Is it a Rat or a Mouse? | Critter Control of Tampa

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Is it a rat or a mouse

Whether you’re new to your home or a long-time resident, you probably go on high alert when you see a rodent scurry through your kitchen or living room. Maybe you don’t even catch sight of the creature itself, just the mouse poop or rat poop it left behind.

Nobody wants any rodent running amok in their home, but knowing what you’re after changes how you approach the problem—which is why you need to know the difference between a rat and a mouse. Critter Control of Tampa understands that it can be challenging for the layperson to tell that difference, which is why we want to clear things up a bit.

The following are some ways you can tell apart a rat from a mouse, and more importantly why it matters in removing them from your home.

Physical Differences

First thing’s first: if you actually see the suspect, you’ll quickly be able to tell the rat and mouse difference, because they have totally opposite physical appearances.

There’s over 70 breeds of mice and rats found throughout North America. These are the most common rats in Tampa and Florida.

House Mouse

The most common breed of mice, the house mouse is tiny and lightweight, with a small head, long ears and light brown or gray fur, with dark-colored tails. Fully grown, the house mouse weighs about 15 grams, which puts it far below its heavier counterpart.

Norway Rat

Also very common, the Norway rat sets itself apart from variants of mice through its considerably larger and heavier body. It dons shorter ears, with a shaggy coat of gray or black fur. Their tails are dark on top, but a lighter tone underneath. In adulthood, you can expect these rats to weigh about 300 grams, making it the heaviest of the breeds we’ll talk about.

Roof Rat

Though still much larger than mice, the roof rat pales in comparison to the Norway rat. It is only 200 grams at adulthood, with a body that is longer and more slender. These also have coats of gray and black, though their tails are darker throughout.

Mouse Poop or Rat Poop

Assuming you don’t catch the rodent in the act, there’s a quick reference for how you can figure out which of these culprits you have hiding in your home. You can judge them by their droppings.

  • The house mouse has small, rod-shaped droppings.
  • The Norway rat has droppings shaped like capsules.
  • The Roof rat has droppings shaped like spindles.

If you don’t feel like doing some quick research online, you can also consult a pest control specialist. At Critter Control, our technicians are trained to know these things.

Difference Between Rat and Mouse Habitat and Breeding

Aside from the differences in appearance and waste, there are key behavioral traits unique to mice versus rats. There is a catch though: they’ll both eat just about anything.

A mice’s ideal diet includes plants and small grains, like you’d find in cereal. Their nests are constructed out of soft materials and tiny scraps of paper that they can use as insulation. If left unchecked, in a single year, a female mouse can birth up to 60 baby mice—meaning your problem can go from bad to worse very quickly.

By contrast, rats enjoy fresh grain and meat as part of a regular diet. For their habitat, the Norway rat will do everything it can to burrow. It’ll find soft, compromised spots under buildings, fences, and natural debris. Meanwhile, the roof rat gets its name from taking the opposite approach, preferring to remain off the ground. These are the rats who will make their nests in trees, walls, and attics.

Rat and Mouse Difference: Miscellaneous

Though we’ve covered the major differences between rats and mice, we want to take a moment to clarify a few outstanding facts for each of them, so you can leave understanding how dissimilar they are from one another.

  • Mice usually have soft fur, while a rat’s fur is coarse.
  • On top of the droppings, you can usually discern a rat’s presence through the gnaw marks, tracks, runways, and burrows they use for travel.
  • Mice are afraid of rats because rats will kill and eat them.

Fend off Infestation with Pest Control

Critter Control of Tampa knows that rodents, no matter their type, are usually unwelcome. We do their our best to be a regular menace to households where they can find a meal.

That’s why we offer our services, which we’ve performed and refined for over 30 years, to anyone who wants to be rid of their mouse or rat infestation. Even if you’re not certain but want to take proactive measures against them finding a way inside, our professionals are on standby to help alleviate your concerns.

Give us a call at 813.948.0870 to set up a consultation and receive a quote today!

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