How To Tell If You Have Mice Or Rats

11/05/2014


Mice    Rats    Rodents   
mice or rats infographic from american pest

Mice and rats are both types of rodents and both something that you do not want invading your home. But, if you do all of a sudden find yourself eye to eye with a furry rodent how do you know whether it is a mouse or rat? There are actually several different ways that you can determine if rats or mice have made their way into your home.

One of the most common mistakes made when trying to identify what type of rodent is in a home is mistaken for a juvenile rat for an adult mouse. However, if you know your rodents, you can easily tell the two apart. A young rat’s head and feet will be large compared to their bodies, and their face will be stubby and blunt with wide noses. They will have an overall clumsy appearance, like most young mammals, including humans! This is in comparison to an adult mouse whose body will be more proportioned, slim, and their head will have a more sharp-angled appearance to it.

Differences Between Mice and Rats Include:

  • Adult mice measure around 7 ½ inches in length, including the tail; while adult rats can grow up to 18 inches in length, including the tail.
  • Mice have thin, slightly hairy tails; rats have a thicker, hairless, scaly tail.
  • The nose of a mouse is triangular in shape; the nose of a rat is more blunt and rounded.
  • Both mice and rats can be brown or gray in color, but rats can also be black.
  • Mice droppings are approximately 1/4 inch long with pointed ends.
  • Rat droppings are longer (3/4 inch) with blunt ends.

Why You Don't Want Rodents:

Rodents are commensal animals. This means that they have come to at least partially rely on humans for their food source. This is why they are often found living around homes in both urban and rural areas. When the weather starts to cool, they start to look for indoor shelter to overwinter in. As a homeowner, you should prevent this at all costs because of the dangers that they can introduce into your home.

Both rats and mice can damage the structure of your home by chewing through wires, pipes, insulation, and drywall. They can also damage personal items, like furniture, clothing, carpets, and storage boxes. They can contaminate your food and food prep areas, and introduce diseases like Salmonellosis, Hantavirus, Leptospirosis, and lymphocytic diseases.

They can also create nesting areas behind walls, in your attic, basement, and even behind appliances. Rodents reproduce very quickly; two rodents can quickly become 20 or more in a very short period of time. Female mice have a 21-day pregnancy and have litters that average six pups and it only takes those pups about 6 weeks to reach breeding age. And each female can have up to 8 litters per year, so as you can see, if a small rodent problem is not contained quickly you will soon have a very large rodent problem on your hands. Rat reproduction rates are similar but they have large litters and a slightly longer pregnancy.

Still Not Sure if You Have Mice or Rats?

No matter what type of rodent infestation you have at home, one thing is for certain, you should get immediate help from a rodent pest control expert. Professionals will be able to correctly identify the species that are in your home and will be able to take the appropriate steps to safely and humanely eliminate them from your house. Check out our rodent control options to learn more about how you can get rid of rats and mice.

Professionals will also be able to determine what the cause of your rodent problem is and take steps to help you correct those issues. Having a rodent control service in place will make sure that your current problem is taken care of and those future problems will not arise unexpectedly, ensuring that your home remains free of unwanted guests all year long, well at least the furry, rodent kind!

Click here to view a mouse vs rat infographic to further assist you in identifying between the two invasive rodents. 

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