Most Common & Potentially Hazardous Rodents Have Plenty in Common But Also Significant Differences
Do you think unwelcomed rodent visitors are taking refuge in your home?
It’s obviously not a fun feeling to have, but knowing you have a problem is the first step. The second step is knowing exactly what type of rodent is giving you problems. Here’s how to tell the differences between mice and rats, along with what to look for to know for sure they are invading your home.
Rat vs Mouse: How to Identify Rodents
Rats are generally larger than mice, measuring up to about 12 to 18 inches long and weighing anywhere from 4 to 12 ounces.
They range in color from brown to black depending on the species they are. These critters compensate for poor eyesight with excellent senses of taste, smell, and hearing. They live in groups and can reproduce quickly.
Mice are small — anywhere between 1 and 7 inches long — and weigh between a a half to 1 ounce. They are usually brown, gray, or white depending on the species, and have round ears, a pointed snout, and a scaly tail. Like rats, mice have poor eyesight, but an excellent sense of smell and hearing.
Behavioral Differences of Rats & Mice
While both mice and rats are active at night, mice are more omnivorous, eating plants and meat, while rats prefer meats and grains.
Mice can be found inside of walls and other spaces near food but do not bite unless they feel threatened. Rats hide in clutter to construct their nests and have been known to bite both humans and pets in a more aggressive manner.
Damage Differences of Rats & Mice
At first glance, the damage difference of these rodents on nearly any material within the house can appear rather similar.
Mice chew their way through materials while rats gnaw. Chewing from a mouse looks like someone has been nibbling on the material, like cardboard for example, and results in small indentations and punctures in a given area of the material.
Rats, on the other hand, leave gnawing marks that, on a small scale, look like someone was digging down on the side of something with a hard plastic straw.
The main differences between mice and rats are in their size, color, behavior, and damage markings.
Sure Signs of Rats or Mice
Droppings: Mouse droppings are about the size of rice grains; rat droppings are about the size of a raisin.
Tracks: Scatter a small patch of flour or talcum powder on the floor along the wall or in likely places. Put a cracker or a piece of bread spread with peanut butter in the middle of your "tracking patch." Check for tracks the next day.
Burrows: Check in weedy places, under boards, under dog houses and near garbage cans or dumpsters.
Gnawings: Any little hole with chewed edges is a sure sign. Check your pantry for chewed packages. Look for shredded paper. Look for tooth marks.
Sounds: Listen for gnawing or scratching in walls or attics, especially at night.
Nests: Chewed paper or cloth (including gloves, carpet, clothes) are often found in boxes, drawers, basements or attics.
Odor: A musty odor usually indicates mice, not rats, are present.
If you think you have a rat or mouse problem, get it fixed fasted by scheduling a free pest inspection today!