How To Tell The Difference Between Mice and Rats

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Rats on your roof to Mice in your drawers. This post will cover the differences in these rodents for you to be able to identify and remove the pests.

Rats on your roof to Mice in your drawers. This post will cover the differences in these rodents for you to be able to identify and remove the pests.

Rats and mice should be easy to tell apart by appearance, but sometimes they don’t show themselves for you to tell the difference. It doesn’t help that many of these rodents are nocturnal. Sometimes it is only mice poop in your kitchen drawer, or gnaw marks from a roof rat. The bottom line is sometimes a clear answer isn’t available. We’re hoping with some advice from a pest control expert you’ll be on your way to knowing whether we are dealing with a mouse or a rat. Both of these rodents find their ways into homes, garages, barns, and businesses destroying wood, wire, furniture, and more.

Seeing Them

If you are lucky enough to see the pest you can tell the difference in a couple ways. The most obvious is size. Rats usually weigh a half a pound or more and can grow to be over a foot long. Their tail alone can be almost 9 inches. Mice on the other hand only have a tail 3-4 inches long and their entire body usually doesn’t get over 6 inches. In short, if it’s big it’s a rat.

Finding Rat or Mice Poop

The issue is most individuals with rats on their roof or mice in the drawers will never see them. They do usually however find droppings. Believe it or not we are maybe able to tell the pest directly from their poop. Rat droppings are capsule shaped and almost look like a pill. When a mouse leaves its waste they are rice shaped and are scattered everywhere.

Hearing Them In The Walls or Around The House

Both rats and mice are nocturnal so at times hard to spot. However, sometimes these critters can act as an alarm clock with sound and activity. Rats typically gnaw on metal and wood and commonly fight for food. In other words, these guys can cause a real ruckus. If you hear a squeaking noise or noises that seem trapped in the drywall it is probably a mouse. It’s never fun being woken up by these pests in the middle of the night, but it makes it possible to identify the critter living in your walls.

The Damage They Cause

If they are silent creatures there are two other ways to determine the pest. Unfortunately, these ways of determining the pest typically means that the issue is now causing damages. Rats and mice leave distinct markings on the items they damage and where they claim their residency in your home. Rats will typically nest up high in attics (like the roof rat) or lower underground (like the Norway rats). It is safe to say rats are either very high or very low. On the other hand, a mouse is a very different rodent. They will nest in heat sources like ovens and water heaters. When these two rodents gnaw they also leave two distinct patterns. Rats will leave edged holes up to a half inch, whereas mice leave clean cut holes in softer objects like wiring and plants.

Besides damage, you also want to make sure they don't harm you or your family. For a list of diseases these rodents may carry, click here.

So do you have mice, rats, or a completely different rodent? If you’re unsure we suggest utilizing our free pest inspection. To contact Fortified Pest Management to perform a free rodent inspection, click here

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