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Rat vs. Mouse Infestation: What’s the Difference?

You walk into your kitchen late at night to get a little midnight snack. As you flick on the light, you lock eyes with a mouse. Or was it a rat?

The little creature ran away so fast that you didn’t get the chance to see what you’re dealing with. Don’t worry, there are ways to judge rat vs mouse other than physical attributes. They have different eating habits and they don’t enjoy the same habitats. 

They even have different droppings. Keep reading this house extermination guide for a whole list of ways to tell if you’ve got a rat or mouse on your hands. 

Rat Vs Mouse Droppings 

As a disclaimer, make sure you’re careful when observing rodent droppings. They may contain various pathogens that can spread to you.  

Now, let’s move on to the differences in the droppings. If you have a rat infestation on your hands, you’ll see pellets that are about three-quarters of an inch in length. The shape sort of resembles a brick.  

Mouse droppings are a lot shorter than a rat’s. The ends are also pointed, whereas the ends of rat droppings are much more rounded.  

Eating Habits  

Rats and mice are not picky eaters. They’ll eat pretty much anything that’s easily available to them. This being said, exterminators will tell you that they do have preferences.  

If you present a mouse with popcorn and peanut butter, they are more likely to go for the popcorn. They love carbohydrates. Rats, on the other hand, prefer something with a little more protein.  

If you leave your canned fish and peanut butter out, they will find a way to break into it.  

Physical Appearance  

Both rats and mice are nocturnal creatures. You may never see your unwanted house guest running around during the day. If you can at least catch a glimpse though, you might be able to figure out what you’re dealing with.  

Mice have pointed heads that are smaller than the rest of their body. A mouse’s eyes are almost bigger than their head and they have big ears.  

Rats have a wedge-shaped head. Unlike mice, their heads are more proportionate to their body. Their eyes and ears are much smaller too.  


Mice go where the food is. They’ll build their nests near your kitchen if possible. Speaking of their nest, they’ll use any soft items they can get their hands on.  

You might find mounds of paper, insulation, clothing, and grass. Rat’s prefer to bury themselves. They’ll either try to make a home under trash and clutter or burrow as far into the earth as they can.  

Must Read: Stay Pest Free this Holiday Season

Do You Have a Rat or Mouse on Your Hands? 

Rat vs mouse. The sooner you’re able to figure out which one you’re dealing with, the sooner you can start regular pest control measures. They both have different habitats and eating habits.  

The one thing that they do have in common is that they’re annoying to deal with. Let us take care of them for you. Go here to request a service.

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