CAPE CORAL, Fla. - A family knew something was wrong when they smelled an overpowering odor in their father's house. It turned out rats were to blame.
"They saw they had some uninvited guests of the rat kind," Ned Bruha told 4 In Your Corner.
Bruha helps proof homes from wildlife. He received a call from the family when they discovered the rat problem.
He said the rats found their way in through the air conditioning ducts.
"Once they go and chew into your duct work, it's on like Donkey Kong," Bruha said.
The building sustained a lot of damage. The carpeting was soaked with rat urine and had to be removed. The renovations are far from over.
"It's time to rip out the carpet, scrub down the walls, and start over," Bruha said.
The bathroom drawers were littered with rat droppings. Bruha said you're in trouble at that point.
"If they're that far into the house, it's too late," he said. "You want to stop them on the outside," he added.
It is also a lot cheaper to get preventive work done rather than a full scale project. Bruha's free advice is to keep an ear towards your attic.
"Don't just assume that there is something on the roof. Go outside and check," Bruha said. "Check to see if there's any holes. Fill them up now before you start hearing something," he added.
Another sign rats could be inside your home is to look underneath your vents. You could find pieces of insulation that were chewed up by rats or mice.
"It might be time to give me a call if you see attic insulation falling out of your vents," Bruha said.
Bruha calls himself the Wildlife Whisperer . He deals with live trapping rather than your traditional rat traps and poison. He think it might be a good idea to be careful when using that approach.
"Rats don't die in convenient places. They might get stuck in the walls and their bodily fluids will drip down ruining your insulation," Bruha said.
Rat problems are common in Florida. It's a combination of a few different factors. The area's proximity to water is one thing. However, the rodents are intelligent and find a work around.
"Many homes down here have the exact same architectural features that allow rats in what I'd say about 90 percent of homes and office buildings," Bruha said. "It's not if you're going to have rat problems, it's when," he added.