Do I have rats or mice?
If you have a rodent infestation, you may be wondering whether you’re dealing with rats or mice. For the most part, rats and mice share very similar characteristics and habits with their ever-growing incisors, long hairless tails, and scavenging habits. They may have very similar traits, but it’s still imperative to understand how to tell the difference between a mouse and rat. To tell whether you have rats or mice, look for:
- The size of the rodents’ droppings
- The appearance of the rodents
- The size of the infestation
- The amount of damage done to your property
Differences Between Rats & Mice
- While their size ranges depending on the species, rats typically have larger bodies that are about 6–9 inches in length.
- Rats have small, hairy ears and larger feet.
- Their droppings are much bigger than those of mice at 10–20 mm long.
- Rats produce 3–6 litters a year with up to 10 pups in each litter.
- Rats are opportunistic scavengers that will eat meats, grains, seeds, and much more.
- Mice are much smaller than rats. Most are just 2–5 inches in length.
- Mice typically have larger ears and tails compared to their body size.
- Mouse droppings have pointed/tapered ends and are just 1–2 mm long.
- Mice are omnivores but mostly feed on seeds, grains, and fruits.
- More prolific than rats, mice produce 5–10 litters a year with up to 14 mice in each litter.
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Rats & Mice: Shared Characteristics
As part of the rodent family, most species of rats and mice are very similar. The main characteristic that all rodents share is their enlarged incisor teeth. Rats and mice alike possess chisel-shaped upper and lower incisor teeth that never stop growing, causing them to chew nonstop. Besides this, both rats and mice are known for their similar behaviors, such as their tendency to chew nonstop, scavenge on many types of foods, and cause a hazard with their droppings.
Is a Rat or Mouse Infestation Worse?
While it’s important to know what type of rodent problem you have, the truth is that an infestation of rats or mice can be dangerous. Both rats and mice alike can carry and spread a number of potentially dangerous diseases. They also can trigger allergies in people. A rodent problem can be a mess to clean up due to the amount of droppings and urine left behind. Lastly, they can cause significant damage to your home. If you think you have rats or mice, always contact your local rodent exterminators for an inspection.