Rats Vs. Mice: What’s The Difference Between The Two?

rat colony looking over plywood

Many people group rats and mice together, but these rodents are different for a couple of reasons - like looks, size and behavior. The following is a guide that can be used to determine if you have rats or mice and the most effective processes to get rid of them, both on your own and with our comprehensive rodent removal services

Dangers Of Mice & Rats In Your Home

Whether you’re dealing with a mouse or rat infestation, they can both be detrimental to your home. These can include:

  • Dangerous diseases including salmonella, rat-bite fever, hantaviruses, and many more.
  • Internal home structural damage to your attic, basement, and other locations.
  • Electrical fires from rodents chewing wires until they are exposed.
  • Urine and fecal matter infesting your food.

Rodent Characteristics

While rats and mice can carry some of the same problems, like structural damage and unsanitary fecal matter and urine, they are different in both their actions and appearance.

Mouse Identification

Mice commonly come in three different kinds:

  • House Mice: The most common mouse to invade properties, are attracted by left out human or pet food.
  • Deer Mice: Which are more common in rural areas and have white bellies with brown or gray fur elsewhere. 
  • White-Footed Mice: Which look and behave similarly to deer mice, but have white feet. 

While these mice may have slightly differing looks, they generally behave the same. They also have generally the same overall appearance with some minor differences. This general appearance includes:

  • Small body about 6 inches in length.
  • Small black eyes with a triangle shaped snout.
  • Small head with large ears.
  • Thin, hairy tail.

Rat Identification

Rats that invade homes most commonly come in two types:

  • Roof Rats: Also known as black rats, which have larger ears, pointed noses, and a tail that is typically longer than the body.
  • Norway Rats: Which are larger and heavier than roof rats, with smaller ears and a tail that is shorter than the body length.

Rats as a whole are typically larger and heavier than mice. The two different types of rats often nest in different places as well, with roof rats preferring trees and Norway rats preferring burrows

Do Mice and Rats Have Different Behavior?

Although these rodents are similar, rats and mice have tendencies to explore one's home differently. There are several differences when it comes to behavior, but here are the most common.

  • Mice are braver and more social than rats which more often live in fear.
  • Mice will often be curious around traps, allowing them to be caught easier than rats, which are generally nervous and smarter.
  • Mice are good climbers and will often be found all over your home, while rats generally prefer basements and crawl spaces

How Do You Get Rid of Rodents? 

If unfortunately, you find yourself on the receiving end of these unwanted visitors, there are several things that can be done to help get rid of them.

  • Eliminate entry points.
  • Keep your home free of food crumbs.
  • Use natural products, such as essential oils.
  • Professional pest control.

The following are detailed explanations of each of these tricks, and different techniques that can be used to remove them.

Eliminate Entry Points

If you are able to, locate any entry points in your walls and seal them with caulk, steel wool or any other sealing product. This will narrow down the rodents’ escape points in your home.

Keep Your Home Free of Food Crumbs

Both mice and rats are omnivores, meaning they will eat anything they can. They are often attracted by food that is left out, regardless of what kind of food it is. They can even be attracted to left out pet food. To prevent anything from getting into your house, it is best to seal both human and pet food away where nothing can get to it. This also prevents smells from traveling and reaching any colonies. 

Use Natural Products

Both rats and mice have a tendency to hate very strong smells. Natural essential oils such as peppermint and eucalyptus have been proven to be unpleasant to both rats and mice. Placing cotton balls soaked with one of these oils around entry points will discourage them and keep them from wanting anything to do with your home.

Professional Pest Control

If all of the above processes have failed and rodents are still persisting, it is now best to call a professional pest control service like Got Bugs?. We have multiple decades of experience in rodent removal and are a locally owned and operated company. Our methods have been proven effective, and our removal services include the following:

  • A roof to foundation inspection to locate the nest.
  • A specialized rodent removal plan unique to your home.
  • A 100% satisfaction guarantee - if they come back, we’ll be back.
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