Dealing With a Rat or Mice Problem? Here’s How To Know the Difference

The last thing any homeowner or renter wants to discover is they have a rodent problem. For many people, there is no distinction between rats and mice, but the two are very different and require slightly different approaches to eradicate. They look very similar, and if you see one as it’s making a mad dash across your floor, it may be hard to distinguish what you actually saw. If you think you may be dealing with a rat or mouse problem, there are some things you will want to know to best deal with the problem.


Is It Rats?

Rats are larger than mice. Depending on the species, they can be a great deal larger. They have small ears and large feet. Other than the size, their thick hairless tail is another glaring identifying feature of rats. The two most common species of rats are black rats and brown rats. An expert rodent exterminator can distinguish between the two with ease. A brown rat’s tail is longer than its head and body, while a black rat’s tail is shorter than its head and body. The black rat tends to have a more slender body and thinner ears. Brown rats are thicker bodied and have a blunt nose.

Rats will eat most things, but they have their preferences. Brown rats prefer to eat grains and they like to frequent the same places for food. This makes baiting them much easier than black rats. Black rats prefer moist fruit, but they also enjoy grains, and they rarely dine at the same place every night. After eating come the droppings. Black rat droppings are more banana shaped, while brown rat droppings look more like a dark brown grain of rice. Black rats prefer to live in buildings and places where there is shelter, while brown rats are more often found to live on the ground and in burrows.

Is It Mice?

Because mice are smaller than rats, they can sometimes be less noticeable. But an adult mouse is similar in size to a young rat. Mice have larger ears than rats and their lightly haired tails are considerably long in comparison to their bodies. Mice usually have lighter colored fur than both brown and black rats and much smaller feet. What mice lack in size they make up for in breeding potential. They reproduce faster and more frequently than rats. As for food, mice prefer grains, and they‘re a bit more picky than rats. They also like to frequent the same spots for food. Mouse droppings are granular shaped and black. They’re usually scattered about randomly.  They live on the ground and in nests and burrows most often.

How to Get Rid of Them

You’ll find a lot of solutions at your local hardware store, including various baits, snap traps, sticky traps, and poisons. The kind of rodent control should match the pest. A small sticky trap won’t likely be effective against a rat problem, but it can work for mice. Trap boxes can be helpful in outdoor spaces. But if you think you have an infestation, calling a professional may be the best course of action.

No one wants to share their living space with uninvited rodents. So if you think you have them in your space, it helps to properly identify them so you can devise the best course of action to get rid of them.

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