Mice vs. Rats – Pest Control Tips

mouse peeking for cheese

Have you ever seen a furry friend scamper across your floor and wonder whether it was a mouse or a rat? When it comes to pest control, that is a big question! Today, we are sharing with you the key differences between mice and rats, how they affect your health, and what you can do to keep your home safe from an infestation.

Should I Be Concerned about a Rodent Infestation

While the majority of rats and mice are non-aggressive, they may bite or scratch humans or pets as a means of self-protection. However, this is not the primary reason why you should be concerned about a rodent infestation in your home. Rodents are a significant concern due to disease, with the CDC reporting that they spread over 35 diseases worldwide.

Rodents spread disease through two methods. Firstly, they are carriers of fleas, lice, mites, and ticks, acting as a bus service for these pests to enter and infest your home. Secondly, rodents can spread disease directly through the exposure or inhalation of infected rodent urine, droppings, or saliva. Additionally, Pest World reports that “The accumulation of feces from mice and rats can spread bacteria, contaminate food sources and trigger allergic reactions in humans. Once the fecal matter becomes dry, it can be hazardous to those who breathe it in.”

In total, a rodent infestation can have severe consequences on the health and safety of your home and its occupants.

Furry Facts:

Now that we understand why mice and rats are dangerous to your health, let’s learn a bit about these furry creatures.

– Wild rats and mice live about 4 to 6 months outdoors, but that can extend to a year in hospitable conditions.

– Female rats and mice can have anywhere from 30 to 60 babies during their lifetime, although not all will survive to adulthood.

– Rats and mice are omnivores that enjoy seeds, fruits, grains, meat, feces, and other easy-to-access food.

How to Tell the Difference Between Mice and Rats

Identifying whether you have a mouse or rat infestation is helpful to determine the best course of action to get rid of these pests. Here are the differences:


– Range from 2 to 4 inches in length

– Has a triangular shaped nose

– Has large, floppy ears

– Has a long, thin tail with hair

– Are generally more curious and susceptible to traps

– Enjoy climbing and nesting in hard to reach places


– Range from 7 to 9 inches in length

– Has a blunter shaped nose

– Has proportional ears to its body size

– Has a long, scaly, hairless tail

– Are generally more fearful and less likely to fall for traps

– Prefer inhabiting lower home levels like basements or crawlspaces

Reliable Pest Control

While homeowners can often handle trapping a mouse or rat occasionally, it can become exceedingly tricky once a full infestation occurs. If you notice a significant or consistent rodent population occupying your home or business, it is time to get professional help. We are here to help you achieve a healthy and safe home once again. Give us a call today to learn about our pest control solutions.

Additionally, we offer Reliable’s “You’re Covered” and “You’re Covered PLUS” Quarterly Pest Prevention Programs. We not only include proactive preventative residual treatments for common seasonal pests such as ants (a big problem at certain times of the year), but other services that will keep your home safe and healthy learn round.