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How to Tell if You Have a Rat in the Home

November 21, 2018

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rat looking for shelter

In fall there are many things you can look forward to and expect with the change of the weather. Tank tops and shorts become a thing of the past as the days shorten and the wind begins to howl. However, not everything that comes with the change of the seasons is always something you want to look forward to. Rats are among the things that can be expected with winter on its way. Now that our days are cooling, rats are seeking a perfect shelter to stay when winter arrives. And that shelter must provide food as well as warmth. Rats are very urban creatures as it is, preferring to live around human dwellings, and will not hesitate to invade your home as soon as the outdoor climate reaches unfavorable levels.

When searching for signs of rats that may be living in your home, it is important to recognize the difference between what signs are left by rats, and what signs are left by mice. As both pests are rodents, it can be difficult to see the differences due to how similar they are to each other. There are, however, a few key distinguishers.

Both mice and rats chew to wear down their ever-growing front incisors. What they chew and what that damage looks like is what can tell you which rodent has invaded your home. Rats leave larger gnaw marks on furniture, in walls, and in structural components of your home. Mice are capable of squeezing into areas as small as ¼ of an inch, while rats require ½.  Things that rats gnaw on are usually left more damaged than things that mice have chewed, meaning that where mice may cause minor shortages if wires have been chewed on, rats could cause more severe power outages.

Some other differences to look for include:

  • Rats leave much larger droppings than mice.
  • Mice are more likely to go after grains like rice and wheat, while rats prefer larger items, such as meats and pet food.
  • Rats cause greater damage to homes in a shorter span of time because of their larger size and stronger teeth.
  • Mice will generally only chew on softer components of the structure they are inhabiting (i.e. wood, wires, piping, furniture), whereas rats are capable of chewing through aluminum, brick, and even concrete.

Whether you are noticing signs of mice or rats, it’s always safer to contact a pest professional immediately when it comes to ridding your home of pests. Both of these rodents can spread bacteria and diseases, meaning that you should never try and eliminate these pests on your own. Moyer Pest Control has the tools and experience needed in a pest control company, and with our residential pest control programs, you can be sure your home is pest free in no time at all. Moyer Pest Control keeps pests out of homes for good. Contact us today for more information about all of our residential and commercial services.


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Tags: commercial pest control  |  home pest control  |  rodent control