is a rat litter around the room you sight the rat or in the next room. If the room is a food storage room, then there are no less than four rats, with one being an adult. Traditionally, house rats between 15cm and 20cm rarely go in search of food. Therefore, sighting one entails there are a couple more siblings and a mother staring right at you from the hideout.

Thirdly, if you find an adult rat moving slowly and unable to race faster, it is sick and likely wobbled its way into your apartment. You know how fast and furious rats can be when they sight humans. So, for this particular rat to be slow, it is weary. It could have been in your house for some days searching for an escape route after finding no crumbs for food.

The Gender of Rat(s)

You can tell the number of rats in your house through gender. However, you have to closely inspect the rat to know whether it is a male or female. If the rat is male, there is a 90% chance that there is only one rat in the house. If the rat is female, and about 30 cm to 45cm long, there are young ones around. The period of gestation for a rat is between 21 and 23 days. And it can litter an average of 7 rats. So, if the rat you sigh has been around for a month, you likely have 8 rats in your house.

You can’t tell the gender of the rat unless you pick and examine the rat. A female rat has no genitalia and it is shorter than the male. It also has several dark dots toward the rear which is the location for its teats. It has nipples and the distance between the anus and the urethra is shorter than that of the male rat which is twice longer. Make sure to cover your hand during the inspection to avoid contracting an infection.

Check for Rat Droppings

The number of droppings is an excellent way to determine how many rats are in your house. If you find scanty droppings, only one mouse is disturbing the peace of your home. When the reverse is the case, there is more than one rat around.

Let’s become a bit more practical!

How many droppings does one rat leave? One rat leaves anything between 25 and 40 droppings per day. If you can identify the droppings to be more than this number, in one day, you certainly have more than one rat. For example, if you find 50 droppings, there are two rats in your house.

Moreover, do rats poop in the same spot? 80% of the time, rats poop in the same spot in the house. So, if you find numerous droppings in a particular spot, make sure to look around that area. Do not also hesitate to look around the other rooms. Meanwhile, do not fail to cover your nose against possible infection from rat droppings.

Scatter Powder on the Floor

A decent principle surrounding how to tell how many rats are in your house is the use of powder. Get yourself flour or talc and scatter around the spot you sight a rat. You might have to place a camera to aid capture the number of rats around. Make sure not to mix the powder with any poisonous substance or repellent to lure the rats easily.

tracking powder to know how many rats are in house
A Rat Tracking Powder

Scatter the powder during the eves of the day and allow it to stay overnight. By the morning, inspect the footprints you find on the spot, but do not hastily conclude. If you had a camera in place, watch the motions first. The reason is that one rat could leave its footprint on the powdered floor multiple times while running around for food.

Number of Nests and Nesting Materials

It is near tricky, regarding how to tell how many rats are in your house, to identify all the rat nests. However, it will help to determine the number of rat families intruding on your home. If you find one nest with multiple nesting materials, there is a nuclear family of rats around. Fewer nesting materials in the nest is like a bachelor or spinster who lives with a few items in the house. So, when you find a few nesting materials, it means that there is only one rat which could be a male or female.


How Many Rats Live Together?

Depending on the number of adult male and female rats, there could be well over 20 rats living together in your house. Another determinant for the number of rats living together is the duration of their presence in your house. If adult male and female rats have stayed for a month, you will have 7 more rats totaling 9 rats. As the duration increases, the number of babies increases. When male rats reach 6 weeks, they become mature for reproduction. Thus, mating and increasing the number of rats in your house.

Is There Always More than One Rat?

In most cases, there is always more than one rat. Rats breed rapidly and a female rat can litter between 7 to 12 babies every 3 to 4 weeks. In a year, rats litter up to 17 times which results in a rapid increase. However, if there is just one male rat in your house, you have only one rat. But, you can’t be so sure that it is a male and not a pregnant female.

Do Rats Live in Groups?

Yes, rats live in groups and can number up to 20 in the house. When they birth newborns, they tend to migrate to newer locations to decongest the nest. Outside of the house, hundreds of rats can live together. Norway rats, for instance, can group up to 220 in number.

Can You Have Just One Rat in Your House?

Yes, you can have just one rat in your house, but we have a 50% chance that there is another rat around. Even a male rat can introduce a friend – male or female, into the apartment. If it introduces a female to the apartment, you would have had up to 8 rats within 30 days.

How Do You Know If You Have a Rat in Your House?

You can tell that you have a rat in your house by the footprints on powder, nesting materials, number droppings, and squeaking tone(s).

Final Thought

This article has broadly covered the question, “how can you tell how many rats you have?” It is essential to know the number of rats in your house to better decide how to get rid of the rats. When your instinct strikes that there could be a rat lurking around, do not ignore it because there is absolutely a rat around.

If you are yet to sight a rat, do not abandon your suspicion or end up having diseased rats occupying your home. Rats are cool, nonetheless. If you intend to make a pet out of a rat, do so with the advice of a veterinarian.

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