Mice and rats are the two types of rodent pests that are likely to infest your home. They are almost identical in behavior and diet, so it’s easy to get the two confused. But there are a few key differences that can help you determine which one you may be dealing with.

Body

The most noticeable difference between mice and rats is their physical appearance.

  • Mice are on the smaller side, between 2 ½ and 4 inches long with long tails between 2 ¾ and 4 inches long. Their tails are thin and hairy, and their ears are large and somewhat floppy. They are typically dusty grey or brown in color with cream-colored bellies. Their snouts are triangular and pointed.
  • Rats are medium to large rodents, usually between 6 and 9 inches long with tails about the same length as their bodies. Their tails are scaly instead of hairy, and their ears and eyes are small. They are usually darker brown or black in color with gray, white or black bellies. Their snouts are more blunt than mice.

Droppings

You may be able to tell what kind of rodent is in your home simply by finding their droppings.

  • Mice produce rod-shaped fecal matter that is usually ⅛-¼ inch long with pointed ends. If these droppings are fresh, they will be soft and moist, but if they are older, they will be hard and dry.
  • Rats also produce rod-shaped fecal matter, but their droppings are usually larger than those of mice due to their bodily size difference. Roof rat feces are about ½ inch long and pointed at the ends like mice, but Norway rat feces are about ¾ inch long and blunt on the ends.

Nesting Habits

While mice and rats are largely similar in social and foraging behavior, hiding in cluttered areas and searching for food nocturnally, roof rats are known to live in more elevated areas like gutters, rafters and attics. Mice and Norway rats also can commonly be found anywhere in the world, but roof rats are most often found in coastal or tropical environments.

Getting Rid of Mice and Rats

Mice and rats can fit through coin-sized holes and will eat just about anything. They are highly unsanitary, carrying many diseases and disease-causing parasites. These rodents are also well known to chew through about anything in search of food, from plastic containers to electrical wiring. Any food they find and eat in your home should also be thrown away. If they are not stopped, they can cause a great deal of damage or waste in a home.

Traps and poisons are some of the most common ways to get rid of mice and rats, but these methods can be both dangerous and ineffective. Both types of rodent breed rapidly, so you may not be able to get rid of them all with DIY methods. If you want to get rid of your rodent problem quickly and completely, contact us today for a free inspection!