Rats are nocturnal (active at night) and try to avoid people, so it is rare to see a rat out during the day. Unless you are inspecting your property at night, you may need to look just for signs of rats. If you are seeing rats out during the day, then it is likely that there is a large infestation in the area.
Rat burrow hole

Burrow holes that are 1.5 to 3 inches in diameter alongside foundations, sheds, fences, or wood and brush piles

Rat droppings

Droppings that are about 3/4” long with blunt, rounded ends

Rat trails

Rat trails in grass or tunnels under fences

Gnaw marks

Gnaw marks on surfaces or garden vegetables

Chew holes

Chew holes through trash cans or trash bags

Grease marks

Grease marks. Rats usually travel alongside walls or fences as protection. Their greasy fur can leave a black streak along these surfaces. Corners may be especially dark and greasy, as rats will hug corners as they travel.

Pet activity

Watch the behavior of your pets. Dogs may try to dig under sheds to get to rats and cats may stare intensely at a woodpile to wait for a rat to come out. Pets suddenly obsessed with getting into a cabinet or closet may indicate a rodent is in there.