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Rodents In Your Home? Key Differences Between Mice And Rats

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Rodents in your home can be physically, emotionally, and financially overwhelming, especially if they have caused actual damage. No matter which type of rodent has infested your personal space, help is available. Of course, proper understanding is key to diagnosing an infestation and determining which rodents have caused you and your home distress. This guide will help you learn the key differences between two common rodents that affect homeowners: mice and rats.


Rodent droppings are usually the first sign you have these unwanted guests in your home. You may notice droppings in the attic, basement, or crawlspace, since these are darker, more quiet spaces than other rooms of the house. Droppings may also be found in cabinets, drawers, closets, or behind furniture.

In most cases, mice will leave more droppings than rats. However, the size of these droppings will help you distinguish which rodent is infesting your home.

On average, mouse droppings measure about ¼ inch in length, which is about the size of a grain of rice. Droppings left behind by rats will be larger, measuring around ½ to ¾ inch in length.

Mice droppings will have sharp ends while rat droppings will be rounded on the end. Both will be brown in color.

If you notice any droppings inside your home, use precaution before cleaning up. Wear rubber gloves and a respiratory mask to protect your hands and airway from the potential germs and disease found in rodent droppings.


Understanding how each type of rodent behaves can be helpful as well in determining if mice or rats are infesting your home.

Mice are curious rodents, meaning they love to explore. They will spend large portions of their time investigating different things in your home. Therefore, you are more likely to see one or more mice if you have an infestation because they seem to always be on the go.

Rats are not as curious. They tend to be more cautious when in new environments. Because they are a bit larger than mice, rats may make more noise when moving through your home.

Food Sources

Another interesting difference between mice and rats is what they prefer to eat.

Most mice will eat anything, even though they prefer grains and plants. Rats, on the other hand, enjoy grains and meat products.

Rats also require fluid each day. If they do not consume foods that contain moisture or water, they will seek out fluid in other ways. This is why so many rats are known to inhabit sewers.

Help is available whether you have mice or rats in your home. Document any signs that you have an infestation and contact a mice and rat removal team immediately.