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How To Tell If You Have Mice Or Rats

October 17, 2014

mouse and a rat side by side

There are several critters you never want in your home. At the top of most people’s list is mice and rats. These pests can pose some serious risks to your home and the people in it. Both are known to chew through wires, posing a fire hazard. They can contaminate food and surfaces and their droppings are extremely dangerous, not to mention that they both carry diseases and parasites. Yuck!

Mice and rats are extremely similar but there are some obvious differences between the two.

  • Rats are bigger than mice. A mouse's body is about 2 ½ to 3 ¾ inches long while rats range in size from 9-11 inches long. Rats have longer tails as well. Their tails are usually about 7-9 inches long and mice have tails that are about 3-4 inches long.

  • Their tails and their bodies are not the only things that are bigger. Rat droppings are also much larger.

  • While rats and mice will eat pretty much anything, mice prefer grains and plants while rats prefer to eat meat and grains. Rats will also eat mice.

  • Rats burrow under buildings and fences, while mice don’t. Rats burrow to build their nest while mice build nests from soft material such as toilet paper, paper towels or shredded paper.

  • Mice can manage their way through smaller openings than rats can. A mouse can wiggle through 1/4 “ holes or gaps whereas rats squeeze through spaces ½” in diameter.

  • Rats tend to live a little longer than mice with an average lifespan of 18 months while mice live for about 9-12 months.

  • Mice are known for being jumpers. They can jump up to 13” while rats rely on their climbing skills.

Something these two critters do have in common is no one wants either one of them in their home. If you think you have rats or mice in your home, you should contact a pest control professional immediately. These pests and their droppings can be extremely dangerous, if they are not dealt with properly. Setting a trap or two usually isn’t enough and if you want to be sure rats and mice are not continuing to pose a threat to you, your family or your home, you shouldn’t try to get rid of them on your own. Contacting the pros will save you a lot of time, headache, worry and hassle in the long run.

Tags: mouse infestation get rid of mice rodent control mice vs rats

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