Rat Noises In Wall: What To Do When You Hear Scratching
During quiet moments at home, perhaps even in bed, if you start to hear strange noises coming from your walls it might be quite alarming. Is it a real sound? Is it something alive? And will it eventually make its way into my home? These are the questions that will naturally begin to run through your head, as it can be a confusing and disturbing time.
The sound itself could be many things, but many people will immediately worry that it’s rats in the walls. That’s why this month at Pest Defence, we’re going to explore whether scratching in walls is a sign of rats, explain what it sounds like and explore if there are any other explanations for this mysterious sound.
Is scratching in walls a sign of rats?
Because you’re unable to see the cause of the noise directly, you can often be left in the anxious position of waiting for it to either stop or get worse. But here are some signs that make it more likely that it is rats:
- You can hear the sound more at night. This may be because it’s a little quieter in the house at this time, but it’s also the time that rodents like to operate, hunting for food without human intrusion.
- You can see droppings inside or outside. Small, elongated droppings about half an inch long, whether inside your home somewhere or outside around any shed, bins or piled items would suggest there are definitely rats visiting – if not living – on your property.
- You can see signs of gnawing and chewing. Skirting boards are a common place to spot this, but you might also notice it in other areas such as your floorboards or on food items that have been left out. They will leave greasy marks on skirting boards, too.
- You notice a strong, unpleasant smell. Because they don’t tend to discriminate in terms of where they urinate, rats can leave a nasty smell that begins to build if not dealt with, usually an ammonia-like odour.
These are pieces of a jigsaw that build a strong case for the presence of rats, which would then make it far more likely that the scratching in your walls is due to rats.
What does a rat in a wall sound like?
There’s no one way to describe the sound of a rat in a wall, but you’ll likely experience intermittent scratching and scrabbling in the night due to the pattering of their feet. This could be confined to one area of your home, but rats will often move and travel in different routes depending on how many of them there are and what they’re scavenging for. Scratching in one place might suggest they’re building a nest or that there are multiple rats in one spot.
Rats don’t tend to squeak in the same way that mice do (that we can hear), but might still do this if they are in extreme pain.
Other pests that build their nests inside your walls
Scratching in your wall can be concerning, but not just because of rats. Other pests can build their nest inside your wall and cause very similar, unnerving sounds, including:
- Mice – Similar to rats in that they’ll be more active at night, but smaller in size so less likely to be noticed.
- Birds – Birds can quickly turn secluded little spots into nests, but it may be a while before you notice as they won’t tend to work their way further inwards. However, you’re more likely to hear them cooing or calling before anything else.
- Squirrels – Another rodent that could be mistaken for a rat due to creating similar sounds with their claws in order to find a route in and make a comfortable nest.
- Deathwatch beetles – This small, wood-boring beetle can sometimes be the unlikely culprit of the sound because of the clicking or ticking sound they make when attracting a mate.
Signs of pests in your walls
Scratching is just one sign that there are pests in your walls. Other things you need to look out for are holes and gaps slowly expanding, droppings indoors, squeaking and, more obvious than any other sign, sightings of a mouse, rat or squirrel scurrying along your floor or outside along your walls and around the base of the property.
What to do when you hear noises in your wall
It can be distressing to think that there are rodents in your home at any point, due to the diseases they can carry and the damage they can do to your building – especially your insulation. When you hear noises in your wall and you need help diagnosing and rectifying the issue, you should always contact your local professional pest control company.
The important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t panic or attempt to break open any parts of your home to get at pests. They are unlikely to bother you and can often be dealt with in a way that minimises any further damage to your property. At Pest Defence, we help homeowners and businesses alike in dealing with rat noises in properties throughout London and Essex – including in and around Colchester, Chelmsford and Brentwood. With decades of experience, we’re fully accredited and insured, using the latest techniques to deal with pest problems — it’s this commitment that has made us so trusted by our clients in the region.
Call our pest control experts today if you suspect you have a rat infestation or if you’d like our assistance in discovering the source of any scratching in your walls.