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I Smell a Rat…Or Is That a Mouse? Mice Vs. Rats—Telling Them Apart

February 26, 2015

When you’re dealing with a pesky rodent, your first thought probably isn’t,“Gee, I wonder if that’s a mouse or a rat?” Your first thought is most likely, “How do I get rid of that!”… right? Well, believe it or not, being able to discern whether your dealing with a rat or a mouse is important in selecting the method of elimination. With that in mind, how can you tell the difference between a rat and a mouse?

The easiest and most obvious way to tell the two rodents apart is by appearance. As you may have guessed, rats are larger than mice. A rat can be as heavy as 18 ounces, approximately, and as long as 16 inches (including the tail) whereas a mouse tops in at around 1 ounce and 8 inches long (including the tail). Catching a glimpse of the pest is a great way to confirm whether you’re dealing with a mouse or a rat.

Rat

Unfortunately, they can be tricky to spot. If you can’t actually find the culprit, you may be able to tell what you’re dealing with from the excrement as rat feces will be larger.

Aside from appearance, these creatures have very different behaviors. Rats are pretty cautious whereas mice can be quite curious and bold. This means a mouse is more likely to go out of its way to investigate a trap than a rat.

Another way to distinguish rats from mice, without actually seeing either one, is to look for signs of burrowing. Rats are burrowers who will tunnel under buildings, fences, debris, etc. Mice, on the other hand, would prefer not to burrow and will instead find little hiding places to set up shop.

Both types of rodents will eat just about anything so figuring out what has infested your home by examining the food source may not be effective. However, rats do seem more partial to meat than mice so if meat seems to be a favorite meal you may very well have a rat.

What’s the point you ask? Well, understanding which pest your dealing with will help you efficiently and effectively deal with the problem. For example, glueboards are more effective with mice because they are smaller and unable to un-stick themselves from the trap. Furthermore, if you’re going to use traps at all, a larger trap will be needed for rats versus mice.

Since both species breed rather rapidly, it is important to take care of the problem as soon as you become aware of it. Both rats and mice spread diseases and can cause damage to your home, especially rats which are inclined to burrow. When you become aware of a rat or mouse in your home, consider contacting professionals like Scherzinger who can help determine what exactly your dealing with and get the problem taken care of promptly.

Scherzinger Termite and Pest Control is a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We've been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or via web inquiry, Facebook or Twitter.

Authored By: Eric Scherzinger

Quality ProNational Pest Management AssociationOPMABetter Business Bureau Angies List Super Service Award

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