Rodents pose many risks to the wellbeing of humans and pets in and around your home. With a wide range of rodents that can be found in Canada, disease, as well as home and garden damage can occur when rodents find their way onto your property. Before making any drastic decisions to get rid of rodents, it is important to understand the various types of rodents that exist and learn about the different signs that you should look for that are clear signs that you have a rodent problem in your home.
Read this article to learn everything you need to know about identifying a rodent problem in your home.
Types of Common Rodents in Canada
More often than not, you are more likely to discover home damage or remnants of a rodent in your home or on your property before you physically see any rodents at all. In cases like these, it is difficult to identify what type of rodent you are dealing with. Discover the different types of rodents you will commonly find in Canada to better inform you of what rodents may be causing you and your home issues.
|Type of Rodent||Where They Typically Nest||Type of Damage to Your Home||What They Choose to Eat|
|Rats||Underneath decks, in garages, near buildings, in homes and in gardens||Chewed drywall, furniture, electrical cables, grease marks on floors||Omnivores that eat things discovered outdoors, but also human food and pet food|
|Mice||Tall grass, thick shrubs, inside homes and buildings||Chewed drywall, baseboards, electrical cables, furniture, food packaging||Cereal grains and seeds, but also human food and pet food|
|Skunks||In-ground dirt tunnels, under decks, porches and in sheds||Home structure, outdoor electrical cables, underground plumbing pipes, digging into lawn and garden||Outdoor plants, vegetation, insects and smaller animals|
|Rabbits||In-ground and near bushes and trees||Chewing electrical cables, eating garden and digging holes in lawn||Grass, garden vegetables and crops|
|Squirrels||Elevated in trees and in home gutters||Chewing support beams of home, drain pipes, shingles and occupying gutters||Garden vegetables, fruits, seeds and insects|
|Raccoons||Hollow tree logs, under rocks, abandoned burrows of other animals||Pulling apart vents, chewing walls, cables, insulation and structural beams of your home||Omnivores that eat fruits, vegetables, crops, human food and pet food|
|Groundhogs||Underground burrows and underneath homes||Chewing foundation of your home, digging in lawn and garden||Garden plants, vegetables and insects|
|Moles||Near roots of trees in the ground||Destroying lawns and gardens||Insects|
These long-tailed rodents have been known to frequent homes and businesses in pursuit for sources of food and water for centuries. With a wider body and stockier build than mice, rats have a more significantly larger tail that helps tell them apart from other rodents. Frequenting unsanitary places that span from garbage, to sewage and other outdoor areas, their ability to thrive in many types of conditions can lead to them bringing unsanitary conditions into your home.
For more information about rats and the common species of rats that are found in Canada, read our article on how to identify a rat problem in your home.
A common intruder into many homes across the country, mice are in constant pursuit of food and water and can easily slip through cracks in your home to consume human and pet food. Much like rats, these rodents can do great damage to your home and can poorly affect the living conditions of your home.
For more information about mice and the common species of mice that are found in Canada, read our article on how to identify mice problems in your home.
Although skunks commonly stay clear of human interaction and spray other animals and humans when they feel they’re in danger, these rodents have been known to frequent urban areas and sometimes burrow their way into surrounding areas of your home. Skunks are known to make dens under porches, decks and sheds by digging into the ground.
Although not known to enter your home, wild rabbits can be found across Canada and have been known to damage gardens and farm crops by eating growing vegetables and digging their way through gardens. Wild rabbits also carry diseases with them that can be transmitted upon close contact.
With more than 20 species found across the country, the one thing that all species of squirrels have in common is their ability to find their way to residential neighbourhoods that they know are good places for food and shelter. Squirrels are good climbers and frequent roofs of houses to find their way into your home to nest and scavenge for food.
Raccoons are adept to urban communities and are said to be almost as smart as human toddlers. Known for their whiskers, fur and mask-like black and white face, raccoons are notorious for finding shelter in and around homes. Roofs, underneath porches and even inside of house walls are areas raccoons are known to enter to find shelter and food.
Groundhogs can be found outdoors in yards, fields and meadows as they dig holes in the ground to create shelter for themselves. Burrow holes around your home is a sure sign that groundhogs are around as they have potential to also enter your home looking for an easy source of food and water. What may also lead groundhogs to your home are growing crops and flowers in your garden that groundhogs are notorious for destroying while in pursuit for food.
Growing as long as 8 inches in total length, moles are most known for their pointed nose and extremely tiny eyes that look visibly hidden behind their darkish-grey fur. Moles are known to dig holes in your yard as deep as 40 inches to create shelter for themselves. These holes can easily damage your grass lawns and gardens and also create the potential for moles entering basements and cracks in your home’s foundation.
Signs That Rodents Are In Your Home
While mice and rats keep quiet enough to avoid being seen, the fecal matter and damage they can do to your home will always give away that they are active in your home. The following list of signs are common characteristics of a home that rodents like mice and rats frequent:
|Common Signs of Rodents||Where to Look for These Signs|
|Your Dog is Upset||Pet is disturbed and paying attention to odd places in your home|
|Rodent Droppings||Rodent droppings in areas that mice and rats are likely to frequent|
|Tracks and Tail Trails||Paw prints and tail prints across areas of your home rodents have traveled|
|Wood and Drywall Chewed||Holes and chew marks in home structure and drywall as rodents scavenge for food|
|Smears Along Baseboards||Baseboards are no longer clean as rodents travel through your home nearby to them|
|Musky Odour in the House||Urine, droppings and overall smell of rodents exist in your home|
|Scratching and Squeaking||Rodents may be traveling through your home in cabinets and inside of walls|
Your Dog Is Upset
Dogs can become disturbed when they hear and smell rodents in the house. You may notice that your dogs pay extra attention to the fence line of your yard, especially at night when rodents are more active. It is important to not rely on your dogs to rid the house of mice or rats. Dogs have very different immune systems than cats and may not be able to handle some of the diseases that rats and mice often carry.
Rodent Droppings are Present
Stumbling upon a pile of rodent droppings is less than pleasant, however, they can be helpful when trying to determine which type of rodent you have and what the next steps are in finding a pest control solution. If you notice multiple, distinct piles or tracts of what looks like dirt in your house, especially along walls, take a closer look to determine if it might in fact be rat or mouse droppings.
- Mice droppings are small and smooth with pointed ends, usually about 1/8 - 1/4 of an inch long.
- Norway Rat droppings are typically brown and are blunt on both ends.
- Roof Rat droppings are dark and both ends are pointed.
Small Tracks and Tail Trails Discovered In Dusty Areas
Tiny footprints or lines from tails dragging will appear in dusty areas. Check along baseboards, in corners and near sources of food. You may even be able to determine a rodent's entrance and exit points by following these marks.
Wood or Drywall Has Been Chewed
Since their teeth never stop growing, both mice and rats are avid chewers. Typical rat teeth marks are 1/8-inch long. Smaller and "scratchier" marks usually indicate mice. Check along baseboards, door frames, doors, inside cabinets and anything that serves as a barrier to get behind walls. If you're hearing noises inside your walls, check the back panels of cabinets to try to find the rodent’s access point.
Smears Along Baseboards and Other Areas
Rats and mice tend to stick near walls and borders when moving. If you are noticing greasy smears along baseboards or the bottoms of your walls, you may have some very unwanted visitors. Of course, marks can appear from other sources as well, so if you're noticing marks, try keeping the areas clean and see if the marks reappear.
A Heavy Musky Odour In the House
Like all animals, rodents leave behind a distinct smell. If your house is suddenly smelling musky, chances are that fecal matter, urine and dander of rats and mice are in your home. Pathogens found in this odour can become a serious issue to human and animal health and will greatly affect the air quality in your home.
Strange Noises Like Scratching and Squeaking
Due to their nocturnal nature, you're much more likely to hear mice and rats at night. If you have a rodent infestation in your house, you will more than likely hear them moving and scratching in your walls and squeaking as they go. You may even spot them scurrying across the floor or along the wall in the middle of the night.
Specific Signs of Mice In Your Home
- Mice droppings and urine
- Pungent urine smell
- Track prints in cabinets and on the ground
- Chew marks on food packaging and furnishings
- Dead mice
- Holes in drywall the size of a Canadian 10 cent dime
- Mice nest made of paper or other garbage material in corners of the home
For more information on signs of mice in your home, read our article to learn how to identify a mouse problem.
Specific Signs of Rats In Your Home
- Rat droppings
- Oil or rub marks from oily rat fur
- Scratching noises in cabinets and inside of walls
- Holes in drywall the size of a Canadian 25 cent quarter
- Rat nests made of paper or other garbage material in corners of the home
- Footprints on the ground and in cabinets
- Gnaw marks on furniture and other household items
- Foul odours developed from rats likeliness of living in unsanitary conditions previously
- Tracks and runways from the oily skin of rats
For more information on signs of rats in your home, read our article to learn how to identify rats.
How to Inspect Your Home for Potential Rodents
Rats and mice enter your home the same and for the same reasons. Follow these steps to effectively identify signs that rodents are in your home:
- Identify what type of rodent is entering your home to then understand what products to use to get rid of them.
- Use a flashlight to inspect dark areas of your home that would be good places for rodents to hide. Behind your fridge, inside of cupboards and any cracks in the wall are ideal places for rodents to frequent.
- While you inspect these dark areas, identify the severity of the problem based on any droppings or residue that rodents may have left behind.
- Identify the cause of your problem by inspecting where you place your garbage, food and water which may be too easy for rodents to access.
How Rodents Can Damage Your Home
While in their pursuit for food and shelter, rodents are known to damage your home in the process as they make their way through walls and widen cracks to make your living space habitable for them. Here are a few common items in your home that are most susceptible to the following types of rodent damage:
- Toxic pathogens through rodent droppings and urine
- Floor damage from urine stains
- Chewed drywall and baseboards
- Exposed electrical wiring
- Soiled food from broken food packaging
- Structural damage due to chewed home framing
- Chewed home furniture
- Shredded boxes and paper documents
Control Rodents With These Articles
With an understanding of how to identify a rodent problem, learn more about how to control mice and rats with the following articles:
- How to Choose the Right Product to Get Rid of Rodents
- How to Identify Rodent Problems In Your Home
- How to Identify a Rat Problem In Your Home
- How to Identify a Mouse Problem In Your Home
- How to Get Rid of Rodents In Your Home
- How to Control Rodents In Your Home
- How to Prevent Rodents In Your Home
- How to Safely Handle Rodent Droppings In Your Home