Home » Rethinking Rodents: How to Tell if Your Infestation is Mice or Rats

Rethinking Rodents: How to Tell if Your Infestation is Mice or Rats

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Most of us love small, cute and furry animals unless they are rodents. Whether mice or rats, having a rodent infestation in your home can prove to be incredibly challenging and frustrating at the same time. A rodent infestation can lead to dangerous droppings all-around your home, food that gets nibbled at in the middle of the night and gnaw marks on your cupboards, shelves and doors. Rodents can also cause some serious damage to your electrical wires, roof insulation and everything in between. 

If you find yourself in the midst of a pesky rodent infestation, the first step to solving your issue is to figure out if you are dealing with mice or rats. Today, we have a look at how you will be able to identify exactly which creature is causing chaos in your home, so read on to find out more!

  1. Observe Physical Appearance

If you have spotted something small and furry running around your home, it can be beneficial to note its physical appearance. When it comes to mice control, you can expect to notice that they have a slender body and are often no larger than 30-100mm in length. Mice are also usually light grey or brown in colour and may have a pair of ears that seem a little too big for their bodies. 

If you’re dealing with rats, you will notice that they are much larger in size, with a thickset body and an incredibly long rail. A rat’s tail alone can measure up to 170mm in length, offering a key clue if you are having trouble differentiating a mouse from a rat. Rats also have small ears, a blunt nose and larger feet than a mouse. 

  1. Those Darn Droppings 

The droppings of various species of rodents will differ in shape and size. Generally speaking, the larger the rodent, the higher the chance of it leaving larger droppings all-around your home. In order to identify between a mouse or a rat, observing droppings is, unfortunately, a necessary evil. The most common house rat droppings can measure up to 20mm in length and often resemble the shape of a long grain of rice. 

When it comes to mouse droppings, you can expect to find them randomly scattered around the home and often 3-8mm in length. This makes the mouse droppings a lot smaller than that of rats, making it easy for you to identify the culprit of your infestation. 

  1. How Often Are They Breeding?

Did you know that mice reach sexual maturity a lot earlier than rats and often produce larger and more frequent litters compared to their rat counterparts? Most mouse litters will contain up to16 babies that take about 2-3 months to reach full maturity. One mouse can also have up to 8 litters a year, thus resulting in an infestation that can grow at an incredibly rapid rate.

Rats on the other hand may have up to 6 litters a year, each containing 6-8 babies per litter. If you notice that your rodents are reproducing at lightning speed, it can be beneficial to observe how often you notice babies running around in order to deduce whether you have a rat or mouse problem. 

  1. Mouse VS Rat Behaviour 

When it comes to characteristics and behaviours, you’ll find that mice are incredibly curious while rats are more reserved and cautious. Mice often investigate anything new due to their curiosity which is why setting humane mouse traps up is an effective way of catching them. If you’re looking to catch a rat, you’ll need to know how they operate. A rat is usually cautious and creatures of comfort that will avoid new things in their path. Because of this, you will need to place unset traps in a rat’s path before replacing them with set traps if you’re going to have any luck catching them on your own. 

  1. Rat VS Mouse Movements

Lastly, knowing the way both species of rodent move is a great way to figure out what you are dealing with. Mice are often nocturnal, operating when the sun sets. They also do not like bright lights which is why you’ll find them scurrying about late at night when everyone is asleep. Mice are also excellent jumpers and can run incredibly fast on their four legs.

On the other hand, rats stick to known routines and often use water as their source of movement. This is how they can enter your home through broken pipes or toilets. Don’t be fooled though, because rats are just as good as climbing as their mouse counterparts. Combining this fact with some of the other pointers in this article as a source of reference is the best way to identify your problem. 


If you think that you are experiencing a rodent infestation, we highly recommend contacting your local pest control service. No matter what type of rodent infestation you have, an expert will be able to correctly identify the species and find the best way to eliminate them from your home humanely.

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