Nothing can prepare you for the shock of opening your pantry and having a rodent starting back at you. You scream, jump, panic…in the meantime your un-welcomed guest scurries away. What just happened? What was that?! Was it a RAT or a MOUSE? How many more could there be? Where are they hiding? How do I get the rats or mice out of my house? Take a deep breath; Superior Spray Service is here to help you!
Before you go out and buy a cat (or borrow your neighbor’s) let’s make sure you know exactly what you’re dealing with. Although they are both in the rodent family, mice and rats have specific traits and behavioral patterns. That means extermination efforts that work for rats, may not work for mice and vice versa. Here are some helpful tips that will assist you telling the difference between rats and mice.
1. Learn The Difference Between Rats and Mice Droppings
Although the scenario in our opening paragraph is quite disturbing (seeing a live rodent in your home); it is unlikely. Actually, you are more probable to come in contact with their poop – eww! Knowing the difference in their droppings will help you identify your rodent guest.
Rat Droppings are large (¾ – 1 inch) in length, hard and will be sparingly scattered.
Mouse Droppings will be more plentiful, small ( ¼ inch in length) and have pointy ends.
Whatever rodent you are dealing with be careful when handling their feces. It contains pathogens that are easily spread to humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises exercising caution in handling and disposing of rodent droppings.
2. Realize That Rats and Mice Eat Differently
Both of these rodents will eat whatever they can get their scroungy paws on.
Mice prefer their starches fresh over dried ones, if given the choice. Think bread, flour, corn and pastries. They will also eat meat if available.
Rats tend to chow down on meat first. Think other dead animals or canned meats. They also have tendencies to eat peanut butter and your pet’s food.
3. Notice the difference between rats and mice behavior
We’re sure you’ve heard the phrase “creature comforts,” well rats and mice enjoy different comforts.
Mice prefer to make their nests close to food sources. Look for mice nests in the kitchen; in locations such as under the sink and in dark areas of the pantry. They are also more likely to live in your walls than rats. They enjoy cozy beds made of soft materials; old clothing or rags, paper, dry grass, etc.
However, rats are known diggers. They are more prone to burrowing under clutter.
Accordingly, once a rodent a has made your home their own, they waste no time breeding. That means that their numbers can multiply quickly. Therefore, we recommend a pest control plan and preventive tactics for the ultimate in managing rodent infestations in your home.
4. Rats and Mice Do Not Get Along
To put it simply; rats will kill and eat mice. Especially when they are competing over the same food source. Additionally, the Norway rat and the roof rat, are instinctive enemies. If they take up residence in the same area, there will be conflict. Norway rats are more aggressive and will likely win the battle. Therefore, if you ultimately discover a rodent problem in your home, it will be a rat OR mouse problem, not a rat AND mouse problem.