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Do I have rats or mice?

If you have a rodent infestation, you may be wondering whether you’re dealing with rats or mice. For the most part, rats and mice share very similar characteristics and habits with their ever-growing incisors, long hairless tails, and scavenging habits. They may have very similar traits, but it’s still imperative to understand how to tell the difference between a mouse and rat. To tell whether you have rats or mice, look for:

If you don’t know much about rodents, it can be hard to tell whether you’re dealing with rats or mice when you spot some kind of rodent on your property. Mice and rats share similar characteristics, from their hairless tails and ever-growing incisors to their scavenging habits. They might look and act a lot alike, but it’s important to be able to tell the difference between them to control them properly. You can tell them apart by these features:

  1. Size of droppings
  2. Size of infestation
  3. Appearance of the rodent
  4. Extent of property damage
Do I have Rats or Mice; Central TN | The Bug Man

Mouse vs. Rat: What are the differences?

  • Rats
    • Rats are larger, usually about 6-9 inches in length
    • Rats have smaller, hairy ears and larger feet
    • The difference of rat vs. mouse droppings is key: rat droppings are much larger
    • Rats have between 3-6 litters a year, each containing up to 10 babies
    • Rats are far from picky eaters—they will eat meats, grains, seeds, and much more.
  • Mice
    • Mice are smaller than rats, usually ranging between 2 and 5 inches long
    • Mice’s tails and ears are much larger in comparison to their bodies
    • Mouse droppings are much smaller and have tapered ends
    • Mice mostly feed on seeds, grains, and fruits
    • Their litters are larger and come more frequently than rats

Shared Characteristics between rats and mice

Given that they’re both part of the rodent family, rats and mice share a few key traits. Their most characteristic shared feature is their large incisor teeth that never stop growing. These are the two chisel-shaped front teeth that they have on both their top and bottom rows. They have to constantly find things to gnaw on to keep these teeth from overgrowing. Rats and mice are also both known for scavenging for many kinds of food and causing hazards with their scattered droppings.

What's Worse, a rat or mouse infestation?

While it is important to know which kind of rodent is living on your property, both rat and mouse infestations can be dangerous. They can both spread dangerous diseases, trigger allergies in people, and leave a lot of droppings and property damage to clean up after. They’ll both leave a difficult mess to clean up with their urine and feces—these can sometimes lead to stains. If you think you have a rat or mouse problem and need help getting rid of them, contact your local rodent exterminators right away.

Do I Have Rats or Mice?

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