Your first thought when you see a small, furry rodent scurry across your kitchen floor is probably not “I wonder if that was a rat or a mouse”. Knowing which of these pests has invaded your home, however, can make a difference in rodent control efforts. Whether you choose to evict the critters yourself or hire a pest professional, it’s important to know the difference between a rat and a mouse.
Physical Differences Between a Rat or a Mouse
Even if you only saw the rodent out of the corner of your eye, chances are you saw enough to identify whether you have mice or rats in your home. Physical differences include:
- Adult mice are smaller than adult rats, by comparison. From the tip of the nose to the tail an adult mouse measures around 7 ½ inches, while rats can be as large as 18 inches.
- If the tail was thin and slightly hair, it’s a mouse. If it was thicker and hairless with a scaly appearance, it’s a rat.
- Mouse noses are triangular with long whiskers. Rat noses are rounded and more blunt than that of a mouse.
- Mice and rats can both have white, brown, or gray fur. If the fur is black, it’s definitely a rat; house mice don’t have black fur. Rat fur also tends to be coarser than mouse fur.
Juvenile rats are often mistaken for adult mice, based on size. Rats of all ages have the same tail, snout, and fur identifying features. A young rat will also appear more awkward than an adult mouse; the head and feet will seem large compared to the bodies.
Tell-Tale Signs around the House
Unless you see the rodent, it’s difficult to identify whether you have mice or rats in the house. If you see signs of a rodent activity but not the actual rodent, don’t wait to take action. These unwelcome houseguests can detrimentally impact your home and your health.
Rats and mice can contaminate food and food preparation areas, introducing a variety of serious and sometimes-fatal diseases, including Salmonella and Hantavirus. They’ve been known to house fires, plumbing problems, and other structural damage through their gnawing.
Signs of a mouse or rat infestation include:
- Droppings: A mouse produces 40-100 droppings each day, while a rat produces 20-50 droppings.
- Grease marks: Rat coats are often soiled enough to leave marks on surfaces that they touched.
- Gnawing: Both mice and rats can cause structural damage to your home, gnawing through wires, pipes, insulation, and drywall. They can also damage personal items, like clothing and furniture.
- Tracks: Mice and rats may leave tracks behind.
- Burrow holes: Rats burrow under buildings, along fences, and under vegetation or debris.
Did you see a rat or a mouse in your house, or do you just have signs of rodent problems? Request a Free Quote or Call us at (800) 235-3093 to get rid of mice and rats today!