If you are reading this, chances are, you suspect that you have a rodent problem in your home. These creatures are known for going to great lengths in order to discover a secure home that is warm and has food sources nearby. As a homeowner, it is easy to panic and experience immense levels of concern over parasites, bacteria, and diseases that rodents may carry and spread through the home.

Unfortunately, it is rare to actually SEE the rodent; however, this is a necessary step. Being able to successfully differentiate between a mouse infestation and a rat infestation will allow both you and the pest control team that you enlist to utilize the best possible treatment. In this guide, you will learn how to tell if you have rats or you have mice.


Size Matters

While it is considered rare to actually see the rodents that have made their way into the home, it is important to know what to look for in case you stumble upon one of the pests. Generally speaking, a rat is much larger than a mouse.

Not only is it longer, but it is much broader. The tail of a rat is thick and hairless. Furthermore, the ears of a rat are small. The mouse tail is thin and has a thin level of fur. The ears of a mouse are much larger than the ears of a rat. Additionally, rats tend to look more vicious whereas mice are often described as being “cute”.

The Fecal Matter

The fecal matter – often referred to as “droppings” – can help distinguish a rat from a mouse. In fact, this is not only one of the most profound ways to tell a rat from a mouse, but it is often the first sign that an infestation is present within the home. Mouse droppings are about as large as a piece of rice and have ends that are pointed. Rat droppings are larger – like a bean – and have blunt ends. Read the following for more detailed information on rodent fecal matter:

  1. Mouse Droppings – These are small and smooth. The ends are pointed. These are typically about the size of one grain of rice. Lengthwise, they measure anywhere from 1/8 of an inch to ¼ of an inch.
  2. Norway Rat Droppings – These will be brown in color, thick, and have blunt ends. They may resemble a kidney bean.
  3. Roof Rat Droppings – These dropping are large and very dark in color. In nearly all instances, they are pointed at each end.

The main way to tell if you have a rat or a mouse is to – unfortunately – evaluate the fecal matter that you find in the home. In most instances, you will find rodent fecal matter in drawers, cupboards, in the pantry, underneath the sink, underneath the stove, around the refrigerator, near food packages, and possibly even underneath furniture – such as end tables and dressers. If you want to know what type of rodent you are dealing with, you will have to search for the droppings. Once found, inspect and compare to the previously-described droppings.


Now, rats and mice live similar lives. They will run around the home, through walls, and gnaw on objects so that their teeth remain sharp.

In most instances, you will not actually hear mice because they are very small. If you have rats, though, you will hear them moving around and engaging in various activities.

Both types of rodents are more active during the nighttime hours. If you hear odd activity in your walls during the daytime hours, it is likely that you have a wildlife issue – such as a squirrel infestation.

All rodents chew. Of course, mice leave smaller gnaw marks than rats. Rats – on the other hand – could leave a gaping hole that is the size of a tennis ball. In short, if you notice small gnaw marks or holes, you likely have a mouse. If you notice larger-sized gnaw marks or holes, you have a rat.

Both types of creatures will get into food that you have in your home. In most instances, mice will take small amounts back to a nearby nest. Rats may do the same, but the mess that they leave behind is much larger.

Mice Babies
source: pixabay


The next method that may be used to determine if you have a rat or a mouse is to evaluate the nesting. Mice will shred up paper and other types of pliable materials and will construct a nest somewhere inside of the home. Norway rats are known for nesting outside, in the ground in deep burrows. A roof rat will next somewhere above ground – typically in an attic, a tree, or even in heavy vegetation.

Oily Marks

Both rats and mice are known for leaving behind oily marks where they travel. They use these marks to find their way back and forth to their destination. Naturally, those oily marks will be larger with a rat and smaller with a mouse.

In most instances, you will observe this along the interior walls, the foundation, ledges, on plumbing pipes, rails, and other areas. In addition to oily marks, you are likely to smell a very strong musky-like odor. The larger the rodent and the larger the infestation, the stronger the smell. If you notice this and it is strong, you likely have rats.

At-Home Pest Control

Identifying whether you have rats or mice and knowing a little about their general behavior will allow you to find a control solution that will eliminate your current infestation and prevent future homes from occurring. In today’s market, the solutions include traps and baits.

The truth of the matter is, though, that these are not as effective as professional pest control services. In fact, many people find that these are ineffective. The reason? Because by the time you realize you have a problem, the infestation is likely quite severe. The following outlines what is available for consumers in stores:

  1. Traps – These are designed to capture and/or kill rodents. They are easy to use and typically work, but many consider these to be cruel and messy.
  2. Baits – These contain poison and are inside of a station that the rodent is required to enter. After the rodent eats the bait, it will leave and usually die within a couple of days. The issue is, it could die inside of your walls and create a terribly foul smell for many, many weeks.

Overall, it is typically best to avoid consumer products. These could cause many problems and will likely not address your rodent problem fully. The best course of action is professional pest control services.

Contact Us Today

We here at All Pest Exterminating are capable of handling any and all rodent problems. First, we will inquire about what you have been experiencing. Then, we will thoroughly inspect the inside and the outside of the home to look for signs of the infestation. Our trained professionals have the eye for determining if you have rats or mice. Once we have figured out the issue, we will create a customized treatment plan. Once the treatment has been administered and your problem has been resolved, we will provide you with information on how to prevent future infestations.

If you are reading to take back your home and eliminate the rodents that has infested it, you should contact us immediately. We are quick, thorough, discreet, and effective! To learn more, give us a call today at: 765-259-0043