Rats and Mice: The Scoop on Poop

white mouse going down hallway

Have you found what looks like mysterious tracks of dirt around your house? Take a closer look, because what you’re seeing may actually be rodent poop. Like any animal droppings, rat and mouse poop is not a pleasant sight for any homeowner. However, unlike some of these other animals, mishandling their leavings poses a particular health hazard. What does mouse poop look like? How can you clean rat droppings safely? And who can you call in Baton Rouge for comprehensive rat control services? We’ll answer all of that below.

Rat Versus Mouse Droppings

Rats and mice may both be considered the same kind of pests, but they’re very different creatures. Rats are much larger, for instance, and their droppings reflect that. They will leave waste all over the house in pellets the size of a coffee bean. Rat droppings are commonly mistaken for squirrel poop, though squirrel leavings are more rounded and lighten over time.

Compare this to mouse poop. Mice are so small that their waste is sometimes confused with cockroach poop. Both are dark and tiny, though mouse droppings are pointed at the ends like a grain of rice. You might find these dark brown grains in your silverware drawer, or behind spaces where you store food. If you do, it’s a sure sign of the presence of mice somewhere in your home. But before you address that, how can you properly clean the leavings in front of you right now?

How to Safely Clean Mouse and Rat Poop

There’s a respiratory disease called Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, or just Hantavirus for short. It’s a severe respiratory disease that has similar symptoms to COVID-19, including the possibility of the patient’s lungs filling with fluid. The fatality rate is around 38%, but in the United States, there have been no cases of the disease being transferred from person to person. How does it spread, then?

Rats and mice are both known for carrying HPS. When they leave their droppings around the house, their waste contains the virus. So, if you come across a pile and sweep or vacuum it up, you’re unknowingly releasing virus particles into the air. That’s not to say that you can’t clean rodent waste from around your house, it just means that to do so requires some careful precautions.

You’ll need rubber or plastic gloves, eye goggles and a mask. Once you’re protected, spray the contaminated area with bleach or disinfectant and allow it to soak for five minutes. Once you’ve done that, you can wipe up the mess with a paper towel and throw it away. After that you can clean as you usually would, vacuuming or scrubbing depending on the location of the mess. Doing all this cleans and sanitizes your home, but it doesn’t remove the pest from your property. To do that you’ll need some professional help.

Dugas for Rodent Control

At Dugas Pest Control we’ve been controlling pests around Baton Rouge for almost a hundred years. We are familiar with all the main rodents and other pests in this part of Louisiana, and we can treat for all of them. Rats and mice, if left on their own, can damage your belongings and your house as a whole. They will tunnel through insulation and gnaw at wood and wires, increasing the risk of an electrical fire. If you’re in the Baton Rouge LA area and have a rodent infestation, we’re the ones that can get rid of it for you. Not only that, but we can implement exclusion tactics to make sure more don’t get in later. To learn more and get your free quote, contact us today!

Winter Time Means Louisiana Rodents Are Moving Indoors

Dugas Pest Control provides rodent extermination service in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana

No matter what time of year it may be, rodents are always a nuisance in southern states.

However, the colder months bring a new wave of rodents, especially mice, squirrels, and rats, all looking for cozy homes out of the chilly weather. This can be a big problem for homeowners in southern Louisiana, and it’s never too early in the season to start rodent-proofing your home!

Rodents are not the only wildlife that may want to make a home with you – other animals like raccoons, possums, squirrels, and more may move in. If you think you have more than just a rodent problem, learn about wildlife control and exclusion services.

Why Do Rodents Head Indoors in the Winter?

The most obvious reason that a rodent will search for shelter in the winter is to take advantage of the warmth. But there are a few other reasons as well.

One big one is food!

Your home is full of food that mice, rats, and squirrels can take advantage of during the barren winter months. When there’s nothing for them outside, your kitchen is still well stocked!

Another thing that these creatures are looking for is safety.

They seek out small, hidden places, such as in your crawlspace, inside the walls, and even make nests inside the insulation in your attic or other spaces. They can get through even the tiniest of spaces, so a small crack in the foundation is basically an open door for a mouse family seeking a winter hiding place.

Why Bother Getting Rid of Rodents?

You may wonder why it’s really necessary to get rid of them if you can’t see or hear them, and you aren’t noticing any evidence of them coming into your home.

However, the fact is that even if these rodents are staying in the crawlspace and not entering the home itself, they can still cause problems.

For example, did you know that rodent droppings can irritate allergy symptoms, or that rodent urine can irritate asthma sufferers? Dander from their fur can also cause breathing issues.

Another big problem is that rodents can cause serious damage to your home.

When they make their nests, they chew whatever materials are in their way, and whatever is nearby that can be used for nesting material. They often damage electrical wiring, plumbing, and foundational or insulating materials when they do this.

Finally, rodents typically carry diseases and other pests along with them.

It’s very easy to get lice in your home if there are mice, because mice can carry lice inside. Other diseases and bacteria can be transferred to humans and pets wherever the rodents run around in the house. 

Cats Are Not the Best Deterrent

One thing that we often see is homeowners letting their cats take care of rodent problems more often in the winter. But there are two reasons why this is not the only pest control you should rely on:

  • First, cats can’t always get to the places where rodents are living in your home. Crawlspaces, inside the walls, and tiny nests inside the insulation are not places where most cats can get reach to eradicate the entire nest – and killing just one mouse does not mean the problem is gone. This is the reason that mouse traps are not always the best course of action, as well. Setting enough traps to kill all the mice in an entire nest would take a lot of traps and time.
  • Second, killing rodents could cause your cat to get sick because these creatures carry disease.

The best plan of attack is to bring in the professionals. At Dugas Pest Control, we have years of experience with both eliminating the initial problem, no matter how numerous, and preventing them from getting in again. If the cold weather has brought rodents into your home, contact us today to evict them for good.

What Should You Do if You Have Rats in the Attic?

Attic where roof rats can live in Baton Rouge LA homes - Dugas Pest Control

It sounds like something that only happens in scary movies: rats and mice in the attic. Interestingly, the most common critter to enter attics is the rat, so it’s important to take any obvious signs – noise, scratching, odors – seriously.

Since rats entering attics is so common, we know a lot about how to safely trap and remove them. If you suspect that rats are making a home within your home, you need to take care of the problem quickly, as rats and mice can cause serious problems by chewing through electrical wires and be carriers of disease.

How Do I Know if there are Rats in My Attic?

Generally, people begin to suspect that there are mice or rats in the attic when they hear scratching or other noises from above. But, it’s also easy for these sounds to go unnoticed if you have a busy household. Be sure to know all the signs of a rat infestation so that you can be an informed judge if and when the time comes.

  • Scratching noises in the attic

  • Scratching noises in the walls

  • Skittering, clunking, squeaking noises

  • Rat/mice droppings

  • Chewed electrical wires

  • Chewed piping

  • Open holes or gaps where mice/rats may be getting in

I Have Rats in My Attic. Now What?

Once you have confirmed that there are rats in the attic, it’s time to get moving with a trap and removal program. Here are a few tactics that should NOT be used, as they are either harmful or will cause further problems.


  • Poison

  • Mothballs

  • Ammonia

  • Ultrasonic sound emitters

  • Strobe lights


The best way to solve a rat or mouse infestation involves the following steps:

1. Seal up all holes or gaps where the rats may be getting in. Inspect your home from the ground up, and identify all areas that provide an entrance into your home. This includes vents, eave gaps, roof lines and so on. Seal up the holes using something like steel that the mice can’t chew through. For additional protection, consider adding a sealant that blocks off all air flow so that the rats aren’t attracted to your home.

2. Trap the rats using snap traps. This should only be done once the holes have been sealed off, as new rats will just keep coming in. Set the traps in areas where the rats commonly run around. Identify these heavily traveled areas by looking for paths that are covered in grease and droppings or are worn down. Set down about a dozen traps to get the job done quickly.

3. Monitor the traps and reset them. You don’t want the rats to smell up your home, so check them every day, remove the dead rats and reset the traps. You will want to repeat this step until you hear no more noises coming from the attic or walls.

4. Clean up the attic. When all the mice are gone, you’ll need to damage control. Clean up droppings, identify chewed electrical wires and pipes and remove nesting material.

When Should I Call in a Professional Rodent Exterminator?

For some people, taking care of this job is much too intense. That’s when a company like Dugas Pest Control can be especially helpful. We will handle the initial inspection, elimination and exclusion of the rats so that you can have peace of mind without the hassle. Our technicians go above and beyond to ensure that all gaps and holes are sealed and that the traveling patterns of the mice are carefully identified.

Also, rodents are notoriously smart when it comes to detecting traps and are known to become “trap shy”, thus making it easier to capture then in the beginning rather than after months of failed DIY attempts.

Additionally, we clean and sanitize the space so that you don’t have to worry about parasitic infections, diseases or mold becoming a problem down the road. We even provide a follow-up to be certain that no rats have returned and that all sealed entry points are successfully keeping out rodents.

Why Do Rodents Keep Getting Into My House?

Dugas Pest Control provides rodent extermination service in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana

Mice and rats can enter the home 365 days a year, but they become especially relentless in the winter when they are looking for shelter from the cool, rainy weather.

Mice and rats most commonly enter homes through cracks in the walls, floors and foundation. They are resourceful, which means if you don’t carefully inspect your home from the ground up, you could miss the very spot where they are getting in.

If you’ve continued to hear or see rodents in the home, you need to increase your prevention method. Knowing why they keep getting into the home is key.

Where are the Most Common Places that Rodents Get in Through?

  • Gaps in windows and ceilings

  • Sewer lines

  • Sink or bathtub drains

  • Cracks in walls and floors

  • Cracks in the foundation

  • Entry holes around plumbing

  • Entry holes around oven gas lines

When are Rodents Most Likely to Come into My Home?

Remember, rats and mice will enter homes any time of the year, but during the fall and winter is when the most infestations are seen. The temperatures start to drop, and even though the weather is still mild in Louisiana, it’s natural for warm-blooded animals to start seeking shelter as a means of survival. When a colony finds a safe, warm place to call home, they rarely leave the area. Instead, they get comfortable, running through your walls or attic, leaving droppings all over and causing ruckus by scratching and squeaking.

Additionally, rats increase in numbers quickly, and one colony can turn to over 200 members in a few short months. You can’t deny their presence by this point.

I’ve Tried to Get Rid of the Rodents, but They Keep Coming Back. Why?

We’ve heard this story from multiple clients. They use some type of extermination method, but slowly, the rats come back.


Almost always, the answer to this question is because there is some entry point that is NOT sealed up.  That’s what pest companies mean when they use the phrase wildlife exclusion.

Rodents are small and have a flexible build, so they are able to slip through even the tiniest gaps and cracks. That’s why it pays to have a professional exterminator like Dugas Pest Control come to your home.

We have professionals who are trained to look for and identify entry points where wildlife is getting in. Once all of these areas have been identified, the holes need to be sealed up.

We don’t use a generalized approach, either. Instead, we implement the best solutions for sealing up the entry points based on the structure of the home or business. Generally, we use a cement or metal material to seal up the gaps since mice can’t chew threw these materials. If you haven’t been using a material that is strong and chew-resistant, it’s possible that the rodents have chewed right through it.

Also, our exterminators come back for a follow-up to ensure that all entry points are successfully keeping rodents out.

Sealing up holes and gaps is so critical to long-term protection, you shouldn’t even attempt trying to trap the rodents until you have sealed up the cracks. Otherwise, new rats and mice will just keep getting into your home, which is probably what has been going on for you. Also, when the holes are sealed up, it’s much easier to trap the rodents. There is nowhere for them to go, so your efforts are much more effective.

Prevention goes a long way in keeping all wildlife out of your home. Remember, you want to make your home look unappealing, so that includes keeping food in sealed containers and disposing of food scraps and waste as soon as possible. These scents are known for attracting animals like rodents, and it won’t be long before they are scoping out your home to see if it will be a great place to spend the fall and winter months.