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Rat vs Mouse

By DoMyOwn staff

Learn how to tell the difference between rats and mice by identifying their appearance, droppings, and where they live.

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Video Transcript
 

Knowing the differences between rats and mice will help you determine where rodents may be found inside and around your home, and what products are needed to control an infestation.

Three easy ways to differentiate between rats and mice are by understanding their appearance, droppings, and where they live.

Mice are small compared to rats. Mice have bodies that range from 1 to 4 inches in length, about the size of the palm of your hand, while rats have bodies that are 5 to 7 inches in length, the size of your hand from wrist to fingertip.

One way to distinguish the difference between rats and mice is the size of the tail. The tail of a mouse will be about the same length as their body, meaning a 3 inch mouse will also have a tail around 3 inches long. Rats will have tails that are smaller than their bodies.

Rats are usually dark brown or black while mice are a lighter brown or gray.

Mouse droppings are the size of rice grains and a single mouse can produce 80 to 100 droppings every day. Mice will defecate anywhere, so droppings are typically spread out to wherever mice roam. A strong odor or musk will often accompany a mouse infestation along with their droppings.

Rat droppings are the size of olive pits and are very noticeable. Rats will only defecate in one area of a home or property as rats are very discrete.

Mice almost always live near humans in order to find food. They can be found in wall voids, crawl spaces, basements, under appliances, in storage boxes, or near home foundations and shrubbery. Mice can fit into openings as small as the size of a buttonhole, making it very easy for them to enter a home.

Mice like to gnaw on household objects. Gnawed wood, wires, fabrics, and even soaps are a sign a mouse is nearby.

Rats live in different areas depending on their species. Some rat species, like roof rats, prefer to live up high in trees, attics, on the roof of a home or building, or in other tall dwellings. Other rats, like Norway rats, prefer to burrow in the ground and will remain low, only inhabiting the bottom floor of a building.

Like mice, rats can fit through openings the size of quarters. They can quickly enter a home and may repopulate in the home when they do find warmth and shelter.

Mice can produce over 12 or more young per litter and have several litters per year, meaning two mice can quickly turn into hundreds in less than a year. Rats also repopulate quickly, averaging 5 litters per year. It is imperative to identify and control rodents in and around your home to avoid a complete infestation.

After identifying whether you have rats or mice on your property, your next step is to control the infestation, then prevent the rodents from returning. Visit do my own dot com for step-by-step guides, how-to videos, and product recommendations.

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