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As members of the rodent family, mice and rats look very similar and are often mistaken for one another. Both are harmful, transmitting serious diseases to humans and pets, contaminating surfaces in our home, and chewing through structures and wires, causing damage and putting you at risk for fires. How do you know if you are dealing with a mouse vs rat? Here are 5 key differences between these two rodents.
Mice are noticeably smaller than rats, growing 3 to 4 inches in length. Mice weigh anywhere from 0.5 oz to 3 oz. A mouse’s tail is equal in length to its body and is thin, long, and covered in hair. Mice have small heads and large ears with pointy, triangular snots and smooth fur. Mice can be white, gray, or brown in color. Rats, on the other hand, are much larger, measuring 9″ to 11″ in length and weighing anywhere from 12 oz to 1.5 lbs. A rat’s tail can be 7″ to 9″ in length and is long, thick, scaly, and hairless. Rats have small ears and large heads with blunt snouts. They have coarse fur that can be dark brown or multicolored.
Mice have smaller droppings, about 1/4″ in length. Mice droppings are black with pointed ends and resemble a grain of rice. Mice can leave up to 100 droppings at a time. Rat droppings are larger with an elongated oval shape. These droppings are about 3/4″ long, black in color, and resemble a banana. Rats can leave up to 50 droppings at a time. Rodent droppings of both species are known to carry diseases that can be harmful to humans.
While both species are omnivores, their diets tend to vary. Mice commonly eat fruit, seeds, and plants. In your home they may nibble on bread crumbs or other cereals and grains. Their palates are not as wide as rats. Mice can also survive on 3 mL of water per day. Rats, on the other hand, will eat almost anything, even scavenging through your garbage for fruit, eggs, meat, and other leftovers. They will also eat plants and seeds. Rats need anywhere from 15 to 60 mL of water per day.
While both rats and mice will come into your home, they tend to frequent different areas once inside. Mice can be found in garages, under trees, under decks, and in walls and other voids that are too small for other rodents to get into. The species of rat you are dealing with determines where they prefer to live. Norway rats can be found in sewers, inside walls, and in cellars. They prefer lower levels of your home to reside in. Roof rats prefer higher environments, often being found in cabinets and attics.
Mice are nocturnal animals. They are timid but social within their own populations. They are very territorial and more curious than rats, making them easier to trap. They are skillful climbers and can access areas rats can’t because of their small size. Rats are also nocturnal but are more cautious and fearful of new things than mice are, making them more difficult to trap. Rats are also skillful climbers. Both rats and mice will gnaw through structures and wiring in your home, causing damage and putting you at risk for fire. Mice have weaker teeth and can’t chew through glass or metal to get to food. Rats have much stronger jaws and have been known to chew through wood, glass, sheet metal, aluminum, and even cinder blocks.
Regardless of which pest you are dealing with, proper identification and treatment is essential to eliminating them. Contact your local pest control company who can determine which type of pest you have and set you up with the appropriate rodent control plan to eliminate them.
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Mice are incredibly resourceful as they can quickly adapt to new environments. Small in size, these pests are looking for a warm place to shelter and provide a food source. If these rodents make it indoors, they can cause significant damage to your home. Here we list the major signs of mice in your home and how you can prevent them.
Seeing holes, tears, and gnaw marks is a major sign that mice are indoors. You can typically see this damage in bedding, clothing, fabrics, and other materials. Mice will use these shredded fabrics to help build their nests, usually located in dark, secluded areas. These pests will also chew and leave gnaw marks on inedible materials such as wood, plastic, cables, and electrical wiring.
A more obvious sign of a mouse infestation is hearing noises throughout the night. Mice can fit through holes and openings smaller than their bodies. Using their ability to fit through the smallest hole, they will often use the spaces between joists to travel from one part of the house to the other. If a mouse has gotten inside the walls, you’ll often hear scratching or scrabbling noises.
Another alarming sign that a mouse is inside is seeing their feces. Mouse droppings are around three to six millimeters or ¼ inch in length. They typically resemble small grains of rice and sometimes can be mistaken for cockroach droppings. If you see mouse droppings, it’s best to carefully pick them up with gloves and place them in a sealed plastic bag to ensure they don’t release bacteria or virus particles.
To help prevent mice, place the preventative measures below throughout your house.
If you notice any signs of mice inside your house, consider reaching out to your local pest control provider, where they will provide you with the best plan of action.
Rats and mice are both rodents and while they are often mistaken for each other, the similarities really end there. These two pests don’t breed with each other and typically nest in different places. If a population is big enough that the two species cross paths on a regular basis and the food sources nearby are plentiful, then they can inhabit the same area at the same time; this is rare, however. Most often they are competing for the same food and rats will kill mice instead. In fact, mice and rats give off very distinctive odors and mice will flee when they smell rats nearby.
Rats vs mice can be confusing and the two are often mistaken for each other when they infest your home.
Mice are much smaller than rats, usually only 2″ to 4″ long. They typically have lighter brown coloring and dark tails. Their ears are proportionately larger when compared to their body size than those of rats. Mice have wide, blunt snouts, small feet, and small, beady eyes. They prefer to eat grains and plants but will eat leftover food and garbage if inside. They can also go long periods of time without water. They typically nest in hidden areas near their food sources (e.g. your kitchen). They produce more droppings per day than rats (70-150) but their droppings are smaller in size and usually scattered throughout the house. They are more curious than rats and easier to trap.
Rats are much larger than mice, usually ranging from 8″ to 10″ in length. They also have much darker coloring. Their ears are proportionately smaller when compared to their body size than their mice cousins. They have sharp, narrow snouts, large hind feet, and large, prominent eyes. Rats are omnivores and will eat anything they find, including meat. They require regular amounts of drinking water than mice do. Depending on the species, rats also nest in different areas than mice. Norway rats will often dig under buildings, along fences, and hide under debris and landscaping. Roof rats will typically nest in higher locations (e.g. roofs, attics, and rafters). Rats produce larger feces (about 2 cm in size). Rats are more cautious than mice and can be more difficult to trap. They are also strong swimmers.
Both rats and mice are dangerous to humans. Risks of a rodent infestation of any kind include gnawing through surfaces, insulation, and wires; contaminating surfaces with urine and droppings; and carrying and transmitting harmful pathogens like salmonellosis, plague, and trichinosis.
The best treatment against a rodent infestation is to prevent them in the first place. Here are some of our top rodent prevention tips you can utilize in your home.
If you suspect a problem with rodents or any other pest, contact your local pest control company who can help identify which rodent you are dealing with and set you up with the most appropriate rodent control plan for your situation.
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While rodents will typically infest your home during the colder months of the year, it is still possible for these pests to be found inside the home during the warmer months too. If a rodent, like a mouse or rat, is found inside a house during spring and summer months, it’s likely that they’ve been there since winter! Rodents can cause expensive damage to your property. Learning some common signs of rodents in your home is the first step in identifying an infestation and establishing a rodent control plan.
One of the most common and telling signs that a rodent is in your home is finding their droppings. Measuring around 1/8 to ¼” long, droppings are left behind in places where food is stored, such as the kitchen and pantries. Rodent feces can be dangerous as it can carry harmful bacteria and transmit dangerous diseases such as salmonella. When looking for these droppings, make sure to check under the sink, in pantries, in cabinets, along baseboards, and on top of wall beams.
Mice and rats are always in search of food and water and will often chew their way to it. Both rodents can cause serious damage by chewing through materials found throughout the house, such as plastic and lead pipes. House mice and Norway rats are known to gnaw on wires that are behind walls, causing the dangerous risk of a fire. Check throughout the house for any suspicious chewing marks on wires, pipes, or even plastic containers as these can be an indication that a rodent is inside your home.
Hearing strange noises at night is always concerning, but it’s also a common indicator that rodents have made their way inside. These pests are typically active during the night and, if inside, hearing them scurry around the house is common. Rodents usually prefer dark, secluded spots to build their nests, such as in attics or in between walls. Checking these areas could give you the answer on whether rodents have been infesting!
If you suspect a rodent infestation in your house, contact your local pest control company who can safely remove them from your home.
Rodents are one of the most resourceful pests when it comes to getting into your home. Mice and rats can squeeze through the tiniest cracks to gain access and they require very little space to travel inside. Rodents seek shelter indoors, especially during the fall and winter months as they go in search of warmth, food and water. While a rodent sighting can be scary enough, these pests also pose serious hazards to your home and your health. They can gnaw through cardboard, paper, and even electrical wires, putting you at risk for fires. They are known to carry bacteria, like salmonella and hantavirus, and can contaminate your food, kitchen surfaces, and other areas of your home. Even rodent droppings are dangerous – helping spread these pathogens to you and your family.
The first step in rodent control in and around your home is to prevent them from getting inside in the first place. Here are 10 easy tips you can use for preventing mice and rats:
If you do find signs of rodents in your home, best practice is to remove them and prevent re-entry as soon as possible. This is best accomplished by a professional pest control company who can not only eliminate the nuisance pests, but help identify nesting sites and points of entry to help prevent reinfestation in the future.
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