Rodents can cause serious damage in your home. They chew on literally everything including electrical wires, ductwork, HVAC units, walls, and foundations. They eat your food and contaminate the area with droppings. They also carry a variety of deadly illnesses such as plague, salmonellosis, trichinosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), and Lyme disease, which can be lethal for you, your family, and your pets.
So if mice and rats do the same types of damage, why does it matter which one has invaded your home? The answer lies in the methods of extermination – a mouse trap is very different from a rat one.
What is the difference between mice and rats?
When it comes to visual characteristics, rats are distinguishably bigger than mice. Generally, a mouse weighs about two ounces, while a rat is about 10 ounces. Besides looking different, mice and rats also have distinct behaviors and habits. Gaining knowledge about these details can help aid your control efforts. Here are the basic difference between mice and rats:
Rats are a bit shy and cautious about new things. If you decide to place traps, first set some that won’t hurt the animal. This way the rat will get used to it, and next time you lay down a functioning one, it won’t be afraid to go near it. Mice, on the other hand, are a bit more curious. They like to play detective. To catch one, you just need to place a trap anywhere you think they might be present.
When you place traps, bear in mind that they have a home range, which is the limited area these rodents inhabit. It is no larger than necessary to acquire food, shelter, and water. If the conditions are good, the range is no bigger than 10 feet. If there is not proper access to the described necessities, the range can expand up to 150 feet. Rats have a wider range than mice.
Rats will eat anything. They are muricide, meaning that they have a predator-like behavior and will hunt on smaller rodents if there are any around. A rather disturbing fact is that they can go on a cannibal diet. Yes, rats consume other rats!
Mice are a bit pickier. If you find one in your box of Oaty-Os, don’t be surprised – they have a soft spot for cereal and plant-based foods.
Mice like to build nests in hidden places near a food source. Rats prefer to dig under buildings, along fences, and under plants and debris.
Both species like to make babies and they make a lot of them. In one year, a female mouse can give birth up to 10 times and each litter can consist of five or six babies – that means about 60 mice a year. Rats can parent 70+ youngsters in a year. Now imagine all those babies making their own family. It’s easy to see how quickly infestations can happen.
Another way to figure out if you have a rat or mice infestation is to listen for specific noises. Any type of scratching, squeaking, hissing, and chattering sounds mean that you are definitely dealing with one of the two. While rats tend to move through sewers, mice can jump, swim, and climb. They can even climb up rough, vertical surfaces and run really fast.
When moving through your home, rodents leave dark, greasy marks from their bodies. You can tell if it is a mouse or rat even by inspecting those. Rub marks left by rats are most commonly seen beneath beams or rafters. Mice don’t usually leave distinctive spots, except if the infestation is big.
One of the best ways to figure out which rodent is in your home is by inspecting the droppings. Before you look for droppings, put on some gloves. Rodent feces can carry harmful bacteria, diseases, and viruses. Typically, you can find the droppings where the animals eat. Check your kitchen and pay particular attention to cabinets where cereal is stored. Another place to look is near their nests. Rodents tend to make houses in old furniture and insulation.
Mice produce more droppings (around 70 to 150 per day), but are smaller in size (3-6 mm). Rats leave fewer poops behind, but they are much bigger (2 cm). You can find mice excrement scattered around their housing, while rats tend to leave their poop in a small bunch.
We can help
No matter how intimidating or pervasive your pest problem, you can trust that Amco Ranger knows exactly how to handle it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Give us a call today if you need helping getting rid of mice or rats in your home.