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does your house smell if you have rats?

Do Rats Make Your House Smell?

(Last Updated On: June 4, 2022)

Rats produce a foul odor because they spend most of their days exploring sewers, drains, and trash cans, accumulating bacteria and foul smells in the process.

Since rats spend most of their time in hiding to avoid human detection, they often poop and urinate in nesting areas and isolated corners of your home.

Also, rats are likely to die in nests and walls inside your home. When this happens, their decomposing carcasses can cause your home to stink, attracting flies, maggots, and other pests.

So, if you notice a strange odor in your home after cleaning it, check for vermin, like rats.

Does Your House Smell If You Have Rats?

A foul smell will likely build up if you have many rats in your home. Wild rats, especially in urban areas, are filthy creatures because they spend their time in unsanitary environments, such as:

Their bodies will pick up the smell of the areas they visit.

So, when rats enter your home, one of the first signs is an inexplicable (but offensive) smell. This odor will likely intensify over time as the rats settle in and explore new areas.

Aside from the presence of rats, these factors can make your home smell worse:

can you smell rats in your house?

Droppings

When rats live in your home, they’ll cause a mess with their droppings. They tend to stay in hiding, so they’re likely to poop in isolated locations.

It may take several days or even weeks before you discover rat droppings. In most cases, people realize that they have a rodent problem when the droppings accumulate and start stinking up their homes.

If you suddenly notice a strong, unpleasant smell, look for other signs of a rat infestation. Make sure to check rat-prone areas, such as:

  • Empty cabinets
  • Under your furniture
  • Other cramped spaces

You will most likely find rat droppings in these locations. Of course, rat and mouse dropping are often confused.

Urine

Rats urinate in their nesting sites, which causes these locations to stink.

Just like other rodents, rat urine has a pungent, ammonia-like smell. That is created when the nitrogen in the urine breaks down in the presence of oxygen.

You can identify rat urine by the presence of thin white streaks or dots. These will run between cardboard boxes, bags, and other surfaces where rats sit or hide.

The smell of rat urine usually doesn’t go away on its own. So, you’ll need to clean any surfaces exposed to rat urine using an enzyme cleaner.

Dead Rats

When rats are about to die, they often retreat into remote locations to die alone.

This may seem like a win since you no longer have to deal with the annoying rodents. However, it can lead to a whole other host of problems.

Failing to remove a dead rat will cause the carcass to smell as decomposition sets in. This spreads an intolerable stench all over your house.

Moreover, the presence of a dead rat is likely to attract other pests and insects, including:

  • Maggots
  • Flies
  • Ants
  • Even more rats

This can further compound the already bad situation, and it might continue the existing smell and create a new, persistent smell in your home. So, it pays to know how to remove a dead rat.

Can You Smell Rats In Your House?

When you have a rat infestation in your home, one of the first signs is a dank, musty smell in the air.

This is because rat fur traps moisture and dirt from their environment, and this causes the rats to retain odors from places they’ve been. It can also lead to a disgusting smell if the rat has gotten wet or rolled in dirty liquid.

Additionally, rats urinate and leave droppings all over their nesting areas. The accumulation of droppings and urine eventually creates (and spreads) a repulsive odor throughout your home.

What Does Rat Odor Smell Like?

Wild rats naturally have a strong, musky odor because their thick fur traps moisture and dirt from the areas they visit. Furthermore, rats tend to poop and urinate freely, so their bodies pick up these smells.

If you are dealing with a rodent problem, you’ll suddenly notice a pungent smell permeating your home. It may smell damp, reminiscent of ammonia, or otherwise sharp.

What Does Rat Poop Smell Like?

Rat droppings have a pungent ammonia smell from the mixture of poop and urine.

Old rat poop tends to stink more than fresh droppings. The urine contained in it has been exposed to air for prolonged periods of time, leading to ammonia production.

The accumulation of rat poop inside your home is a serious health risk. According to the Current Allergy and Asthma Report, i’s because rat poop causes the spread of bacteria and triggers allergic reactions.

Direct contact with or inhalation of rat poop can transmit deadly diseases, including:

  • Hantavirus
  • Plague
  • Salmonellosis

Considering these risks, you need to be extra cautious when cleaning out rat poop.

Safety measures you can take when removing rat poop from your home include:

  • Wear protective gloves to avoid direct contact with the droppings
  • Use a face mask to prevent you from inhaling contaminated dust
  • Open your windows and doors to ensure proper ventilation when cleaning out the droppings
  • Collect the droppings with a paper towel and dispose of them in a sealable plastic bag.
  • Wipe all affected surfaces using disinfectant
  • Clean your hands thoroughly using disinfectant and hot water once you are finished
what does rat odor smell like?

What Does Rat Urine Smell Like?

Rat urine has a strong ammonia-like smell that most people find nauseating. This pungent smell is caused by the breakdown of nitrogen contained in the urine when exposed to air.

Rat urine can spread a host of diseases, including:

  • Leptospirosis
  • Lassa fever
  • Tularemia
  • Rat-bite fever

According to one Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, rat urine contains allergens that can trigger serious health complications. That’s especially true in people with compromised immune systems and those who exhibit hypersensitivity to rats.

Wear protective clothing and use strong enzyme cleaners when cleaning surfaces contaminated by rat urine.

Why Do Rats Stink So Much?

Rats stink because they frequent dirty environments. As they forage for resources such as food and water, their fur carries a lot of dirt, grime, and moisture, thus causing them to smell bad.

Moreover, rats urinate and leave droppings inside their nests. Over time, their bodies pick up these smells, causing them to stink.

Do Rats Stink When They Die?

Like all organisms, rats are subject to the natural process of decomposition after they die. As their bodies decompose, they emit a cocktail of chemicals such as sulfur dioxide and methane, which produce a putrid smell. Of course, rats eat dead rats, but most will need to be removed manually.

If you notice the smell of a dead rat inside your home, you must locate where the carcass is. To prevent the stench from building up and attracting more pests, you must remove it.