Rats vs. Mice: How to Tell the Difference

mouse climbing on a dead plant

Do you have a rodent problem in your home? If so, you may be wondering whether you have rats or mice. Both rats and mice are common pests, but they can be difficult to tell apart. Below, we will explain some key differences between these pesky rodent invaders.

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Rats vs. Mice: Appearance

The most obvious difference between rats and mice is their appearance. Rats are generally larger, with a body length of up to 8 inches in some cases (minus the tail). They have long bodies, large heads, and small ears. Their snout shape is typically blunter and less pointy or triangular than that of mice. Their tails are also noticeably hairless and thick and can look scaly.

Mice tend to be much smaller, with a body length of only 1 to 2 inches. They often have more slender bodies and bigger ears with a more pointy or triangular snout (although this can vary depending on the species). Mice have long, thin tails covered in fine hair.

In terms of color, wild mice can be gray, brown, or white. Rats can be gray, brown, or white as well, but they can also be black — so if you see a black rodent scurrying around your property, you can be sure it's a rat!

Rats vs. Mice: Droppings

Another way to differentiate between rats and mice is by their droppings. Rats tend to have larger droppings, with a length of up to ¼ inch. They can look similar to small, black, or brown beans. Mouse droppings are much smaller, usually only around 1/8 inch in length — just a little smaller than a grain of rice.

Rats vs. Mice: Which Cause More Damage?

Either of these rodents can create significant damage and health hazards. Once rats or mice infest your home, they can:

  • Destroy your home and car’s electrical system by chewing the wiring
  • Cause mold and other water-damage-related problems with their urine
  • Chew and shred your insulation, furniture, paper documents, and more
  • Contaminate your stored food
  • Increase the risk of hantavirus entering your indoor air

For these reasons, it’s critical to involve a pest control professional as soon as you know of a rodent problem in your home. You will need help with controlling the current infestation and preventing future ones.

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Rat and Mice Removal in North Carolina

At Sage Pest Control, we specialize in effective rodent control in Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, and surrounding areas. Give us a call today at (704) 413-3398!

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