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Rats or Mice? How Can I Tell the Difference?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Have you seen a mouse or rat in or near your home? Have you seen signs that there may be mice or rats in your home? If so, help is just a phone call away. If you want to try to handle a rodent problem yourself, we encourage you to learn as much about how to eradicate pests as possible, and to be very careful when handling chemicals, pesticides, and other pest-removal supplies and products. We also encourage you to learn as much about the rodents, themselves, because there are some major differences between mice and rats, and the more you know, the better prepared you will be to tackle your pest problem. It’s highly recommended, however, that when dealing with a mouse or rat infestation that you NOT try to eliminate the pests without professional help. If these animals are carrying a disease or feel threatened in any way, they can be very dangerous (to humans and pets in your home).

Let’s take a look at rats and mice and note some of the main differences between the two. Mice are typically a good deal shorter than rats and they weigh less, too. Mice are usually white, brown or grey in color, and they have triangle-shaped snouts with long whiskers. Mice also have distinctly large, floppy ears and their tails are long, thin and covered in hair.

Rats, on the other hand, have long, hairless tails that feel scaly. Rats will grow to be a good deal larger and weigh more than mice, and rat coats are typically white, gray, brown or black. A rat’s snout is blunt, which is one of the key discerning characteristics between the two types of rodents. Rats’ ears are much more proportionate to their body size. Another discerning trait of these rodents is the size of their feet. Mice have small feet relative to their body size while rats have large feet relative to their body size, especially their hind feet.

Both mice and rats are nocturnal creatures, which means they are active at night and sleep during the day.

There are other factors that help homeowners know which type of rodent has invaded the home. Rats are much stronger and able to get to places mice typically cannot. For instance, a Norway rat (a common species found in homes) is able to gnaw through really tough materials like cinder blocks, aluminum, glass, wood and even metal. Can you imagine how strong a rat’s teeth must be to get through metal and cinder blocks? Field mice simply don’t have that type of power in their teeth, mouth and jaw.

Another discerning factor is where the rodents choose to nest. House mice are great climbers and therefore are able to fit into tiny spaces that you would think would be out of their reach. They also are great jumpers; you’ll be amazed at high these little critters can jump, especially when there’s something tasty (like your leftover food) to jump for! Mice have an uncanny ability to get into the walls of a home (their climbing skills help with this), and people with mice infestations will often hear gnawing and running sounds coming from inside the walls and ceilings in the house. Yes, the gnawing is coming from inside the house. Creepy, right? Rats nest in burrows, but you will also find rats’ nests in lofts, attics, under eaves and even in a home’s walls. Rats will shred materials such as loft insulation, cardboard and other soft items to make nests, and they will basically use anything they can get their grubby little claws on to make their nests in your home.

Both rats and house mice can be dangerous if they are disease ridden, and they can harm you and your family by damaging wires, which can lead to electrical fires. The problems associated with rodent infestation are numerous and can be quite costly. If you suspect you have a rodent problem, please contact a professional exterminator right away as the longer you wait, the worse the problem will become. Keep in mind that rats and mice will procreate at an alarming fashion, so in just a few months, 200 additions to their “family” is quite realistic.

Please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist, Inc. for any rodent or other pest problem, regardless of how large or small your problem is, and we’ll do everything in our power to eradicate your pest problem as quickly and affordably as possible.

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