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Are Those Mice or Rat Droppings in My Kitchen? 5 Important Differences Between the Rodents

As you wipe away the sleep from your eyes and pour your morning cup of coffee, you see a line of small brown dots on your kitchen counter. It must be crumbs from the chocolate cake you enjoyed for dessert last night; you brush it off. A closer look determines these are, in fact, rodent droppings.

Mouse on the kitchen floor of a Tacoma, MD house.

Now you go into full panic mode with your rubber cleaning gloves, disinfectant, and a wad of paper towels in hand, ready to dispose of these droppings and claim your kitchen counters from these tiny invaders.

You’re left thinking, though, are those mice or rat droppings in my kitchen?

It’s essential to know the difference between which species are infesting your beloved home. By the end of this article, you’ll have the tools and knowledge to help you determine which rodent has been scurrying across your counters and gnawing at your food.

Why It’s Important to Tell the Difference Between Mice and Rats

After discovering these droppings, your job is now to determine whether or not they came from a rat or a mouse.

Before you even think about how you will go about exterminating these rodents to get them out of your home, you must identify which one you’re dealing with.

While mice and rats are from the same order, Rodentia, they are very different, especially when it comes to tactics for getting rid of them.

Mice vs. Rats

To effectively get rid of rodents from your home, you must first determine whether you are targeting mice or rats.

Below are five main differences you can use to identify whether you have mice or rats roaming freely in your home.

Rat being held up that was found in Tacoma home.

1. Appearance

Mice are small in size, weighing between 0.5 ounces and 3 ounces. They have round bodies with triangle-shaped noses and large ears. They may also have black beady eyes.

Their fur is smooth and either brown or gray in color. One distinguishing feature of mice is their tail. They are thin and covered in fur.

Rats are larger in size, weighing between 12 ounces and 1.5 pounds. They have large heads, small ears, and round eyes. Their fur is coarse and either gray, white, or brown.

Their tails are much longer and thicker than mice, with a scaly texture and no fur on them.

2. Habitat

Mice are more likely to live in rural areas in the eastern and midwest regions of the United States. They prefer to find shelter in warm houses, under decks, garages, and sometimes under trees in the yard.

Rats are more often found in urban areas in the eastern and mid-west regions of the country. You’ll likely find them living in attics, basements, within walls, and even in sewers when they can’t find a house or building to infest.

3. Droppings

Now we have the answer to your initial question after finding droppings on your kitchen counter. 

Mouse droppings are short, measuring about 1/4th of an inch. They look like small black grains of rice, and you’ll often find around a hundred droppings at a time.

Rat droppings are shaped like elongated ovals and measure about 3/4th of an inch. There won’t be as many droppings, maybe between 20 and 50, at a time compared to mice.

Tacoma, MD rat helping themselves to snacks.

4. Diet

The reason rats and mice invade your Takoma Park home is to find shelter and food to eat for survival. However, their diets do have some differences between them.

Mice prefer specific types of food, including bread, crumbs, seeds, fruit, meat, and plants. So, if you notice little nibbles in these types of food, you may have a mouse in your house.

Rats are known to eat just about anything. You can probably picture a rat scurrying through dumpsters in search of rotting food to munch on.

5. Hazards

Both rodents pose a hazard to you and your family when they infest your home. However, there are other concerns beyond diseases that rodents carry, such as Hantavirus, West Nile virus, and Lassa Fever.

Rats tend to be more aggressive than mice. When agitated, they could bite humans and cause Rat Bite Fever. They are so aggressive that mice are often afraid of rats. This is mostly due to the fact that rats have been known to kill and eat mice.

The fur from mice and rats may also cause allergic reactions and make it difficult to breathe in your home too.

If you suspect you have mice or rats hiding in your Takoma Park, MD home, it’s important to act quickly and get rid of them as soon as you can.

How to Prevent Mice and Rats in Your Home

The number one way to prevent mice or rats from coming into your home is to ensure you keep your space clean. Don’t leave open garbage cans or trash bags around. Avoid leaving uncovered food on the counters, and wipe away any crumbs that may be left in the kitchen.

Piles of paper or cardboard boxes are also known to attract mice and rats. In the autumn, clean up any piles of leaves you may have in your yard too.

It’s always a good idea to have routine inspections of your home by professional exterminators to check for potential infestations you weren’t aware of or cracks and openings these rodents may fit through.

Mice or Rats in Your Home? Call Brody Brothers Pest Control

Do you suspect that you are sheltering an infestation of mice or rats in your beloved home in Takoma Park, Maryland? Then call the extermination company known for their effective rodent raids, Brody Brothers Pest Control.

Serving the area for over three decades, Brody Brothers’ professionally licensed and trained pest exterminators are ready to help you reclaim your home once and for all. Using the most modern and safest extermination methods, we guarantee a pest-free home.

Schedule your no-obligation consultation and see how we can help you get rid of unwanted mice and rats today!

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